Information and Communication Technology (ICT) division secretary Nazrul Islam Khan on Saturday said the government has taken an initiative to provide IT training to over 50,000 people a year using the facilities of Union Information Service Centers (UISCs).
“As part of a four-step action plan, the government has moved for the rapid expansion of IT literacy at rural level by providing IT training to more than 50,000 people a year using the facilities of UISCs,” he said.
Nazrul also said the government is working to make all the 4547 UISCs as mini-outsourcing ones by developing the capacity of rural entrepreneurs on ICT.
The secretary was addressing a daylong seminar, titled ‘Prospect and challenges of UISCs’ organized by the Empowering Rural Communities-Reaching the Unreached: UISC project’ at the ICT Division conference room in the city.
Nazrul underscored the need for introducing training for freelancers on the UISCs. “Training for freelancers at district and upazila levels has already started, and even there is an association for freelancers at the district level. Now we’ll have to start the training on the UISC. Once trained, people will be able to earn money sitting at home,” he said.
The secretary said the income through outsourcing in the year 2012 was USD 15,600,000 while USD 53,200,000 in the first six months of 2014.
“After creating a large number of freelancers, our next attempt will be to turn the freelancers into entrepreneurs. We want to see at least one entrepreneur in each upazila. If we can do so, there will be an ICT company in every upazila of the country over the next 15-20 years,” Nazrul added.
Emphasizing the dissemination of ICT, the secretary said, “We’ve organized digital fair in every upazila across the country last year. Now, we’ll organize fair in every union.”
Mentioning that there is a challenge to have one female entrepreneur in every UISC, he said, “In many UISCs, women don’t want to continue their job as entrepreneurs. But we have to ensure that as women feel comfortable to work with women in the UISCs.”
The UISC project has been implemented in the country through Saarc Development Fund apart from Bhutan, the Maldives and Nepal.
Presenting the prospect and challenges of the project, Susnta Kumar Saha, Joint Secretary and Project Director, said the unreached rural communities of 200 selected union parishad (UPs) under 31 upazilas in 31 districts of Bangladesh have been empowered significantly with the exposure to information and communication services.
He said the entrepreneurs of 200 UISCs have earned about Tk 5 million since the inception of the project in March 2014. The achievement is much higher compared to Bhutan, the Maldives and Nepal where similar projects are being implemented with the Saarc Development Fund.
Laptops, printers, scanners, multimedia projectors, modems and furniture have been provided through the project in the selected UISCs in remote areas. Besides, 27 solar panels have been installed where electricity connection is absent.
To address the future challenges, the workshop made plans to increase the number of women entrepreneurs, arrangement of need-based trainings and introduction of awards to encourage a healthy competition.
Govt to provide IT training to 50,000 people a yr