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Digital Bangladesh: Dream And Real Situation

My thoughts, Governments' slogans and the overall situations to be a Digital Bangladesh

Tina S
Tina S
Jan 22, 2010
1 Comments | 4752 Views | 2 Hits


 

Bangladesh is resounding with the target of achieving of digital Bangladesh.

In this election days, Awami League(AL), one of the major political parties,first declared vision 2021 with the aim to develop Bangladesh into a digital country by that the next decade. BNP also added that they started the program in their tenure and will complete it earlier. More than a month ago, the Bangladesh Computer Council also organized a computer fair with the theme "Digital Bangladesh".

"Digital Bangladesh" shares with all good political slogans a impressionable, reverberate quality. The details of what it might entail have always been sketchy. 

Sheikh Hasina's speeches during huge election rallies offered meager clues amid the jargon and sound bites. At one gathering on 16 December, she announced: "the Awami League-led grand alliance has set the vision 2021 for the youth. We want to build a "Digital Bangladesh" where people will get a developed life, free from crime and misrule and face the challenges of the 21st century."

How AL will make Bangladesh as “Digital”? 
 
May be in recent year all fishermen will start using a digital net for fishing or all farmers will start using computer for their harvesting and also measuring their corps. 

From another Sheikh Hasina's speeches at a meeting in Bangladesh's capital on 26 December, she said:
 
"Bangladesh should be developed and emerge with dignity in the global arena. We will make Dhaka a modern city free of criminal activities, traffic congestion and outages of power, water and gas, and we'll improve communication with other parts of the country." She continued: "We will build a developed country full of possibilities and free of poverty, where all will have access to healthcare and education. There will be food security, so no one is deprived of food. The challenges of the 21st century will be faced boldly."
 
But there is some confusion in her speech. “Digital Bangladesh” sometimes seems like joke. There’s no mention of e-government, computerized schools that do not require teachers, or boats that row themselves during the annual floods.
  
“Digital Bangladesh” is really a good comic in such country Where there are many villages in our country has no electricity, has no gas, where many people has no clear drinking water and suffers various common diseases, where many families are thinking about their food after one day passes, where many children has never went to primary schools and many students has never seen any computer, where most hospitals still has not modern equipments for health care.   

In Bangladesh a farmer can prefer to buy a cow rather than a computer or a mobile phone. And to buy cow he must go to the village market, he must not use the cellular phone or internet to buy a cow! 

Bangladesh as a country with 150 million population has huge potential, despite having many problems. Government may forget that there is huge population live in villages, all are not modern students, all are not researchers and all are not d’juice and face book users,
 
“Digital Bangladesh” does not imply that the urban youth of the country will be consumers of high-tech devices and promote the d'juice culture. Instead of this superficial notion, we need to consider the term "digital Bangladesh" objectively.

A country goes digital means it will be an e-state means all its activities of governance, commerce, education, agriculture etc will be powered by computer and internet.
 
ICT (information and telecommunication technology) is the backbone of any digital initiative. ICT covers the vast area of information technology, communication technology and of course the telecommunication technology; categorically processing of information and ensuring connectivity. 

Broadly speaking, a digital society ensures an ICT driven knowledge-based society where information will be readily available on line and where all possible tasks of the government, semi-government and also private spheres will be processed using state of the art technology. 
 
In other words, we have to establish technology driven e-governance, e-commerce, e-production, e-agriculture, e-health etc.

Without ICT sector development the dream of a Digital Bangladesh would be only a dream for the total nation. One thing must be mentioned that ICT is only a technology, a technology or a machine could not be functional with out a person behind. Philosophically convinced persons are the driving force in establishing an idea in to society and state. 

A very first step for "Digital Bangladesh" would be to spread the ICT education throughout the country. The universities are partly digitized already; all colleges, high schools, primary schools and madrasas will be wired with third-generation technology by 2021. After five years of schooling, all students should have regular access to computers with internet facilities. The use of the automated library is spreading slowly in most universities, although they have to go a long way to be digital in the real sense. 

