Rashida Begum, a resident of the city’s Farmgate Monipuri Para, is maintaining a family with her husband and six-year-old son Anik and four-year-old daughter Ria. Her two kids are studying at a local missionary school.
After returning from the school, Rashida’s two children become crazy to play. As the school is built in a house inside a “mohalla” (locality), it lacks adequate space for playing. Though there is a playground adjacent to the main road of Farmgate, Rashida does not dare to take her children to the ground due to the unhygienic environment and free movement of the drug addicts.
So, the kids are compelled to spend most of the time with watching television and playing games in computer.
Their world is getting small day by day due to confined life in an urban flat. But the children even don’t realise when they’re losing their exciting childhood. They’re being attacked by various diseases after staying in the house.
Like the private schools of the city, most of the government primary schools are confined by walls. The schools seem like prisons. There is no space except classrooms and corridor.
Shihab, a student of class-four, likes study but he doesn’t feel courage to go to his school. The reason is clear that the school has no playground. He has to stay in the house in a restrained environment.
It is seen that the private schools run their activities on a single floor. According to government rules, any school cannot be established on land below 33 decimals. But schools are rampantly run flouting the rules.
This correspondent has got the authenticity of the comments of Rashida Begum after talking to guardians and visiting different areas of the capital.
“In the meantime, the children and juveniles fell into clutch of aggression of the sky culture,” remarked Nazneen Sultana, a resident of Dhanmondi.
Her three-year-old daughter Shreya watches Hindi-dubbed “Doraemon” cartoon on television throughout the day. Though, Shreya doesn’t speak Bangla properly, she has already acquired Hindi after watching Doraemon cartoon.
Like Nazneen Sultana, most of the guardians made similar allegations. The scenario of growing up of rural children is completely reverse of the urban children.
Sharmin Haidar of Shyamoli area said the rural children suffer from diseases less as they grow up in open environment filled with adequate light and air and eat fresh foods.
When former director of Shishu Academy and actress Falguni Ahmed was asked to comment the reason for being dependent on indoor entertainment by the children, she said the urban children have not adequate number of playgrounds.
The few playgrounds that exist in the city are unhygienic and dirty. There is no environment to play in these grounds due to free movement of the drug addicts.
As there are lack of entertainment facilities for the children in outside of the house, they are compelled to be dependent on indoor entertainment, lamented Falguni.
Dr Zillur Rahman Khan, an associate professor of the Child Guidance Clinic of the National Institute of the Mental Health, said the mental growth of the children is being hampered due to bad relations between their parents, high expectations of the guardians about their children, pressure of study and lack of scope for group games and sports.
Mainly those children, who don’t get scope for games and sports, suffer from depression and the desperate attitude is more among those who spent time by playing video games.
Describing the children as the future of the nation, Prof Khan laid stress on opening their world as much as possible.
He said the children and juveniles need open playground to grow up freely which is almost rare in busy cities.
“It’s regrettable that due to our reluctance and ignorance, different gardens and parks of the city are on the verge of ruination,” he said.
Prof Khan regretted that nearly 90 percent parks of Dhaka city have gone to the possession of the grabbers due to negligence and dishonesty of the authorities concerned.
Tracing out the existence of 33 parks out of 47 has become very difficult and competition is going on to grab the remaining parks, he said.
The Ministry of Women and Children has framed the National Child Policy 2011 incorporating various initiatives for flourishing the mental growth of the children. This policy has given emphasis to the entertainment and cultural work of the children. It said that there will be playground, available supply of sports materials in every institute and their use will be ensured.
Though the policy has a provision for making mandatory for setting up area-based children parks and keeping playgrounds for the children in the urban plan, the real picture was seen completely different after visiting different areas of the city.