Bangladesh students demonstrate over job quota system


Bangladesh students demonstrate over job quota system

Wimal Perera

19 May 2018

Thousands of Bangladesh university students began a nationwide boycott of classes on Monday over the failure of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government to reform the country’s decades-old quota system for the recruitment of civil servants.

Some 3,000 students from Dhaka University and other colleges in the capital marched through the city, blocking traffic for six hours. Thousands of students at universities and colleges across the country held demonstrations in solidarity. About 1,000 students from Chittagong University staged a sit-down protest on rail tracks, preventing trains from leaving the port city throughout the morning.

The demonstrations ended that night after Nurul Huq Nur, a joint convener of the Bangladesh Council for Protecting Rights of General Students, told protestors that Prime Minister Hasina had given another assurance that the job quota system would be reformed. No details have been released about how Hasina, who has made similar promises before, will address the issue.

University and college students and unemployed graduates began protesting over the quota system in mid-February, with rallies and demonstrations intensifying between April 8 and 11. Their main demand is for the 56 percent quota for state jobs reserved for different social layers to be reduced to 10 percent.

Only 44 percent of the jobs are currently allocated on merit. The remaining positions are apportioned according to strict quotas—30 percent for the children and grandchildren of “freedom fighters,” 10 percent for women, 10 percent for underdeveloped districts, 5 percent for ethnic minorities and 1 percent for physically challenged people. The quota system was first introduced in 1972…

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