Policy Café is a forum for the youth to garner their assessment on national policies, acts, ordinances and other important national instruments. Policy Café is not an implementing agency rather it recognizes itself as an avenue of democratic exercises where every young citizen is expected to share his/her thoughts, opinion and ideas regarding policies. It is a platform for the youth to be engaged in policy discourses; simultaneously it’s a floor for them to be heard by the policy makers of the country.
Policy Café held a session on the policy framework of “ICT, Education and Employment” at Bangladesh Computer Council Auditorium, Agargoan, Dhaka on February 25th, 2014. The policymakers in question were Mr. Mostafizur Rahman, Honourable Minister (Ministry of Primary and Mass Education) and Mr. Zunaid Ahmed Palak, Honourable State Minister (Ministry of Post, Telecommunications and Information and Communication Technology).
Approximately 100 students from Dhaka University, BUET, United International University (UIU), ULAB, NSU participated in the interactive discussion program to share their discontents, appreciations, and recommendations regarding the current ICT, education and employment situation of the country.
Students fully felt free to express their views, suggestions and appeal with the ministers. The invited policy makers listened to what the youth had to say patiently and spontaneously gave responses to their questions and/or queries. The ministers acknowledged their appeals and suggestions in a serious fashion. They also have given a number of crucial commitments to the students to implement policies in the said sectors in a more prolific way.
The main points which came up for discussion include: factors behind policies; points to appreciate while formulating policies; missing links in policies; major challenges to IT industrialization; further steps the government can take on policy issues effecting the sectors of ICT, education and employment.
The students and future policymakers made a number of recommendations to the two invited ministers such as: formulating distinguished policy for IT education; increasing salary of teachers working in the primary education sector of Bangladesh; engaging IT experts in community matters including schools; enhancing funds for research and development of IT sector; ensuring proper training of teachers in IT matters so that they can, in turn, teach those skills to their pupils; cutting down costs of internet etc.
The ministers present, after engaging with the participants, made a number of commitments and/or assurances such as: developing a distinguished policy after consulting with all stakeholders; developing exclusive pay scale for primary teachers; one laptop for one student; engaging ICT experts from communities in schools; cutting down costs of internet; developing 100,000 WiFi hotspots for the public.
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