Digital Bangladesh and Application of ICT in Bangladesh

Digital Bangladesh and Application of ICT in Bangladesh

The present government has undertaken a plan to establish 'Digital Bangladesh' for the first time. Bangladesh conquered its independence through enormous bloodshed in the liberation war of 1971. We will be celebrating the golden jubilee in 2021, and that is why we are determined to take out motherland to the highest pick of success. 'Digital Bangladesh' is the means to materialise the vision. The Government and general citizens have taken initiative to materialise the dream.

First we should know what we mean by 'analogue' and 'digital'. An analogue signal is a kind of continuous and infinitely variable representation of data or information. As an example, we may discuss about the measurement and record of daily temperature. Temperature varies throughout the day and the temperature inside the home can also be much different than that outside. Representation of any small amount of change in the temperature through a signal may be called an analogue signal. However, an analogue signal may not always give information in precise accuracy and reliability.

A digital signal converts the information into numbers (digits) and displays and stores the information in numbers. Hence, it is called digital signals. Since the digital signal indicates the values of the quantity in a digital format, that is, in numerical forms, it gives more accurate information than the analogue signal. It is generally quicker and easier to read than the analogue one. For example, a watch, with a high-precision movement of an hour hand, a minute hand and a second hand, gives an analogue signal as a measure of time passing. By contrast, a watch, with an electronic display of time in numbers, gives a digital signal. the phrase 'Digital Bangladesh' is not used to indicate Bangladesh as a 'Computer Oriented Country'. Its implication is more extensive. Digital Bangladesh refers to a modem Bangladesh, developed with the help of ICT. The objectives of Digital Bangladesh are to ensure better education and health and more job opportunities and eradication of poverty. Sin order to fulfil these objectives, it is important to bring changes to our old conventional mind-set and be positive and inventive. The fundamental aim underlying Digital Bangladesh is to ensure democracy, human rights, transparency, accountability, and justice with the maximum utility of technology. The main thrust of the objectives is to improve the standard of living of citizens' from all social classes. In order to fulfil the objective of Digital Bangladesh, the Government has focused on four specific factors: human resource development, participatory citizenship, civil services reformation, and inclusion of technology in everyday life.

Bangladesh has started developing information and communication technology late in comparison with other countries. That is why Bangladesh is significantly lagging behind. Even though the significance of ICT was not realised, nowadays ICT is getting importance properly. We are getting high speed internet connection as we are connected to the submarine cable.

There is a positive side of the extension of technology. If a nation lags behind at a moment in any particular technology, it does not mean it will stumble all the time. It leapfrogs other countries. Bangladesh is trying her level best to be equal with other countries by using all her might.

The infrastructure for information technology has started to be constructed in the country by the intent of the present government. Setting up fibre optic connection throughout the country, an initiative is taken to provide the internet service to remote area. The number of telephone users was negligible in the country just before one and half decade, but now every adult person uses a phone. Information service centres have been opened at the union level, the post offices of the remote areas are transformed into e-centres that provides the service of mobile money transaction. The district information cell and the national information cell with the union information centres are important additions to the infrastructure of the country. The tasks like registration of admission test, getting the result of public examination, and purchasing train tickets are being done regularly on the mobile phone. ICT course is included in the curriculum of school and college. This textbook is an example of that. Computer science is being taught in the colleges and universities. The younger generation of the country is joining the software companies along with setting their own firms, and a large number of young people are strengthening the economy of the country through outsourcing.

No one should come to a conclusion just listening to the successful story of ICT that we have reached the zenith of our target. We have to walk a long way to achieve the goal. As most of the people of our country live in the villages, the first step to 'Digital Bangladesh' is bringing these village people to the network of ICT services. So, we have to build up large infrastructures. A skilled manpower is required to avail of the opportunity of ICT to the utmost level. So, we should develop expertise in this sector. The standard of education of colleges and universities should be enhanced and a good number of students should be skilled in ICT. Transparency should be ensured through e-governance. The new generation should be encouraged to use their innovative power, and a co-ordination between universities and information and communication technology is must that we can make a real 'Digital Bangladesh'.

Work: Design a poster about what to do for building up 'Digital Bangladesh'.

E-learning and Bangladesh

For years, knowledge has been acquired across the world in traditional methods. The innovation and development of ICT have brought about changes for the first time in the traditional methods. And we have become familiar with the terms like e-learning and Distance Learning. E-learning is the short version of electronic learning which basically means a teaching process by using CD-ROM, the Internet, personal network and TV channels, however, we should keep in mind that e-learning is not the alternative or substitute of conventional way of learning. For example, it is hard to demonstrate in class different scientific and natural phenomena, such as, solar eclipse, moon eclipse, and so on. A teacher may demonstrate these phenomena with images, videos, and graphs with the help of multi-media. The class can be interactive too.