Hospitals, clinics, and healthcare services at all levels will also be connected electronically. This will mean that medical reports can be analyzed in Dhaka, and recommendations and prescriptions for patients sent back to a village (perhaps hundreds of miles away) in a matter of minutes.

Every primary and secondary students should have access to the computer and computer based education. Mid level education & short term training should be readily available throughout the country and higher level education on computer sciences should be qualitative.

It is very important to create skilled manpower educated in science and technology. Currently, the people of Bangladesh remain far away from using ICT, when the whole world is getting developed with the blessings of ICT. The people of the country face this discrimination only because of economic insolvency. 

Due to poverty and illiteracy, use of ICT is beyond imagination and some of them consider it nothing but mere a fashion. 

Despite having a lot of interest, most of the population remains out of the access of ICT because of high price. 

In the era of globalization, ICT is a cross-cutting issue as well as an essential tool for economic development. Yet, our only success lies in mobile telecommunication, which has brought a huge change in telecommunication scenario of the country.
 
However, in the other spheres of ICT, we are still far away from transforming ourselves into a knowledge-based society. It can play an important role in creating employment, raising work skills and production. It can contain corruption and attain social development. 

The adoption of ICT can bring corruption-free, citizen-centric and forward-looking governance in the country. The life and livelihood of a large number of populations, especially those living in rural areas, cannot be developed without utilizing the ICT scope for them.
 
Power deficit: Latest statistics reveal that Bangladesh faces a power deficit of up to 2000 MW against a demand of 5000 MW daily. Uninterrupted power supply is a must for proper ICT development.

Internet facilities should be made available to the remotest corner of the country and at a cheaper rate. There are countries where the use of internet is free. The speed of the internet must be maximum to get the benefit of the time. 
 
The number of internet users must be increased for ICT development. The latest statistics (ITU, 2007) reveal that internet penetration in our country is only 0.3%, whereas, in Pakistan and India, it is 7.3% and 5.3% respectively.
 
Look Over Villages
 
Bangladesh begins at the village level, far from the places where most university professors and Face book users live. It is people living in rural areas who delivered victory to Sheikh Hasina and the Awami League. If "Digital Bangladesh" is ever to be implemented, the rural inhabitants must be part of it and the government must make every effort to ensure this.
 
Many children in villages have not proper dresses, many families don’t have suitable home for shelter, and even village teachers don’t know properly how to teach students, there is no training for them, every year many village schools get o% pass on ssc exam. Teachers don’t have any idea about the “Digital Bangladesh”.
 
Is a “Digital Bangladesh” like this? What will we say our next generation about “Digital Bangladesh” where we are not clear about this…
 
Government approaches are mixed. The new government blocked access to the video-sharing internet site YouTube after the posting there of a recording of army officers berating Sheikh Hasina over the deaths of their colleagues in the Bangladesh Rifles mutiny on 25-26 February 2009 (see Liz Philipson, "Bangladesh: revolt and fallout", 30 March 2009). The recording was quickly reposted to other internet sites via proxies - a technique developed by cyber-dissenters in China.
 
All these actions are let me think political control and culture. But Whatever I am going to political issues now.
 
To make the dream true of “Digital Bangladesh” by 2021, the government must address the above stated issues effectively and efficiently. 
 
We need to reformulate our policies (e.g. education policy, ICT policy, voting record, governmental financial records on website,) in accordance with the Millennium Development Goals. In reformulating the ICT policy, we will need to take a pragmatic and visionary approach so that it can remove the prevailing digital gap in the society.
 

 

Author's note: Ref: 1.open democracy:free thinking of world 2.The Financial Express,January 10, 2010
Keywords: digital Bangladesh,ICT,telecommunication,technology,village,mobile phones,internet, Sheikh Hasina,Awami League,dream,youth,facebook,d'juice,e-commerce,2021,globalization,Power deficit,policy.


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