The Dalit community leaders yesterday urged the government to introduce specific quotas in education for their children and ensure their job security to end discrimination.
The leaders made the demand at a dialogue on incorporating Dalit children into the mainstream education held at Jatiya Press Club in the capital.
Pointing out the lack of primary and tertiary education of Dalit community people, speakers urged the government to fix quotas for their children so that they can complete education.
Quoting a study of International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN) on Dalit people, an Oxfam representative said only 30.4 per cent of the Dalit children receive primary education worldwide.
But Dalit community leaders claim that only five to twelve per cent of the children from Dalit community receive primary education in Bangladesh.
After getting job, Dalit people eventually face difficulties at their workplace due to their Dalit identity, they said.
Bangladesh Dalit Nari Andolon, Bangladesh Dalit Rishi Panchayet Forum and Bangladesh Harijan Oikya Parishad jointly organised the event in association with Self Help Association for Rural People through Education and Entrepreneurship (Sharee) and Oxfam.
Member of the parliamentary standing committee on the education ministry Prof Shah Alam said, “I am totally unaware about 70 lakh Dalit people living in the country who are facing sheer discrimination.”
When a Dalit community person at the dialogue claimed that admission of a child from a Dalit community is cancelled at a primary school and the child is engaged to clean the school lavatory after his/her Dalit identity is made public, the lawmaker said he could not imagine such type of discrimination.
Dhaka University teacher Ajay Roy said, “People need to change the way they think [about the Dalit people].”