Despite seeds of great expectation taking root, lack of proper awareness and skill in the useof internet is depriving many young people of Bangladesh of desired jobs at home and abroad. Expertssuggest increasing digital literacy to increase the level of awareness and Bangladeshiyouths’chance of securing jobs.
The lack of awareness about the risks posed by the social media is also making the users vulnerable to cybercrime, cyberbullying, disinformation and propaganda. Authorities say theydo not have exact data on overall digital literacy but they guess the rate would not be high.
“I think the number [of people with digital literacy] would not be high,” Nazmul Islam, youth program coordinator at the Ministry of Youth and Sports said. He, however,said there are about 8 million freelancers in Bangladesh trained on information technology who are serving clients from all over the world.
Nazmul said the government has already taken several steps for capacity building of the freelancers. According to him, the size of the global freelancing market is about $1.7 trillion and the government wants to enable the Bangladeshi freelancers to take part in a greater way in the ever-growing market.
DrTanjiba, Chairman of Bangladesh Freelancer Development Society,said freelancing as a career is becoming popular among our youths. “We’ve a bright future if we enhance our capacity collaboratively. In terms of numbers, Bangladesh is a young nation. A hundred million of its current population are aged 30 or below,” she said. Mishuk Farhan,IT trainer of a private firm, told Bangladesh Post, “Digital literacy among young people is crucial to make Bangladesh progressive and tolerant.”
With increasing use of computer and smart phone as well as internet coverage, Bangladesh is becoming more vulnerable to cybercrimes and propaganda in the social media. “But there is nothing to get afraid of this development. In fact, better digital literacy of people can effectively combat cybercrime,” he added.
He suggested that Bangladesh should take into consideration that without digital literacy a huge number of people will lag behind in the ever-changing technological world. Abir Ahmed Patwary, Director of IT Global, told Bangladesh Post, “As financial literacy is inseparably linked with internet or digital literacy and as life today is becoming increasingly reliant on digital technology, internet literacy has been considered an important measure of competency in the job market.”
“In today's digitised world, people who are unskilled in ICT are lagging behind others.Any digital inequality means socio-economic inequality,” he said. More than 70 percent of Bangladesh’s population live in the countryside and are bereft of participation in huge development activities of the country, he indicated.
The current information gap between different sectors can be bridged easily by providing internet education to people. “Our women living in the countryside are optingout of digital knowledge and are keeping away from partnering with their male counterparts,” he further said. Senior Secretary of ICT Division NM Zeaul Alam said, “We are heading towards future with tremendous speeds. Digital Literacy is a must, I agree. We’re proud of our freelancers. We require more institutions both private and public which will focus on creating and grooming freelancers.”
“We have taken several joint projects in collaboration of Ministry of Youth and Sports to create skilled IT professionals in upazilla level.” he added.