ACCESS, INFRASTRUCTURE AND INDUSTRY FOR ICT: CARVING THE FUTURE
Bangladesh, as a country with a vast population, is full of potentials. Information Technology is the key to utilize those potentials. The developed countries are stepping forward equally with the advancement of technology.
R-BRIEFPeople of Bangladesh have been using computers in research and data manipulation for 30 years. In the 21st century, information technology is no more a blessing; it is the key to progress.
From 2009, Bangladesh has been experiencing numerous groundbreaking developments in IT sector. Lives of our countrymen are now surrounded with IT and IT-enabled services. IT skill is the key to enjoy the services which are saving our time and easing our life. To provide skills to the citizens and to promote business in this sector, the incumbent government has taken various steps like establishing hi-tech parks, training for everyone, compulsory IT education for secondary students etc. In this third installment of a series of reports on ICT in Bangladesh, we look at how technology driven actions by the current government is revolutionizing accessibility, infrastrcuture and industry and thereby advancing the dream to see Digital Bangladesh become a reality.
Providing Trainings and Services
Learning and Earning
To provide IT educations and trainings to young enthusiasts government has initiated ‘Learning and Earning Training Program’ all around the country. This program is enabling the unemployed youth and other interested people to contribute in the income though outsourcing.
Under the program, basic training was held in 62 districts and skill training in 55 districts successfully to create IT skilled people for earning foreign currency through outsourcing.
Examination for Engineers
To create internationally recognized IT engineers, Japan initiated Information Technology Engineers Examination (ITEE) in 1969. To date, more than 15.4 million people have taken this examination and 1.78 million have passed. The primary objective of this exam is to create goals for IT engineers and provide motivation to improve individual technical competence. It will set skill criteria for IT engineers which will contribute to establish educational standards. Companies and government will be able to evaluate the skills of the engineers.
In Bangladesh, IT engineers are now being patronized by the government to take part in the examination. The Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC) under ICT Division has taken initiative to introduce ITEE here with support of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for giving international recognition to local IT professionals. On 27th April, 2014, around 500 students sat for the 2nd ITEE exam and 22 have successfully passed. Getting Rich at Home
Bari Boshe Borolok is a project to empower the women of Bangladesh and to make them able to contribute in country’s national income through online outsourcing. Women of Bangladesh are mostly busy with household works. If trained properly, they can be a huge resource of income as outsourcing doesn’t need anyone to maintain office hours or any kind of official customs. This training program is to convert the educated but unemployed women into skilled manpower by giving them online outsourcing training. bbb2
Government has allocated 6.70 Crore taka for one year. For 2013-14 this project has been allocated 2.06 crore taka and 4.63 Crore taka for FY 2014-15. 12,420 women of 64 districts will provided with online outsourcing training through this project within a year.
Promoting Business and Industry
Freelance Entrepreneurship in ICT
Bangladesh is emerging as one of the top online freelancing country in the world. Bangladesh now has 500,000 freelancers who have earned more than 20 million US $. Government has initiated training to develop skills of these freelancers as well as creating new freelancers. Android applications have a worldwide demand. To utilize the 30 million smart phone users in Bangladesh government initiated National Mobile Application Awareness Development & Capacity Building Program on mobapp18th November, 2013. This project is aimed to earn US$ 300 Million by 2015 by exporting ICT. To date, 2,347 students have received training from the boot camps organized under this project in 62 districts. Mobile apps training have taken place in every public and private universities of the country. By November, 2014, more than hundred mobile applications will be available to download.
Matt Cooper, Vice President of Operations at Odesk has recently revealed that, Bangladeshi freelancers are placed at fourth in the world in freelancing with his organization.
The current government of Bangladesh initiated a project to develop Information Technology (IT) and IT-enabled service (ITES) industry of the country on January 2013. The ‘Leveraging ICT for Growth, Employment and Governance’ project worth 572.48 Crore taka will create 34,000 skilled manpower in IT and ITES sector industry within 2018.
The primary objectives of the project are to catalyze the growth of Bangladesh’s IT/ITES industry for employment creation and export diversification. The project will also strengthen the IT/ITES facilities, policies, standard and guidelines to modernize the public sector of IT industry. In the first phase of the project, Fast Track Future Leaders (FTFL) will be created.
As IT sector is the thriving sector of Bangladesh’s as well as world’s economy, the Awami League-led government has concentrated on establishing specialized economic zone for IT related business and industries. These zones will attract the foreign and local investors and vast population of young and educated IT professionals will be properly utilized.
The Kaliakoir Hi-Tech Park in Gazipur is the first step towards this goal. To establish a world class business environment and to enrich the facilities a project named ‘Support to Development of Kalikoir Hi-Tech Park at Kaliakoir, Gazipur’ has been taken up at the cost of 222.36 Crore taka. The targeted industries in this park are:
IT & IT Enabled ServicesKaliakoir Hitech Park
Agro-bio tech & Genetic Engineering
Design of Electronic product
Manufacturing and Assembly of Electronic product
Computer Hardware and Software
Communication Hardware and Software
Research and Development
Human Resource Development
This park is targeted to create employment 63,800 people in ICT industry.
Jessore Software Technology Park (JSTP)
To keep the promise of Digital Bangladesh, the current government led by Bangladesh Awami League is continuing its policy of giving highest priority to IT based development. In 2010, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina promised the people of Jessore that there will be software park in this historical city. To fulfill that commitment, Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority (BHTPA) has taken up the Jessore Software Technology Park (JSTP) project. It was approved in the ECNEC meeting of 5th March, 2013. The 479.53 million Taka worth project has been launched in April, 2013 and will continue till September, 2014.
The main objective of the project is to promote balanced development of ICT Industries in Southern region of the country. With a park like this, foreign investors will be interested to establish and operate software and ITES industries in the region. It will create employment opportunities for the ICT professionals too.
Bangladesh Awami League has declared the information and communication as a thrust sector during its previous term from 2009. The manifesto of 9th Parliamentary Election, ‘Vision-2021’, was a promise made to the people of Bangladesh which showed that the progress of our country can be enviable to the wealthy and developed nations. We are not a country of droughts and floods anymore, our people don’t die for food anymore. Like food production, readymade garments export and pharmaceuticals export, Bangladesh is becoming a nation of a large manpower who has skills of Information Technology.
From the furthest corner of the country to the heart of the capital, benefits of digital technology have reached everyone’s doorsteps. Not only the services, but also the trainings for It skills are available in every square miles of the country. Trainings of basic ICT skills are now available 4547 Union Information and Service Centres (UISC). Hi-Tech parks are now being established to attract foreign investors in this emerging sector. IT engineers of the country are being recognized by the world now. These steps are just the outsets of a journey to become a nation with endless possibilities.
JANUARY 21, 2015