Bangladesh has a huge population, and that is why the class size is usually big. The schools of our country lack skilled teachers, teaching learning materials, science laboratories, etc. The students do not have wide scope of doing scientific experiments. E-learning can play a vital role to solve these problems. A lesson conducted by a skilled teacher may be recorded and distributed to hundreds of schools. Different learning materials for teaching a specific subject can be given to students. Teachers themselves may make their lessons more effective to teach their subjects and these lessons may be reused in other classes.

Teaching and learning materials are made for e-learning all over the world. Renowned universities of the world have introduced some online courses and anybody can take any of these courses. Experimentation is going on to develop the field, and a learner can take the course either by submitting his homework or sitting for examination online, and can get the requisite credit.

Bangladesh is not lagging behind in e-learning. The ICT specialists of the country have opened some web portals offering courses in Bangla, and learners from any part of the world can take the courses. The ICT oriented, specifically for imparting training in computer programming have earned popularity at home and abroad.

Though e-learning can play a vital role in over-coming the limitations of teaching in Bangladesh. However, e-learning is not a substitute of the conventional teaching method of a classroom in which teachers and students have face-to-face interactions, exchange of opinions, and question and answer sessions. views and the students can ask questions. Moreover, students can interact and help themselves in learning something.

Moreover, teachers and students can assist each other in the learning process and optimise their learning by peer-bonding. Possibilities of interactions are minimal in e-learning. As e-learning requires little human participation, it may become mechanical. Therefore, in order to make e-learning successful, students need to be very pro-active. E-learning has a wide scope in Bangladesh as we can solve limitations in classroom teaching may be minimised by adopting e-learning. However, implementation of e-learning practices in classroom will require fast internet connectivity, necessary infra-structure, and e-learning materials.

Work: How e-learning can play a vital role in the development of education.

E-Governance and Bangladesh

Transparency and accountability are needed for a good governance. A modern, transparent, and accountable governance can be can be ensured by introducing digital system. It will ensure good governance This will stop the harassment of citizens and pave the way of good governance. The application of electronic or digital method in the government administration is called e-governance.

Once, it was very difficult for the examinees and their guardians to collect the result of the public examination. It was more difficult for the people living in the remote villages. Even two decades ago they could not collect their results a week after the publication of the result even, now they can get it either through the internet or the SMS option of the mobile phone. So, the trouble of collecting the result instantly has come to an end.

Another example of e-governance is the facility of submitting applications to the higher educational institutions. with the help of the mobile phone. Previously if a candidate of Jessore wanted to apply to Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, he had to complete a series of formalities candidates or their representatives had to travel to Sylhet in order to collect and submit university admission application forms. Now candidates may submit their application through mobile phones. They need not to travel from one city to another.

District offices of the Deputy Commissioners have E-service Centres in order to ensure easy, affordable, and hassle-free services. Now a service Delivery of services that took 2-3 weeks in the past now takes only 2-5 days. On top of it, digitalisation of the information has reduced the time in decision making by 80% - 90%. Government departments have become transparent and accountable in providing their services and increased their efficiency in issuing copies of deeds and settlement records.

The manual process of paying gas, electricity and water bills is time-consuming and troublesome. Sometimes the busy hours of a day are spent to pay the utility bills. Now the bills can be paid either through online or cell phones. The target of the Government is to ensure better life standard and hassle-free life for its citizens. E-governance has made some services accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year. Some of these services, for example, are ATM services, mobile banking, information services, etc. As a result, citizens may avail the service at their convenience.

In addition, with the introduction of e-services, inter-departmental communication and net-working within the Government has increased. Government employees have also become skilled. As a result, providing faster service has become easier.

Bangladesh has introduced e-governance for a few years. E-service is yet to be introduced to all sectors of the governance. With its successful implementation in every sector, Bangladesh will certainly lead to good governance.

E-Service and Bangladesh

Many government an non-government service providing organisations provide the citizens with temporary and full time services. This might be travelling from one place to another or issuing duplicate records of a land. Before the introduction of digital system, the service seekers had to meet the service provider, but now they can have the service through the internet or mobile phone staying at his own home, for example, services at home, such as purchasing tickets through the internet or mobile phone. People, a few days ago, had to go physically to Kamlapur train station, and stand in the queue before the counters for tickets. This system is still in practice, but now anyone can collect tickets and pay the fares online. Providing service through electronic system is called e-service. E-service ensures availability of services at low cost in the shortest possible time without much hassle. E-service has already been introduced to several ministries, departments and directorates of the Government of Bangladesh.

