Along with digital infrastructure, however, there must be digital education
Back in 2008, the Bangladesh government launched the Digital Bangladesh agenda. In the 12 years since then, the nation, and indeed the world, has seen tremendous changes. No doubt, from education, to office work, to finances, more is done digitally these days than ever before, and it goes without saying that the coronavirus pandemic we are currently witnessing has forced us to adapt even faster.
The nation is, at this moment, putting the finishing touches on the massive Padma Bridge project. But when it comes to making Digital Bangladesh a reality, we must make similar commitments toward digital infrastructure. This means making sure everybody has access to the internet, and that our schools, colleges, and universities across the nation, and at all levels, have computers with up to date software.
Along with digital infrastructure, however, there must be digital education. In spite of all the strides made in recent years, the fact remains that many across the nation simply do not know how to use the internet in ways to benefit them. Mobile phones are ubiquitous, but the same cannot be said for smart-phone usage. This ultimately comes down to a mindset, and a willingness to adapt to digital ways of doing things.
Government websites must also be made more efficient, less confusing, and clutter-free. It is good that many necessary papers, such as tax identification number (TIN) certificates or police clearance certificates, can now be processed online. The process should be demystified further for those not accustomed to using the internet, and also made easier. Instructions should be clear, and the authorities and their tech teams should ensure that these sites do not crash frequently.
We are on the road to Digital Bangladesh, that is for sure. But there is work ahead, and this work will require a commitment from our brightest minds. Let us keep our focus.