9 September 2011Recent student protests in Chile, which were marked by violence in which a student was killed, provide an opportunity to reevaluate the country’s education policies with an emphasis on human rights, a United Nations expert said today. “Quality education must be within the reach of everyone,” UN Special Rapporteur on the right to education Kishore Singh stressed, noting that the protesters were concerned at the quality and cost of education in the country. “Access to quality education, whether primary, secondary or at a higher level, cannot be subjected to students’ or their families’ ability to pay or take on debt.”According to media reports high school students are demanding an end to for-profit educational institutions, lower interest rates on student loans and a bus pass that is valid year-round.“Human rights treaties are clear: while primary education must be totally free, States are obligated to adopt measures to establish secondary and higher education that is progressively free,” Mr. Singh said.He noted that the private sector, when regulated, may play a role in education at all levels, but the State must guarantee that economically challenged or marginalized groups are not excluded from the educational sector. “In recent decades Chile has made great progress in reestablishing a state of law and democracy,” he added. “Ensuring quality education that is accessible to all is a fundamental part in consolidating these advances.”He deplored the loss of live and violence during the demonstrations, stressing that peaceful protests are a fundamental part of democracy and must be protected. “All acts of violence in this context is deplorable and must be duly investigated,” he said.According to media reports, nearly 900 people were arrested on one day and department stores set on fire by protesters in Santiago, the capital. When striking school students they tried to march on the presidential palace they were met by hundreds of police in riot gear and clouds of teargas.
She said the country would use all its “key assets” such as strategic location, educated human resources, innovative spirit, agricultural wealth, and tourism potential to attain upper-middle-income status.The Dhaka-Colombo two-way trade was worth around $150 million, a volume the envoy felt was way “below the potential”.She said both countries were studying the feasibility of free-trade agreement for mutual benefit. Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in Dhaka Yasoja Gunasekera said the two countries, strategically located along the Bay of Bengal, faced “opportunities and challenges”. “We’ll have a particular interest in working in partnership with friends like Bangladesh in Asia and our immediate neighbourhood, the Bay of Bengal, to mutually beneficial economic cooperation,” she said, while interacting with diplomatic correspondents in Dhaka. Sri Lanka says ties with Bangladesh remain “robust and warm” and has promised to work towards the expansion of economic ties.Sri Lanka has invited top Bangladeshi companies for ‘joint ventures’ to tap ‘unlimited’ trade potentials, bdnews24.com reported. The Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh (DCAB) hosted the event, ‘DCAB talk’, at Dhaka Reporters’ Unity with its president Masud Karim in the chair. DCAB General Secretary Bashir Ahmed also spoke.The envoy said “Sri Lanka’s government is working towards both national reconciliation and economic development” six years after the end of a bitter 30-year conflict with “a deadly terrorist group”, the Tamil Tigers. “We have close partnership with the two major economies of Indian Ocean. So trade potential is unlimited,” she said, citing her country’s close ties with both India and China. She described Dhaka-Colombo relations as “robust and warm” and promised to work towards the expansion of economic ties.Gunasekera presented her credentials to President Md Abdul Hamid in September.She identified trade, investment, tourism, agriculture, education, culture, defence, health, air and sea connectivity, and human resource development as areas of cooperation. She said Colombo was specially focusing on certain sectors. They included export-oriented manufacturing and services, tourism, tourism-driven projects, infrastructure, higher education, skill development, agriculture, and pharmaceuticals.Sri Lankan companies have already invested over $300 million in Bangladesh.The high commissioner also suggested joint ventures in jewellery and readymade clothing.She also launched the DCAB’s annual publication, ‘Beyond the Boundary’. read more