Children are considered as future leader of a nation. Those who are children today may contribute to the development of a country in future. For this reason, emphasis should be given on children’s physical, mental and intellectual development. When children will be human resource for a country, development of the country will be faster.
In the Constitution of Bangladesh, article 17 made the basic education free and compulsory for all children and article 28(4) emphasized on taking special provision for women, children and all disadvantaged people. There are many articles in the Constitution of Bangladesh which state about equality of opportunity, equality before law, health and morality and assuring all fundamental rights of any citizen.
Government of Bangladesh is one of first signatories and ratified country on United Nations Conventions on the rights of children (UNCRC) in 1989 from where the Government got motivation to formulate its first child policy in 1994. After a long period, Government of People’s Republic of Bangladesh formulated its second child policy 2011 with some upgradation from its previous policy. The latest child policy 2011 has basic principles which includes eradicating child poverty, eliminating violence and discrimination against children especially female children and ensuring participation of children in decision making process for their own wellbeing.
The prime issues have been discussed in the policy are ensuring secured birth, health and nutrition, proper education, recreation, special care for disabled and autistic children, protection of children from natural calamities, special care to adolescent’s physical and mental growth and measures to stop child labor. although the policy has included lots of important issues but it has some loopholes and criticism such as articles in the policy are normative type, totally far from reality and practice, only one policy tries to cover all categories of children such as street children, autistic children, disable children, children of extremely poor family, female children, children of coastal areas, urban and rural children. This is to some extent unrealistic and absurd.
The surprising loophole in the policy is that there is no provision for the prevention of child marriage. There is no motive of reflection of motive in the policy to provide rehabilitation for the street children and wipe out child labor from the country permanently although in child policy there has been said that there will be an ombudsman for children to protect their rights according to the international charters and policy but in reality we do not see any type of ombudsman.
To fill up the gaps of the policy, some recommendation may be considered. The recommendations are there should be different policy for different category of children such as for street children there should be different form of policies from other children. As a nation we are in poverty trap so it is impossible to stop child labor but employer should take a positive step by managing half of adult’s working hour for children with full salaries etc. if we want that there will be no discrimination against children, the policy must be implemented accurately and not-implementable issues must be wiped out so that, we can ensure basic rights of children especially children of extremely poor families.
(Ashraful Islam Sumon is the student of Development Studies, University of Dhaka)