UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta H Fore handed the 'Champion of Skill Development for Youth' award to the prime minister at a ceremony in New York on Thursday.
Hasina thanked UNICEF and dedicated the prize to the people of Bangladesh and especially to children all over the world.
“Millions of young people are using their skills to make our lives easier. This recognition is a testament to our firm steps towards creating a responsible and knowledge-based society,” she said.
The executive director of UNICEF highlighted the Bangladesh leader's role in creating a bright future for the youth during the event.
One in five people in Bangladesh is aged between 15 to 24 years and one fourth of the population belong to the age group of less than 14 years, she said. These young people are looking to contribute to their families and the society in future. They need education and employment for that.
Henrietta lauded Hasina's government for its emphasis on education and for implementing ‘National Skill Development Policy’.
Foreign Minister Abdul Momen and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador cricketer Shakib Al Hasan also spoke on the occasion.
“This honour doesn’t just belong to me but to Bangladesh, as the people of country have given me the oppourtunity to serve them by electing me,” said Hasina.
Highlighting the crucial role of the country’s youth in building the nation, the prime minister noted, “Our youth have always played a courageous role during all national crises.”
“Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman realised that no progress would take place without tapping into the potential of the young people.”
“We are determined to create a knowledgeable young generation who can face the challenges and help to create the golden Bangladesh that he envisaged.”
At least 2 million young people enter the Bangladesh workforce every year, said Hasina. “We are focusing on the skill development of the young people and have taken different initiatives to instill proper knowledge and skills in them,” she said.
Her government has emphasised technical and vocational education and training to meet the demands of the local and international job market, said the prime minister. Bangladesh has established 100 technical schools and colleges across 100 upazilas and the programme is set to expand.
The Ministry of Youth and Sports has initiated a project to transform unemployed and untrained youths into skilled manpower, said Hasina.
She also stressed that the government's development programme is designed to ensure that no-one is left out.
Hasina thanked UNICEF for assistance in the country’s education sector along with the development of women and children.
UNICEF official Henrietta praised the progress made by Bangladesh under the dynamic leadership of Hasina in her speech. She also applauded Bangladesh for providing shelter to the Rohingyas who fled Myanmar in the face of persecution.
Bangladesh has achieved ‘great progress’ in reducing child mortality rate, increasing rate of education and ensuring gender equality, said national Test and T20I cricket Captain Shakib Al Hasan.
“And it is our prime minister who has been leading the endeavour,” he said.