Prime minister Sheikh Hasina has urged new generations to excel in the use of information and communication technology to help build Bangladesh free of poverty and unemployment.
“Our aim is to get our new generations used to tapping technology,” Sheikh Hasina said, inaugurating a convention of ICT-related experts of Asia, ‘E-Asia 2011’ at Bangabandhu International Convention Centre in Dhaka on Thursday.
She added that if the young generation receives proper education on information technology, it will play a role in creating jobs at home and abroad.
Hasina said ‘Digital Bangladesh’ is part of the electoral manifesto of her Awami League party, which aims to fully digitalise the nation by 2021 through application of information and communication technology. “We are working tirelessly to ensure technologies for all.”
She said that as a step towards digitalising Bangladesh, her government has made mobile phones available and established 1,600 multimedia classrooms and almost 3,000 IT labs across the country.
“We have digitalised the primary and secondary textbooks and are planning to establish multimedia classrooms in another 20,000 educational institutions.” The prime minister referred to the establishment of mobile IT labs in the remote areas and introduction of solar energy in areas without electricity. “The government has taken initiatives towards introducing 3G mobile services.”
Citing digital services like e-information centres in upazilas and mobile banking, she said, “”I believe that we will not have to wait until 2021. We can make our Bangladesh digital before that.”
State minister for ICT Yeafesh Osman said, “If only we work together under the leadership of the daughter of the Father of the Nation, it will be possible for us to build a digital Bangladesh.
Advisor to the state minister for ICT, Sajeeb Ahmed Wazed said, “Like India, we can transform Bangladesh into an information technology hub. We believe we can do much in a short time.”
“Every ministry of the government will be brought under E-governance,” added Sajeeb, the son of Hasina.
“There will be no shortage of electricity in Bangladesh within 2013,” he added.
Indian research organisation Centre for Development and Media Studies (CSDMS) is the key organizer of the event. Bangladesh Computer Council and the Ministry for Science and Information and Communication Technology are sponsoring the event.
It has been possible to host the fair in Bangladesh thanks to the leadership of Sheikh Hasina, the CSDMS representative M P Narayan said.
The slogan for this year’s convention is ‘Realizing digital nation’.
The state minister for ICT had announced on Nov 30 that 30 seminars and workshops would be held during the event. Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Japan, Thailand and Holland’s pavilions would also be set up, besides Bangladeshi pavilions, at the venue as part of the exhibition.
The best IT contributions from Asia will be awarded on the second day of the event, it was announced.
Besides the convention, an IT fair will run from 10am to 8pm every day through to Saturday. The entry fee is Tk 10 but students can get in for free, the organizers’ said.
The first E- Asia convention was held in Bangkok in 2006, twice in Malaysia and once in Sri Lanka. The event was scheduled to be held last year in the Philippines but was postponed due to political uncertainty.