Policy Hackathon 2023 “Youth for Educational Justice” Concluded with the Promise of Action!

Youths from across Bangladesh took part in the hackathon competition, which was organized at BRAC Learning Center, Dhaka. Participants from a variety of backgrounds, and areas like the transgender community, the Indigenous community, persons with disability, and 12 districts brought forward issues of education inequities, and injustice, which they faced in their life experiences. 

Bangladesh is going through a demographic dividend, where youths are one-third of the total population. So, the youth in this country is not only the future but also the present. However, education inequities, inaccessibility, and lack of fair management and distribution of education resources ruin the opportunity to utilize this demographic dividend. 

The youth of this country has a long history of standing against social, political, and economic tyranny, injustice, and inequities. Hence, youths must act to improve educational justice as they bear the consequences.

Thus, Policy Hackathon – a 4-day residential boot camp – was organized by YfP and IID from 2nd March 2023, where young leaders spent 48 hours to hack the major challenges of educational justice and at the end teams presented their solutions to policy influencers on the 5th March 2023. The Policy Hackathon aims to stimulate youths to bring out their innovative thinking and ideas in mitigating problems and challenges for educational justice in Bangladesh.

The jury panel included Mahjabeen Khaled, former Member of Parliament and Co-chair of the Parliamentary Caucus on Social Justice, Abida Anjum Mita MP, Member of Parliament, Syeed Ahamed, CEO, IID, and Falguni Reza, Head of  YfP.  The event was also attended by Gopal Dey, Additional Director, IID.

During the first two days, participants went through sessions on conceptual understanding of educational justice, theory of change, realities, and challenges of educational justice in Bangladesh followed by various group activities and teamwork. Competing all teams went through intense teamwork, identifying problems, and deciding solutions including their plans for campaign and advocacy. After a tough deliberation, the Champion, and runner-up were announced by the esteemed jury panel.

The champion team named “Beautiful” proposed a project plan that counters the social and cultural barriers to education for underprivileged groups of people such as the transgender community, Dolit, and Horizon community. With the initiatives for facilitating access to education for persons with disability, the runner-up team, “Initiatives for Inclusion”, came up with a series of programs, and advocacy plans using online and offline platforms. 

The team, Hactivist, called up education stakeholders including local leaders, policymakers, and local authorities to act for mitigating inequality in per capita expenditure for students from rural and urban areas. The team ‘Furious’ brought up the issues of limited resources and opportunities for students from rural areas to be prepared for the job market. A large gap between the need (Education Budget, Resources) for the child in the tea worker community and supplies from the government to improve their backwardness in education was brought up in the presentation by the team Hok Kolorob.  

Followed by team presentations the jury panel member Mahjabeen Khaled talked about the urgency of youth to come forward with their ideas, choices, and evidence to deal with inequities, and social injustices. Jury Abida Anjum Mita, MP appreciated the teams for having an inclusive approach and critical thinking to find solutions to challenges in the education sector.

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