More than 20,000 students and almost 1000 teachers of 266 primary schools of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) were close to being detached from mainstream education as their schools were on the verge of closing down due to resource constraints, land registration and other issues. But with support from the United Nations Development Programme's (UNDP) CHT Development Facility (CHTDF), funded by the European Union and Canada, schools are now fully nationalised. It is to be noted that although the schools were nationalised back in 2017, only 204 teachers of 51 schools were nationalised at that time.
A circular, issued on April 13, 2022, by the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education (MoPME) at the direct orders of the Honorable Prime Minister, to nationalise the teachers of 205 schools, bringing them under the government payroll with arrear payments of the last five years. The move follows years of advocacy carried out by UNDP for the nationalisation of these primary school teachers.
"I am very happy today for being a teacher under the government payroll and grateful to the honourable Prime Minister for recognising us. We taught students for many years without incentives. Now, the new decision will help all the teachers enlighten students with happiness and confidence," said Satyajit Tanchangya, Teacher, Shilchori Noapara Government Primary School, Rajsthali Upazila, Rangamati.
Implementing the Peace Accord in the CHT is not possible without taking primary education for all the children at their doorsteps. These hard-to-reach schools are milestones as committed by the government of Bangladesh to enlighten the remote communities to learn about their unique cultures and natural resources and conserve their ecosystem through inclusive development, community cohesion, justice and economic development.
UNDP is working in CHT in collaboration with Bangladesh's Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs under the program titled "Strengthening Inclusive Development in the Chittagong Hill Tracts" to promote sustainable development in the region.