Specific budgetary allocation for youths, students needed: Experts

Speakers at a webinar stressed budgetary allocation specifically for the development of country’s youth community.

They said students often suffer from inferiority complex to take stipend, so, student loan system should be declared. Easy condition and low interest rate should also be applied for availing the student loan facilities .

‘Econ Insider’ an organisation arranged the netizen discussion forum on Covid-19 titled "Mobilizing youth amid Covid-19: from pandemic to opportunity" on Friday.

Dr Sayma Hoque Bidisha, Professor at Department of Economics, University of Dhaka and research director at SANEM, Dr Mahtab Uddin, lecturer at the Department of Economics, University of Dhaka and research fellow at SANEM and Tanbeer Hasan Shoikot, youth leader and member of Dhaka University Central Students' Union (DUCSU) joined the discussion on line as panel discussants.

The program was hosted by Rafiul Ahmed, co-founder of Econ Insider.

The impact of Covid-19 on the youth of Bangladesh and how to mobilise them through driving their mindset from pandemic to opportunity was the key agenda of the discussion.

In the beginning of the episode Econ Insider presented a slide presentation. Almost 30% of the people fall under 18 to 35 age group and are considered as youth. 

So it’s obvious for the youth to be the most vulnerable during any crisis. In the mentioned presentation the impacts of Covid-19 on the youth are divided into six sectors. They are– health, education, income, unemployment, domestic violence and poverty.

Dr Sayma Hoque Bidisha said uncertainty is the major problem in education now. We already had a discriminatory education system that it’s divided into different sub categories like religious, government and non-government education system for a long time. It's high time we thought of this root problem. 

She added, there are positive impacts of digital education system but we must ensure equality first. She also said SANEM has recently conducted a subdistrict level survey on how would be the consequence of income shock and the outcome says the number of people under the poverty line would be twice as lots of people are going through an economic crisis. 

Referring that the maternal health of youths is also at risk. About mental health, she said, depression and frustration is attacking the youth during this time, but they have to realise that they're not alone. 

Dr Mahtab Uddin said the demographic dividend phase started in the 90's decade in Bangladesh and is going to end within 2035 to 2040. 

That means, after that time, the number of dependent population will be larger than the number of earning population. So it’s high time the youth make themselves prepared to fight in that era. The policy makers must emphasise on how to open the door of that potentiality for the youth.

Tanbeer Hasan Shoikot told the story of his amazing initiative. He has been serving two meals a day to the vulnerable people for three months. He planned to serve for 100 days as it is the 100th birthday anniversary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The students and teachers of Dhaka University helped him throughout this journey

Dr Sayma Hoque Bidisha said the allocation in the health sector has been increased a bit but that's not sufficient yet. There should be an allocation for the youth only. 

Students often suffer from inferiority complex to take stipend, so, student loan system should be declared. Easy condition and low interest rate should be applied. 

The government, UGC and other educational platforms may work together in this regard. The government should make a contract with the mobile sim companies for making mobile internet packages cheaper for the students who are in vulnerable condition, she added.