School-going children at Gajnar Bil of Sujanagar Upazila are travelling to and from school on boat, putting their lives at risk. Each small boat carries 8-12 students. The boat is their only means for attending school.
Dominated by Gajnar Bil, three government primary schools in Sujanagar are surrounded by floodwater.
In spite of this, the classes are going on. For this reason, around four hundred school-going children have turned to travelling by boat as their only means.
Sujanagar Upazila Primary Education Office informs that over four hundred school-going children of Sharirbhita Govt. Primary School and Bastal Govt. Primary School of Raninagar Union and Paikpara Govt.
Primary School of Dulai Union have to travel to school by boat. Each student has to pay 10-20 tk. as boat-fare each day. Some students are brought to school and taken back home by their parents using their own boats, while some other students have taken to rowing small boats by themselves. The parents of these children say that the students of these three schools have been in this dire situation for several decades.
These children brave rain, storms and natural calamities to attend classes. However, the children will be greatly benefitted upon donation of boats to the three schools by government and non-government bodies. Hasan, a student of Bastal Govt. Primary School and Asma Khatun, a student of Sharirbhita Govt.
Primary School say, “We have to risk our lives and travel by boat in fear, our feet often slip while boarding the boats and our books and copies get drenched in water. Our clothes get wet as well. We are suffering a lot.” Principal Momin Uddin of Bastal Govt. Primary School and Principal Shahidul Islam of Sharirbhita Govt. Primary School say that the students are forced to risk their lives and travel to school by boat as a result of Gajnar Bil being flooded for the last 5 months. Parents often stop their children from coming to school due to fear of accidents.
Upazila Education Officer Abdul Jabbar says that the three schools are situated in the remote Gajnar Bil area, and as a result the school-going children of this area risk their lives by travelling to school on small boats. Md. Tarikul Islam, UNO of Sujanagar Upazila says that steps will be taken after discussions with local Member of Parliament Ahmed Firoz Kabir and the Chairman of the Upazila Parishad Shahinuzzaman Shahin, so that the children can safely travel to school.