Bangla Academy: The Hub of the Development of Bengali Language and Literature (July 2003)
Programmes of 2002 National Book Year (September 2002)
"Banglapedia" (September 2002)
IDEB Gold Medal Awards to Seven Personalities (March 2001)
18th Regional Workshop on the Preparation of Literacy and Continuing Education Materials in Rural Areas in Asia and the Pacific (January 2001)
A Seminar on Role of the National Library of Bangladesh (December 2000)
Golden Jubilee of "The Begum", a Noted Weekly for Women (September 2000)
Workshop on Developing Training Kits for Capacity Building of Local NGOs in Basic Education

Bangla Academy: The Hub of the Development of Bengali Language and Literature
  Bangla Academy, Bangladesh's national academy of arts and letters, is an institution devoted to the development of the language, literature and culture of the land.
  The emergence of Bangladesh as an independent and sovereign country is the outcome of the historic language movement of 1952. In that movement many students sacrificed their lives on 21 February 1952 and many others suffered imprisonment. Finally the then government gave recognition to Bengali as one of the official languages of the country.   At that time one of the demands was to establish an Academy to undertake necessary measures in order to develop the Bengali language and culture. As a result the Bangla Academy was formally launched on 3 December 1955 by the then Government of Pakistan.
  The UNESCO decision on 17 November 1999 to declare 21 February the International Mother Language Day commemorating the martyrs of language and recognizing all the mother tongues of the world, symbolizes an international recognition to this language movement, of which Bangla Academy stands as an embodiment.
  The Academy produces standard textbooks and advanced treatises on various branches of knowledge, including science and technology. Its work also includes compilation and publication of dictionaries, bibliographies and encyclopaedias. Research work on language, literature and culture is another important responsibility of the Academy. Major works of the world's literature are translated into Bengali and major works in Bengali into English. The folk-literature of the country is collected, preserved and published. The Academy publishes five journals: a research journal, a journal on science and technology, a journal of creative writings, a journal in English and one for children.
  The Academy organises in February a month-long Ekushe clebration (celebration of 21st) and the Book Fair, which has earned celebrity in the whole region. Recently, the book fair has been taken across the world through website. Public and private publishing houses publish hundreds of books in this month every year.
(July 2003, Mohammad Mahbubur Rahman, ABD Correspondent)

Programmes of 2002 National Book Year
  The Government of Bangladesh has declared the year 2002 as the National Book Year with the theme "Present books to your nearest and dearest ones on every occasion".
  The National Book Centre of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs has been observing the year through various programmes, which include seminars, workshops, publication and rallies to make people aware of the importance of reading and buying books. The government has planned to organise book fairs at the national and rural levels. National Book Centre is going to make a documentary film and some short TV spots based on the theme of the year. It is expected that the declaration of this year as National Book Year and implementation of various programmes will generate interest among people to read more books and develop the publication industry in a more effective way.
(September 2002, Mohammad Mahbubur Rahman, ABD correspondent)

  Bangladesh for the first time will publish a unique national encyclopedia "Banglapedia" in early 2003. Published by the Asiatic Society Bangladesh (ASB) both in Bangla and English, the full range of knowledge about Bangladesh with more than 6,000 alphabetical entries are to be included. It covers comprehensibly Bangladesh's history and heritage, arts and humanities, society and economy, state and governance and science and technology. This is goint to be 11,000-page publication in 10 volumes with write-ups of 1,300 writers and researchers from home and abroad with 800 maps and 3,000 pictures and graphics. A total of 10,000 sets, 5,000 each in Bangla and English is to be published.
  ASB took up the Banglapedia project in 1998 at a cost of BDT 80 million, to which UNESCO made a modest contribution under the participation programme through Bangladesh National Commission for UNESCO. Professor Sirajul Islam is the Project Director and Chief Editor.
  The publisher offers 50 percent discount for advance purchase, which amounts to BDT 10,000 for the Bangla version and BDT 12,000 for the English one. Both Bangla and English versions of the Banglapedia will appear in electronic editions with the added features of audio, video, animation and hyper-linking. Contact: Banglapedia Marketing Officer (Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, 5, Old Secretariat Road, Nimtali, Dhaka 1000), fax: (880) 2 9560500, e-mail:, URL:
(September 2002, Mohammad Mahbubur Rahman, ABD correspondent)

