If same standard school is ensured in all communities and walking environment is developed in the city then it will decrease travel demand by motor vehicle and children will be able to walk to school. On 16th March 2017, 11 AM, at VIP Lounge of National Press Club, Urban and Regional Department, BUET and Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust jointly organized a view exchange meeting on ‘Actions to create Active and Safe Route to School’ and speakers expressed the above mentioned view there. Traffic congestion becomes horrible during school time in Dhaka. According to Dhaka Urban Transport Network Development Study only 4% school trips are conducted by Cars. If the number increases it will result into more congestion. To solve the problem walk to school can be a good solution. Community Engagement process is really important to ensure safe walking route to school.
The chief guest of the program was Md Motahar Hossain, Chairman, Standing Committee, Ministry of Primary and Mass Education. He said, not only government, guardians should also come forward to encourage students to walk to school. The movement should start from the school. Equal standard school should be ensured in all community.
Keynote speaker of the program was Naima Akter, Assistant Advocacy Officer, Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust, said that, a survey conducted in 6 schools of Rayer Bazar and Monsurabad area shows that, 95% children walk to school. On the other hand, in Dhanmondi area 71.7% children uses car to go to school.
Md. Musleh Uddin Hasan, Associate Professor, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, BUET, said that, walk to school will increase the chance of socialization. It will be helpful to ensure social security.
SM Ajior Rahman, Zonal Executive Officer, Zone-05, Dhaka North City Corporation, said that, to ensure safe walking for children, it is important to ensure footpath. In the streets, where there is not enough place to provide footpath, urban planners can recommend a possible solution.
Dr Akter Mahmud, General Secretary, Bangladesh Institute of Planners said that, in 1930 a definition of urban planning said that, a community will be that much, where students of the community can go to one school. If this definition if followed while urban planning, it will be easier for children to walk to school.
Professor Dr. Inamul Haq Siddiqi, Member, National Curriculum and Textbook Board, said that, with rapid urbanization, our habit of walking has reduced to great extent. We have included physical activity in curriculum but it has been kept limited as text.
The view exchange meeting was presided by Saifuddin Ahmed, Executive Director, Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust and he said that, the obstacles of safe walking are created by human. So we should come forward to solve the problem. We should take initiative to ensure a livable city for next generation.
The view exchange meeting was moderated by Maruf Hossain, Program Manager, Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust. Other speakers of the program were Kamranul Baset, Associate Director, Center for Injury Prevention and Research; Aminur Rasul, Secretariat Member, Unnayan Dhara Trust; Kamrul Ahsan Khan, Coordinator, Bangladesh Environment Network; Mohidul Haque Khan, Former General Secretary, Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA); Fazlur Rahman, Head Master, Ali Hossain Girls School; Camelia Chowdhury, NASF and many more.