IT Education in Bangladesh
Introduction : The overwhelming growth of internet and personal computer use in every sphere of life has truth that development in IT sector will be the primary yardstick to measure a nation’s established the very truth that development in IT sector will be th success. For a developing country like Bangladesh, the extensive introduction of computer education from primary to postgraduate level is a must. Because, IT has immediate implication in our social, commercial and domestic life and it can significantly contribute to the economy. Realizing the fact, Bangladesh government has declared IT as a thrust sector.
Present State of IT education in Bangladesh : Formal computer education in Bangladesh was first started in 1984 with the foundation of Computer Science and Engineering Department in BUET. The IT education thereafter gradually extended to bachelor, higher secondary and secondary levels.
1. Primary and Junior secondary level : In Bangladesh there are 8,3796 primary level institutions. The first five years and next three years of education constitute the Primary and junior secondary level respectively. General science is taught at these level through which students become, in a very small scale aware of computers and their vast applications. Besides, majority of schools in the county can not afford to buy computers for their students.
2. Secondary and Higher secondary level : Computer science education has been launched as an optional subject for the secondary level students from the beginning of 1994 and about one hundred fifty schools were permitted to start up the subject.
Besides, computer science education has been introduced at the intermediate level as an option The subject has also introduced at secondary level in vocational training institutes of the country in 1995 and the education has been gradually extended to higher secondary vocational training institutes.
3. Diploma level and training institutes : Among twenty polytechnic institutes of the country, three have launched three years Diploma in Computer Engineering in 1994. Bangladesh Open University is now offering three semester Diploma in computer applications. In the recent years, Ministry of Youth has established 69 computer training institutes over the country under a project. There are more than 1000 training institutes at private sector initiative producing different categories of IT professionals. Many of them are franchised institutes of NIIT, APTECH, CMC, NCC and many other foreign institutes.
4. National and public university and institutes : Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) first introduced the formal education in Information Technology (IT) in 1984 by launching the Masters in computer science and Engineering. Under graduate program started from 1986 with the first intake in 1987. Dhaka University started their one year Masters program in Computer science in 1993 with a total of 20 students. Rajshahi and Jahangirnagar University established Computer Science department in 1993 and the first batch graduated in 1998. Khulna University and Shahjalal University of science and Technology introduced under-graduate program in 1991 and 1992 respectively. In 1999 four Bangladesh Institute of Technologies (BITs) introduced undergraduate program in Computer Science. Besides Bangladesh National University is now offering four years B.Sc Honours course in computer science.
5. Private Universities and Institutes : Recently a number of private Universities have been established with computer science as their major department. Among them North South University, AMA International University of Bangladesh, Comilla University etc. are more prominent.
Problems of IT education in Bangladesh : The IT education in Bangladesh is riddled with a number of problems. Such as:
1. At the primary and junior secondary levels, majority of the schools can not afford to buy computers for their students.
2. The school teachers at these levels lack the minimum level of training on IT.
3. Although government has taken a number of initiatives to introduce computer courses at secondary and higher secondary levels, these intuitions lack trained teachers.
4. Our school and colleges are not well equipped with laboratory facilities. The schools that introduced computer courses are not doing well due to lack of laboratory facilities required for proper training management and conservation of materials.
5. The schools with limited computer laboratory facilities yet fail to make their students familiar with internet, e-mails and related technology. Because we lack nationwide telecommunication infrastructure and internet facilities.
6. The incomplete and not up-to-date course curricula is seriously hampering the IT education in secondary and higher secondary levels.
7. In case of private institutes, the problem is that many of these institutes are taking high fees from the students and are not maintain minimum standard.
8. Absence of interaction with the industries is one of the main bottlenecks to the achievement of standard in our undergraduate curricula in computer science and Information Technology.
9. Private Universities are seriously suffering from an acute shortage of teaching stuffs. They are mainly run by the part time teachers.
After all, policies of our government are not consistent and goal oriented, Government sponsored organization and institutions like BCC, are not working efficiently in their respective area.
Recommendations : The major policies and measures required for improvement in the condition of IT education at different levels involve the following:
– General science text books should adequately cover fundamental concepts on computers and their
Short term intensive training on IT may be arranged for the teacher at primary and junior secondary level. Communication media like TV and radio can regularly broadcast programs showing hands on use of computers, e-mail, internet etc.
– Special care should be taken to improve the English Language ability of the students.
– Gradually computer aided education system and learning should be introduced at primary and junior secondary level.
– Highly educated and skilled teachers and trainers should be brought from abroad on contact basis to meet the present shortage.
– A nation wide central examination system should be introduced to maintain standard and quality of IT education in both the formal and non formal sectors.
– Course curricula should be revised not more than two years interval.
– A significant portion of laboratory marks should be allotted to a large programming project which the student are expected to develop phase by phase.
– Like science week, IT week can be observed throughout the country.
– At the undergraduate and post graduate level, there should be uniformity in course curricula and degree requirements.
– Post graduate program should be strengthened.
– Laboratory facilities should be increased. Extra allocation should be reserved for computer science departments.
– Degree requirements at private Universities should be as stringent as that of BUET.
Conclusion: Bangladesh Govt. has given the highest priority on IT and measures are being taken to increase the enrollment. However, only increasing the number of annual enrollment in computer education will do more harm if it is not accompanied by a proportionate increase in laboratory, internet, classroom and other logistic facilities. So, implanting above mentioned recommendations may bring our goal into reality.