The digital edition of textbooks, e-settlement records, e-permit, e-ticket, telemedicine, e-tin registration and income tax calculation, etc. are the examples of e-services.

A. E-permit: It is one of the primary e-services of the country. The sugar cane farmers of fifteen sugar-mills of the country get e-permit through the message option of the cell phone. E-permit is the official permission of the sugar mills authority for the farmers to supply sugar canes in a fixed time. The harassment of the farmers has come to an end as they receive the information of supplying sugar canes through sms. The production of the sugar mills has also been increased for timely supply of sugar canes.

B. Electronic Money Transfer System (MTS): Money can be sent at a low cost from one place to another quickly and safely through the electronic money transfer system of Bangladesh Postal Department. It is possible to transfer BDT 50000 in one minute. This service is available in all post-offices in Bangladesh.

C. E-settlement Records : The duplicate of land settlement records can be collected through this service. Previously employees of land settlement department would supply the information to the applicants from big record books after filling up the prescribed forms. The applicants had to be present physically in the office and the employees of the concerned department would prepare it manually. Because of the e-service, applicants at home and abroad can receive the settlement records, paying the required fees.

D. E-healthcare: Physicians in government health centres give advice on mobile phones. That is why, government hospitals have been provided with mobile phones. Any citizen of the country can get the advice of any physician. Besides, in some hospitals, telemedicine service has been introduced. Because of the telemedical services, patient in upazila may avail the service and advice of medical specialists in district hospitals on mobile phones.

E. E-tiketing and Mobile Ticketing of Railway: Tickets of some intercity trains can be collected either through mobile phone or online. As a result, travellers can purchase the ticket at their convenience without going to the ticket counters of the railway station. They can reach the station just before the departure of the train and collect the printed ticket from a particular

counter.

E-commerce and Bangladesh

There is no substitute for trade and business for the progress and creation of jobs in a country. A change has been brought about in the business sector of Bangladesh by the electronic money transfer and exchange process for the innovation of digital technology, the internet and electonic exchanging process besides paper currency. Running business through electronic medium is known as e-commerce.

There are some terms and conditions in business. Firstly, the sellers must have commodity secondly, the buyers will pay the price of the product. This transaction requires direct communication of the seller and buyer. However, in the era of internet, nowadays sellers may create a website and display the images of his products. The buyers, after choosing his commodity, pay the price and get it. The buyers have the facilities to pay the price through debit and credit cards. They can pay through mobile banking even. Thirdly, on receipt of the payment, the sellers either deliver the products themselves or by the courier. Another payment method is through courier service after receiving the price.

The bill payment can also be done in the Cash on Delivery (COD) method, which is different from mobile banking and debit or credit card payment. The purchaser choose the product from the website of the seller and orders for supply. The seller after getting the order sends it to the buyer who pays the bill after receiving it.

E-commerce has been gradually extending in Bangladesh since 2011-12. Now everything including books, garments, food, luxurious goods, etc. is being sold or bought through e-commerce. Two types of establisments are noticed in e-commerce like conventional business. One kind of establishment only sells their own products and another kind sells the products of different companies. You have already watched advertisements of some websites on the internet, television and in the newspaper.

ICT in the Job Sector of Bangladesh

Nowadays, the multifarious use and impact of ICT in the job sector is noticed in Bangladesh like other countries. The impact and capacity of ICT are gradually increasing. Two types of impact of ICT are noticed. First, the introduction of ICT in the prevailing working sectors has enhanced the skills of the employees and extended the market. Second, ICT itself has created new job-opportunities.

The use of ICT in the prevailing existing job sector and old business sectors, on the one hand, has enhanced the efficiency, transparency and accountability of the professional groups on the other hand, it has increased the standard of service. Skill in ICT is now regarded as the elementary qualification for any job. TEmployees of banks, insurance, multinational companies, government sectors need to be skilled in word processing, presentation software, internet browsing, email management, analytical software, etc. In addition they have to develop expertise in a specific software product, such as banking software. On top of it, ICT has created a large job market of making hardware, software, developing websites, maintenance, etc. Now it is a big market for the skilled workers who can work at home or abroad and set their own ICT firms.

A major part of the task can be accomplished at home. Many people earn foreign currency for the country through outsourcing.

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