IT Industry To Build A Better Bangladesh
The government of Bangladesh finalized the ICT policy in 2009, although the work of formulating this policy started in 2002. In the light of the government's plans and decisions, the goal has been set to build a 'digital Bangladesh' by 2021. The Hi-Tech Park Authority was formed in 2010. We do not think there is any deficit in the policy adopted by the government. But there are various problems with the slow implementation of the policy, due to which we have not yet been able to achieve the desired success in this sector. In line with the government's policy, in 2013, the Bangladesh Association of Software Information Services (BASIS) announced 'One Bangladesh Vision' with four goals in mind. Under this vision, the targets for achieving the following goals were set by 2018. About 30,000 people are currently working in the IT sector. Another 25-30 thousand freelancer programmers are working in the country. They are earning 15-20 million dollars a year. There are about 80 public and private universities and about 200 polytechnic institutes imparting IT education in the country. About five thousand IT graduates are released in the country every year. The IT sector is of the view that the quality of graduates leaving these institutions is not adequate and they have to be re-trained. The main reason for this is that the curriculum in which they study does not match with the necessary practical knowledge of the IT industry. Therefore, it is imperative to create a link between the industry and the academy, so that the curriculum can be created keeping in view the needs of the sector. This will create more employment opportunities. Although many licenses have been issued for setting up call centers, call centers have not been developed in such a way. The big reason for this is that our children do not have the kind of skills required in English to run a call center. On the one hand, there is a shortage of trained manpower in the IT sector in our country. On the other hand, the number of graduates coming out is less than the need of this sector.
The open door of huge potential is now in front of Bangladesh. However, in 1971, war-torn Bangladesh had to overcome many adversities. Yet there are negative tendencies such as lack of democracy, corruption and political instability. Despite this, Bangladesh is gradually moving forward. It is the strong, hardworking and energetic young people who have been the main catalyst for this progress. In addition, the private sector has breathed new life into the economy. We are successfully advancing in the readymade garment industry (RMG sector), pharmaceutical industry (pharmaceuticals), pottery (ceramics). Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has opened the door to more possibilities as expected. We have noticed the dramatic wave of ICT in the socio-economic changes of the world in the 21st century. Currently, we are moving towards a world that is completely ICT dependent. Many people are drowning in despair thinking about many problems in the field of IT in Bangladesh. Many people may think that there is no possibility of IT in this country. This frustration can be overcome again and again by looking into the dreamy eyes of the remarkable new generation of this country.
In fact, despite many problems, there is a huge potential in the field of IT in this country. Many people are now earning a lot of money by sitting at home with the internet connection on the computer they bought after being insulted by their parents. Seeing one person, many more have formed a huge number in this way. When one gets stuck, it is developing on its own with the help of another. Therefore, according to the information of big outsourcing buyers like Odesk, Bangladesh's position in outsourcing is in the first ten. The potential in ICT in Bangladesh may be less but its scope is much more. And that is why it can be said that Bangladesh is a country with huge IT potential. The number of young interested developers in this country is innumerable who are scattered all over the country without our knowledge. Although software piracy is a huge problem in this country, it has been cursed by the developers of this country.
Occasionally, young IT enthusiasts in this country are seen to be cheated by digital fraudsters. We have to protect them from these fraudsters. Where the IT sector in the developed world is facing thousands of problems due to lack of skilled manpower, we have a large population but they are incompetent. A few government schemes or some successful private initiatives can easily make this population proficient in IT. In this age of internet there is no need to export manpower. Skilled manpower can become the main engine of IT development in the developed world sitting in the country. Finally, we dream of the day when the true benefits of IT will reach every corner of this country, like the farmers in the state of Haryana in India, who created low-cost computers in the form of computers to revolutionize their agriculture. Today, the benefits of IT are reaching farmers in every remote village in India.
IT industry is a relatively new industry in the economy of Bangladesh. So far this sector has not been able to make a significant contribution to the economy of Bangladesh. However, this sector is an important growing sector. This sector ranks third in the country in terms of foreign exchange earnings. In the next few years, this sector is likely to be the most foreign exchange earning sector in the country. Every year more and more people, educated and trained IT youth and at the same time the government of Bangladesh is working to take this sector forward. The IT sector is developing in Bangladesh as it is, and no other sector is developing in that way. However, there are many problems in this sector. Even then we are fairly optimistic about our IT sector.
Software exports in Bangladesh are increasing. Bangladesh is the third largest freelancing country in the world. Maybe in the near future Bangladesh will be able to occupy the first place in this regard. Bangladesh's IT industry is improving day by day. However, it must be acknowledged that we are not progressing as expected. We can be an IT-rich nation only if everyone comes forward at the public-private level to solve the existing problems. Our economy will also prosper with that. Our online education will have free access to IT. If all the Educational Institutes are well equipped with IT accessories and well connected with Wi-Fi and internet, then students will be more eager to learn online education. Moreover, a new field of employment will be created. Again, rural IT centers will be the new line of trade and Commerce also. The economy of the country will get vibrancy. So it is essential to expand the industry by proper investment and utilization of local available resources.
(Dr. Forqan Uddin Ahmed is former Deputy Director General, Bangladesh Ansar VDP)