Lord Sheikh’s speech at the Bangladeshi High Commission Awards on 9th February 2014
I am pleased to be here to present awards to students who have achieved excellent results in their examinations.
As a member of the House of Lords I have a right to have my coat of arms and on my coat of arms I convey the importance of education.
I am very pleased to note that reports from secondary schools have shown that many Bangladeshis are making significant progress compared with other ethnic minorities groups.
I do notice that the performance of the Bangladeshi children is improving year by year. In fact the British Bangladeshi children have made the biggest progress of all ethnic groups over the last eight years. The performance of children of Bangladeshi extraction is now better than the performance of white children.
There is a large population of Bangladeshi children in Tower Hamlets and schools in Tower Hamlets are now amongst the best urban schools in the world. Three experts said this in a report published in December 2013.
Your Excellency I feel that you and members of your community in UK must be proud of the achievements of your children in the field of education.
I would however add that we must not be complacent but must continue on the path of achieving more progress in the coming years.
I would like to congratulate the recipients of the awards and hope that these youngsters are taken as role models and other students will follow their examples.
I believe in empowerment of women and encouraging girls to be educated alongside the boys and I am now finding that the attainments of girls surpassed that of boys.
We have seen that there are a number of girls who are getting the awards.
Education is a silver bullet and is the way forward for the community to achieve success.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) stressed the importance of education. He said:
“Seek knowledge even unto China”. “Acquire knowledge for he who acquires it performs an act of piety, he who speaks of knowledge praises God”.
“The ink of the scholar is more precious than the blood of the martyr”.
There are over 500,000 Bangladeshi’s in the UK.
Bangladeshi’s have excelled in the catering business which generate an income of 4 billion pounds and employs over 100,000 people.
The Bangladeshi’s have also done very well in every walk of life including different types of businesses, academic professions, media, arts and the diplomatic service.
In the letter from the High Commissioner to me, His Excellency refers to British Bangladeshi students which I feel is the right term.
For the young Bangladeshi community this is their home. They should regard themselves as British Bangladeshis.
I believe that people can keep their connection with the land of their origins but also be truly British citizens.
This country is a land of opportunity and if in future you are prepared to use your initiative and work hard, you will do very well in your chosen career.
In fact the sky is the limit, but it is however important that you must have a good foundation in acquiring knowledge and education.
Do you know the difference between ordinary and extraordinary? It is the word “extra” and both in education and your future career; you must always give that bit extra to succeed in life.
These students who have received awards, I would encourage them to study further, go to University and become professionals and I am sure that with their hard work and motivation they will achieve success.
Finally I would like to say that I am very pleased that the parents of the children who are being given awards are present at this gathering.
I always feel that it is necessary and proper for parents to encourage their children to get good education and give them every possible support.
Parental involvement is most important for children to succeed in education. I am pleased to note that Bangladeshi parents are doing this.
I will end by saying that both Lady Sheikh & I are pleased to be here and be part of the celebration to note the success of the British Bangladeshi children.