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Digital Bangladesh: Prospect or Mere Dream

The Probability of Digital Bangladesh with reference to Education Submitted To Md. Saiful Islam Associate Professor Chairman, Department of Management Islamic University, Kushtia Submitted by Md. Toufiqur Rahman BBA (hon’s) 8th Semester Roll Number: 0405002 Session: 2004-2005 Department of Management Islamic University, Kushtia Date of Submission Table of Contents Chapter| Title| page| 1| Digital Divide 1.

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1 Meaning of Digital Divide 1. Digital Divide in Bangladesh : A Global Comparison| | 2| Probability of Digital Bangladesh 2021 with reference to Education2. 1 Meaning of Digital Bangladesh2. 2 Digital Bangladesh in Education| | 3| References | |Chapter 1 Digital Divide 1. 1 Meaning of Digital Divide This digital revolution has created a brand new economic sector that simply did not exist before. Computers, modern telecommunication and the Internet all reduce communication costs and break down geographical borders. In the developed nations government policies are being established which attempts o ensure that all citizens will get opportunity to access the effective use of ICTs in order to enable them to participate in the educational, social and economic activities and democratic process. Developed countries are getting much benefit from the advancement of ICT. So, there is a digital divide between developed and developing countries. The concept of the digital divide has been used to highlight difference in electronic access to information based on economic, race, ethnic or social group and/or geographical location.The term digital divide has been applied to the gap that exists in most countries between those with ready access to the tools of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), and those without such access or skills. It is “a gap, which tends to deepen, is produced between those individuals that can access new information and communication tools such as phones, TV sets or the Internet, and those who are too poor to get them between the have’s and the have nots” (de Munster, 2004).People living in developed countries have the best access to the fastest computers, best telephone services, competitive Internet Service Providers, and a wealth of content and training relevant to their lives. On the other hand, people living in developing countries have limited access or no access at all to these technologies. The group “have nots” also don’t have the more ability to use ICTs and even they don’t know that technology can make their life easier. The real gap between these two groups of people is called the “digital divide” (Giri, 2002).Digital divide also refers to a “perceived inequality in access to, distribution, and use of information technology between two or more populations” (www. Bridges. org). The digital divide – the gap between those who have access and the ability to use ICT, and those who do not – remains vast access. (Legard, 2001): For example 1. The total Internet bandwidth in Africa is equal to that in the Brazilian city of Sao Paolo. 2. The total Internet bandwidth in all of Latin America is equal to that in Seoul, South Korea. 3. In the United States, 54. 3 percent of citizens use the Internet, compared to a global average of 6. 7 percent.In the Indian subcontinent, the proportion is 0. 4 percent. 1. 2 Digital Divide in Bangladesh: A Global Comparison The ICT status of Bangladesh is not remarkable without some favorable initiatives by the Government and by private entrepreneurs. Computer use in Bangladesh started with a mainframe computer in 1964. The Internet came in Bangladesh in 1993 and IP connectivity in 1996. In April 2000, the Government withdraws taxes on VSAT after that, the use of Internet scenario of the country has been changing rapidly. Presently, there are nearly 266 ISPs serving for accountholders-based connectivity with more than 500,000 users.The Ministry of Science and Information and Communication Technology approved the national ICT policy in 2002. South East Asia-Middle East-West Europe (SEA-ME-WE-4) is a submarine cable consortium connecting 14 counties at 16 landing stations. Bangladesh joined the consortium and signed a MoU on 4 September 2002 at Bali in Indonesia, and then signed the Construction and Maintenance Agreement in 2004 in Dubai. After four years of joining the consortium, on 21 May 2006, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh inaugurated this submarine cable connecting with Bangladesh.The total length of the cable is 22,000 km (approx. ), where the Bangladesh landing station is 1,260 km away from the Cox’s Bazar seashore. Despite all these the digital divide in Bangladesh is much bigger than other countries in the world. Some Statistical data reveal that the country is divided in two groups approximately 99. 8% and 0. 2 % from which the latter is digitally educated. A global comparison is shown on the next page to find out the position of Bangladesh. References Bridges. org. Spanning the digital divide: understanding and tackling the issues. www. bridges. org/spanning e Munster, IL (2004). The digital divide in Latin America: a case study. 70th IFLA General Conference and Council.Buenos Aires, Argentina, 22-27 August 2004. Giri, J (2002). Digital Divide. Paper presented at ICT and development for computer association of Nepal IT conference, January 26-27, 2002 in Kathmandu. (www. interconnection. org/resources/itpoverty. htm) World Bank (2005). World development indicators 2005. Washington, DC: World Bank World Bank (2006). World development indicators 2006. Washington, DC: World Bank Chapter 2 Probability of Digital Bangladesh 2021 2. 1 Meaning of Digital Bangladesh Digital Bangladesh” is currently the most commonly used words in politics, media, among the intellectuals and the civil societies. Since our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in her party’s election manifesto pledged to develop a digital Bangladesh by 2021, it has given a great hope to the citizens of Bangladesh.Let us now explore the buzzword digital Bangladesh. What does it really mean? Moving towards digital Bangladesh does not imply that the urban young groups of the country will be more sophisticated consumers of high-tech devices like computers, digital cameras, latest model mobile sets or camcorders etc. ased on high-speed Internet infrastructure and promote the dejuice culture. Rather discarding this superficial notion, we need to consider the term ‘digital Bangladesh’ objectively. 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 the state of the art technology.So, a digital Bangladesh must guarantee efficient and effective use of modern ICT in all spheres of the society with a view to establishing good governance. In other word, making Bangladesh a digital one, we have to establish technology driven e-governance, e-commerce, e-production, e-agriculture, e-health etc. in the society emphasizing the overall development of the common people, the major stakeholders of the country. In the field of ICT, our only grand success lies in Mobile telecommunication which has brought an abrupt change in telecommunication scenario of the country.However, in the other spheres of ICT, our achievement is very insignificant and we are still far away from transforming ourselves into a knowledge-based society. Building strong ICT infrastructure is the pre-requisite for making Bangladesh a digital one. For this, we need to focus on the education system first, because the possibility of digital Bangladesh can only be increased when we will be able to educate our next generation with the base of ICT. Present ICT Profile of Bangladesh on the basis of Asia-Pacific Development Information Program is shown on the next page. 2. Digital Bangladesh in Education Digital Bangladesh in education can be visualized when the education system will be completely dependent to the digital systems. Currently the country’s education system is no way near to the digital systems.The teachers give their lectures using traditional books and black boards. The students are going to their respective institutions, hearing lectures, cramming before examination, appearing in the examination and getting degrees. In true sense education system in Bangladesh will be digital if we can achieve the followings by the year 2021. ) Primary Education Level: All the students in the primary level should have a basic knowledge of ICT by the completion of their primary level education. b) Secondary Education Level: Students should practise technical aspects of the theoretical knowledge they gain. c) Tertiary Education Level: Students should try to find out the ways to use ICT in their respective field of study and develop themselves.d) Lecturing System: Teachers should be using computers and the Internet to teach their students in the most convenient way and with the latest information. ) Exams and Results: The students will appear in exams online and the results will be published within seconds after the end of the exams. f) 2. 3 Present Scenario of Digital Education in Bangladesh At present there is no structure for digital education in Bangladesh in the primary, secondary and higher secondary level of education. Students do not have better ideas about the better use of information and communication technology and gaining digital knowledge. At the university level the only a part of students are gaining digital education formally.