Policy Café has successfully organized a policy study circle on the policy framework “ICT, Education and Employment” on 12 February, 2014 at TSC Premises of University of Dhaka. The prime purpose behind the arrangement of this study circle was to encourage youth participation in the mechanism of policy formulation of the country. The circle was opened for everyone on the basis of pre-registration and in response to that around 50 students from different clubs of Dhaka University including ICT club participated in the event.
Through the interactive session of policy discussion the participants of the study circle brought out a number of surfaces of the policy framework and recommended many things to be added on the policies to make them more comprehensive and effectual.
In the opening session of the study circle the program coordinator delivered a short briefing on the ins and outs of the National Education Policy 2010, ICT in Education Master Plan (2012-2021), and National ICT Policy 2012 (proposed).
After that the floor was left for the students to voice their assessments on the policy framework. Many among the participants expressed their understandings and concerns on the policy framework. All of them are aware of the fact that ICT is the backbone of any digital initiative; hence they believe that building of an ICT educated workforce is the most important precondition of making the country a digitized one.
All of them unanimously agreed that to develop an ICT skilled generation a proper policy framework is needed. They highly appreciated the initiatives and concerns of the present government for formulating such wide-ranging Master plan of using ICT in education and employment. Besides that they raised some major issues to be prioritized by the policy makers of the nation. The major concerns raised by them included:
ICT (Information Communications Technology)
- The cost of internet is not that much cheep so that everybody can afford it;
- To download or precede heavy work on the internet high speed is must. But speed is still very poor;
- Although some people can afford the cost of internet but they are not able to use it because they don’t have the basic knowledge on using internet. So basic training should be provided with effective methods;
- Implementation of the policy strategies should be more effective for eradication of ‘Digital Divide’;
- Multimedia class room may not effective some times because some learning process is not possible within multimedia system so classical learning process should be continue parallel with multimedia system;
- Wi-Fi dilemma also exists in the campuses and other places as sufficient speed is not available under Wi-Fi system;
- Free supply of internet sometime cause problem, unaware people use free internet at random;
- IT friendly environment should be introduced and implemented;
- Teachers training must to make them cope up with ICT devices;
- The difficulties of Payment Gateway have to be removed;
- There should be zero tolerance regarding VOIP corruption;
- Section 57 of ICT Act is a bar to freedom of speech and democratization
- More and effective trainings have to be provided to the teachers at every level (Primary to higher education);
- There is no coordination for the research work/activities. Students have to suffer when they go for any research. Guidance and proper instruction should be given to the students during their study;
- Research method is not taught properly to the students;
- Brain drain is another issue and threat for our country where Bangladesh is losing its skilled man power and the reasons behind are poor salary, unavailability of related job fields, and no strong initiative from the government;
- The selection processes of the teachers in primary school is not ideal, and at the same candidates lose their interest to be teachers for poor salary as a result skilled candidates do not want to be the primary teacher;
- Budget for education is not enough but government allocates more money for defense;
- Government does not need to show the false improvement through exaggerating the result of students;
- Exam Question paper leak should be strictly prohibited;
- The salary of primary teachers should be at least 30000 taka as brilliant graduates might think about joining in primary level;
- There are not enough job sectors according to the degrees. So students want to go to abroad for their career and handsome salary;
- No patronization of the new inventors from the government so the inventors do not go for further showcasing of talent;
- Basic ICT training should be provided to get job;
- Freelancing should be announced as an industrial sector, and training should be provided free of cost;
- Make sure that the private sector can’t use the overwhelming manpower of the country as ‘Reserve Army’;
- The collaboration between curriculum and market demands should be maintained
So in brief, these are the opinion & recommendations from the youth as they engaged in the policy discourses. As a youth forum, the aim of ‘Policy Café’ is to enhance quality citizenship among the youth and prepare democratic spaces for future generation. The study circle is just a step towards that.