IDEB Gold Medal Awards to Seven Personalities
  Institute of Diploma Engineers Bangladesh (IDEB) has awarded gold medals to seven outstanding personalities of Bangladesh as recognition of their writings on science and technology in Bengali.
  The gold medals were handed over at a function held at the premises of the institute at Kakrail, Dhaka on 27 February 2001.
  The recipients of the IDEB gold medals are: Ali Ashgar of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), Mohammad Ibrahim of Dhaka University and Abdur Rafiq, former Director-General, Technical Education Directorate.
  Columnist ABM Musa, Akram Hussain Khan, Senior Reporter, Ittefaq and Abir Hussain, Assistant Editor of Janakantha received gold medals for popularising science and technology in journalism. (Gholam Moyenuddin, March 2001)

18th Regional Workshop on the Preparation of Literacy and Continuing Education Materials in Rural Areas in Asia and the Pacific
  The 18th Regional Workshop on the Preparation of Literacy and Continuing Education Materials in Rural Areas in Asia and the Pacific was jointly organized by the Asia/Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO (ACCU), UNESCO Principal Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (PROAP), Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM), and Directorate of Non-Formal Education, Primary and Mass Education Division (DNEF, PMED), in cooperation with the Bangladesh National Commission for UNESCO and the Japanese National Commission for UNESCO. The workshop was held at Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM), Dhaka, Bangladesh from 23 November to 2 December 2000. Thirteen countries represented in this workshop were Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam. Four resource persons from Bangladesh, Nepal and Philippines and 5 observers from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Philippines also participated in the workshop.
  The Opening Ceremony of the workshop was held on 23 November 2000 at Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM), Dhaka, Bangladesh. Dr. Ahmadullah Mia, Director, Research, Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM) welcomed the participants. Muneharu Kusaba, Director-General, ACCU, in his message emphasized that this workshop is especially focused on a very important aspect of approaches to non-formal education, which can be translated into a more concrete form through the preparation of literacy and continuing education learning materials at grass-roots level. He also stressed that this is a crucial task but he trusts that this workshop would not only address the need but to some extent produce a new dimension in materials development by putting more stress on "process" rather than on "product". This can be made possible through the use of the Handbook for Adult Learning Material Development at Community Level (HB) and the Literacy Clip-Art (LCA) provided to participants by ACCU. Dr. Ansar Ali Khan, Director, UNESCO Dhaka commended the continued efforts of ACCU in promoting literacy and continuing education material development along with UNESCO's role in cooperation with national governments. He observed that literacy and continuing education differ from country to country. For this, it is necessary to organize this type of workshops time to time in order to look at the development from other angles and meet the need of the respective societies.
  His Excellency Mr. Kazuyoshi Urabe, the Ambassador of Japan in Bangladesh, who graced the inaugural ceremony as a special guest, expressed his sorrow that nearly one billion people of this planet still cannot sign their names. He emphasized the need for literacy and continuing education programmes at grass roots level.
  Dr. Saadat Husain, Secretary, Primary and Mass Education of the Ministry of Education, Government of Bangladesh, Chief Guest at the Opening Ceremony, mentioned that the Government of Bangladesh as well as NGOs has been strongly implementing the NFE programme over the last few years. As a result, the country achieved a remarkable increase in the literacy rate. During the last four years, the literacy rate has increased from 44% to 62%.
  The inaugural session was concluded with a vote of thanks from Mr. A. H. M. Rezaul Kabir, Secretary, Bangladesh National Commission for UNESCO.
  The following objectives of the 18th Regional Workshop were taken into consideration:
1) To assess the availability and utilization of literacy/CE learning materials at community level, especially in Community Learning Centres (Class) in the participating countries.
2) To provide the participants with training experience in preparing literacy/CE learning materials using "Handbook for Adult Learning Material Development at Community Level"(final draft) and "Literacy Clip-Art".
3) To finalize the content of the Handbook; and
4) To encourage the participating countries to conduct training workshops in utilizing "Handbook for Adult Learning Material Development at Community Level" and "Literacy Clip-Art" as follow-up activities. (Gholam Moyenuddin, March 2001)

