The government is set to provide training to 80,000 students and graduates over the next two years through public universities under a programme titled "Digital Skills Training for Students" aimed at creating employment.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed in this regard between the World Bank-financed Enhancing Digital Government and Economy (EDGE) Project of the Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC), under the ICT Division, and 28 public universities on Thursday at the EDGE conference room at Mirpur Youth Tower.
EDGE Project Director Md Shakhawat Hossain and teachers and representatives from 28 universities, including Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology (CUET), Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University (CUET) separately signed the MoU. More public universities will be included in phases to provide digital skills training for students.
The MoU was followed by a workshop that was addressed, among others, by ICT Secretary Md. Shamsul Arefin, Md. Shakhawat Hossain, Director of BCC Md. Abu Sayed, Policy Adviser of EDGE Project Abdul Bari and Team Leader of Smart Leadership Academy Dr. Md. Mahfuzul Islam Shamim, head of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) Department of BUET Professor Mahmauda Naznin, Professor of CSE department of Dhaka University Rabiul Islam and Professor of Chittagong University Sanaullah Chowdhury.
According to MoU the 80,000 students will get training in three phases. Of them 50,000 will get training on fundamental issues at the foundational level, 20,000 on more complex issues than the foundational level in the intermediate level and 10,000 on frontier technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and blockchain in the advanced level.
Emphasizing the importance of conducting research and training to advance the ICT sector, ICT Secretary Shamsul Arefin said many universities are facing a funding crisis. To address this issue, a Corporate Research Responsibility Fund (CRRF) could be formed, and the government’s EDGE project can take the initiative in this regard, he added.
Shamsul Arefin stated that the government is implementing the Digital Skills for Students Training Programme through universities, with the aim of strengthening ties between government, industry and academia. This partnership will facilitate collaboration between the industry and academia, he said.
The ICT secretary underscored the need for involving youths in training and research and said that failure to do so would result in lagging behind, especially at a time when cutting-edge technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) are generating research materials without human involvement. “We will always be consumer of AI technologies and innovations if we fail to create researchers, innovators, and skilled human resources in frontier technologies,” he said.
Expressing the government’s willingness to flourish research and innovation in the country, Shamsul announced the government is going to set up 10 Research and Innovation Centers (RICs) in 10 universities soon.