Urging reforms, they said that the education system of the country has seen little to no change since the days of Pakistani occupation, and the splitting of educational institutions into General, English medium and Madrasas leads to a “messy situation”.
The calls were made at a discussion titled “Many Colours of Violence: Bangladesh context”, arranged by the Bangladesh Institute of Crime and Justice Studies (BICJS) at the Bangla Academy.
Speaking at the program, Law Minister Anisul Huq said that the country needs to research other approaches to stopping crime than giving punishment, as the nature of crimes were changing and social norms and values were in some senses decaying.
Crimes needed to be prevented before they happened by stopping this decay of morals, he added.
Speakers said violence in the country was spreading through education, information technology and religion, emphasising that the government needs to focus more on safeguarding these from manipulation.
Furthermore, they said that both long term and short term measures need to be taken to curb violence and extremism, with education reforms being vital to the long term.
Dr Mokaerrom Hossain, a professor of Virginia State University in the USA, said in his speech that the BICJS had launched a survey in 2015 of 500 hundred students about campus violence, where it found that 70% of its respondents claimed their university was a safe campus, while 12% recalled at least 4 incidences of violence that year, while most could recall at least one.
He added that repeated showing of violent news across media channels may encourage indulging in violence.
Rawshan Sadia Afroze, deputy director (academic) of Police Staff College Bangladesh presented some of the emerging causes of terrorist extremism in the country.
According to the deputy director, 5 terrorist generations have emerged since 80s, from locally based to national and then internationally linked. She focused on 5 principles to deal with extremism including social interaction, secondary socialisation, analysis of terrorist organisations, identifying their resources, and campaigning against terrorism.
Speakers also observed that most laws were still in line with British colonial rules and urged they be reformulated in line with modern Bangladesh. They also noted that outdated patriarchal mentalities mostly in rural areas were increasing incidences of violence against women.