A Seminar on Role of the National Library of Bangladesh
  The Directorate of Archives and Libraries and the Library Association of Bangladesh jointly organized a seminar on the "Role of the National Library of Bangladesh: Its Trends towards Information Technology and Understanding Copyright" on 15 October 2000 in Dhaka. Kamrul Islam Siddique, Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Public Works, was chief guest in the meeting while Miah Mohammad Abdul Hamid was present as special guest. The keynote papers were presented by Nasiruddin Ahmad of Dhaka University and by Mohiuddin Ahmed, the Proprietor of the University Press Limited. Sharifuddin Ahmad, Director of the Directorate of Archives and Libraries delivered the inaugural speech and Khondker Fazlur Rahman, General Secretary of the Library Association of Bangladesh spoke in the seminar. Various aspects of information dissemination in relation to IT and of copyright were discussed in the keynote papers. The chief guest in his speech said "It is necessary to make the readers well-informed of the recent development of learning and scientific knowledge through dissemination of necessary information to the rural information centres. We have to develop a wide network of information dissemination throughout the country."
   The seminar was presided over by Burhanuddin Khan Jahangir, Pro-Vice Chancellor of the National University. (Gholam Moyenuddin, December 2000)

Golden Jubilee of "The Begum", a Noted Weekly for Women
  Going ahead with new beliefs and ideas against social norms and customs is very difficult. But it is more difficult to pave the way for any pioneering initiative undertaken in the interest of mankind. "The Begum", the only weekly for women in Bangladesh, is such a pioneering work intended to enlighten our women. Ms. Nurjahan Begum, the founder-editor, whose unrelenting efforts made it a success, was accorded a hearty reception at its golden jubilee, organised in the Dhaka Ladies Club auditorium on 5 September 2000. She was given a crest of honour. The function was presided over by a noted fiction-writer Rabeya Khatun. Faujia Samad, a litterateur and social-worker, was present as special guest. A letter of honour was read out by Zubaida Gulshan Ara, and Rizia Rahman delivered an inaugural speech. She said the contributions of "The Begum" and of Ms. Nurjahan Begum can never be repaid.
  Dr. Manjushree Chowdhury, Selina Hossain, Hosna Banu Khanam, Jahanara Arju, Kaleda Edib Choudhury, Aleya Ferdowsy, Dil Monwara Manu, Badrunnessa Abdullah, Selina Dozapanni, TN Rashid, Professor Selina Bahar Zaman, Professor Latifa Akhand, the noted singer, Ferdousy Rahman and Professor Rafiqueullah Khan spoke at the function, which was conducted by Kazi Madina. The speakers said no weekly, except "The Begum", has survived 50 years, and this is the only weekly for women in Bengal. The weekly created a platform for female writers and thus has made remarkable contributions to a civil society in the making.
   "The Begum" started its publication in July 1947. Nurjahan Begum, who was the only daughter of Mohammad Nasiruddin, the editor of the then famous daily "The Sawgat", was, at first, made acting editor of the weekly when she was completing her graduate studies in Lady Braborn College at Calcutta. And from November 1948, she took over the responsibility of the weekly as editor. She was also Secretary General of West Bengal Muslim Women's and Orphanage Homes, established in 1947 in Calcutta and of the Begum Club, founded in 1954 in Dhaka. In 1952, she was married to Roknuzzaman Khan (Dadabhai), a renowned cultural figure of Bangladesh who died several months ago. She won gold medals from various organisations including Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, Bangladesh Mahila Samiti, Lekhika Sangha, Kazi Mahbubullah-Zebunnesa Trust. The function ended with a cultural programme. (September 2000)

Workshop on Developing Training Kits for Capacity Building of Local NGOs in Basic Education
  A 10-day international workshop on Developing Training Kits for Capacity Building of Local NGOs in Basic Education on 6 May 2000 was jointly organised by Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM) and UNESCO. About 20 persons participated in the workshop from nine of the least-developed countries in Asia and Africa.
  Dr. Shaadat Hussain, Secretary, Primary and Mass Education Division said that under the circumstances, the capacity building of the NGOs is a must, to get prepared for the great task ahead. In the age of effectiveness and efficiency, NGOs have certain advantages over government agencies. So, the Government of Bangladesh is going ahead with a plan to hand over more and more work to NGOs. About 500 NGOs are now engaged in implementing basic and non-formal programmes for the government.
  Ms. Susanne Schnuttgen from UNESCO, Paris said that in the context of globalisation, the workshop is meant to generate cooperation among the countries. She said that for the successful implementation of Education for All, technical and professional levels of the executing agencies must be improved, and added that DAM has already shown great professionalism in this regard.
  Kazi Rafiqul Alam lauded the achievement of the literacy programme of the government and said that the literacy rate of the country has increased substantially in recent years. He offered to develop partnerships between DAM and other organisations in general and African countries in particular.

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