‘I will do everything to make the learning of program coding compulsory in primary education’
Although Bangladesh missed the previous three industrial revolutions, the country will lead the world in the fourth, ICT minister Mustafa Jabbar said.
The minister made the remarks while addressing a roundtable discussion titled “4th Industrial revolution (4IR) – Are we ready.” The roundtable was organized at the Brac Centre Inn auditorium in Dhaka, with the ICT minister as chief guest.
“Bangladesh missed three industrial revolutions before it could even notice them, but the country will lead the fourth,” he said.
“I think 4IR is not about technology, but how you respond to technology. Many people believe that there will be a scarcity of jobs as more technology is used, but once 4IR is in full flow, ten other sources of jobs will be created in the country,” the minister added.
The ICT minister further said the network of the union digital centres set up in the country is an example for the rest of the world.
The setting up of as many as 4,554 union digital centres, an e-procurement system, more than 100 simplified public services, and smart health cards are among the initiatives that is leading Bangladesh towards the 4IR.
Although it is possible for the government to make the majority of processes paperless, the question of whether the public is ready for such a change remains, the ICT minister said.
He added that he wishes to make the programming subject mandatory in primary education.
Earlier, A2i Project Director Mustafizur Rahman said a recent study found that hundreds of thousands of people may lose their jobs by installing technology during the 4IR.
“We conducted surveys of five sectors regarding the implementation of the 4IR, and found 20% of jobs in the tourism sector would be lost, amounting to about 600,000 jobs. Similarly, 35% of jobs in the leather sector, amounting to about 100,000 jobs, would also be lost,” he said.
Furthermore, 600,000 jobs in the agricultural sector and 1.4 million jobs in the furniture sector are also under threat due to the introduction of new technology in 4IR. The garment sector stands to lose 60% of jobs.
The majority of the jobs under threat are low-skilled in nature.
Mustafizur Rahman further said they are addressing challenges regarding 4IR through a Skill for Employment program, under which 262 girls have received jobs along with their certificates of completion.
DCCI President Osama Taseer, former president of ASOCIO Abdullah H Kafi, and Founding Managing Director of shohoz.com Maliha M Quadir also addressed the roundtable, with eGeneration Chairman Shameem Ahsan in chair.
eGeneration Director Musfique Ahmed and Asian Tiger Capital Chairman Ifty Islam presented the keynote papers.