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Digitalized education system starts bringing in great fruit

DHAKA, Feb 10, 2017 (BSS) - Setting up multimedia classrooms, training teachers to create digital content, converting all available textbooks into e-books and publishing public exam results online are some of the significant steps of the government in making the education system digital.

From its beginning in May 20, 2012, with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina launching the multimedia classrooms at 1,000 schools, the initiative has started bringing in phenomenal improvement towards ensuring quality education.

"A total of 23,331 secondary and higher secondary schools and 10,000 primary schools now have multimedia classrooms, where nearly 1 lakh 67 thousand trained teachers provides high quality education to around 10 million students," said Faruque Ahmed, e-Learning Specialist of Access to Information (a2i).

The a2i of the Prime Minister's Office designed the programme to make teaching and learning more effective, interactive and enjoyable for both students and teachers.

It has followed a 3-pronged approach to remodel education - establishing multimedia classrooms in secondary schools, training teachers on creating digital content and making electronic versions of text books available in primary and secondary levels, including technical, vocational and Madrasa institutions.

The a2i has also introduced multimedia classrooms using one laptop with internet connection and a multimedia projector, making the initiative much cheaper than a full-fledged computer lab.

Faruque, also the acting team head of the education wing at a2i, said that students of around 5,500 madrasas are now enjoying multimedia classroom facility.

"We hope more schools and madrasas would develop multimedia classroom by themselves. If a school develops one multimedia classroom at their own initiative, the government will provide help setup two multimedia classrooms in rural area and one in urban area," he said.

He urged well-off people particularly the former students of the schools concerned to join the initiatives for expediting the digitalizing process for ending disparity in education.

"Good teachers hardly want to go to the remote areas, resulting in a lack of quality education in those areas, but things have started to change," said Naimuzzaman Bhuiyan, local development specialist and team head of communications and partnership wing of a2i.

He said that now a student in Panchagarh is getting the same education as the ones sitting in a famous school in the capital city as the teachers are getting the similar digital content from the Teachers' Portal - a platform for necessary digital contents for primary, secondary and higher secondary teachers.

Teachers of general, vocational and madrassa can be members of this portal and they are allowed to develop and upload digital contents as it is a collaboration and co-creation platform for ensuring quality digital educational.

The National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) partnered with a2i, has made e-version of all the text books of primary and secondary levels and uploaded those to on a website (http://www.ebook.gov.bd).

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on April 24, 2011, launched the current version of the e-book. Students, guardians, teachers, researchers and anyone can read the e-books on the site from anywhere and can even download for later use. Anyone can read those e-books on their desktop, laptop or tablet computers, e-book readers or mobile phones.

Mahmudul Hasan's daughter Nafisa is a student of class-eight in Bangladesh International School in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and found the e-book very handy in helping his daughter preparing her home work.

"It is a great decision and all the expatriate students and their parents like us are immensely benefitting from the facility," Hasan said.

The government has also taken different projects to bring the differently disabled children to the mainstream of the society. One such project is to distribute multimedia players containing multimedia digital talking books to schools for their visually impaired students.

Invented by Vashkar Bhattacharjee, a visually impaired person himself, is now working as the national consultant of web accessibility. Any students with access to computers, tablets or android operated phones can play this software, listen or read for free.

According to a2i, there are 2.5 lakh visually challenged people in this country, many of whom are studying at different educational institutes.

"We have already converted all text books up to grade 10 to multimedia talking books," said a2i policy adviser Anir Chowdhury.

Director GENERAL of Department of Social Services (DSS) Gazi Md Nurul Kabir said, multimedia talking book will play a vital role in our efforts to help settle visually impaired students in the mainstream of the society

From 2009, people are getting results of exams like SSC, HSC, JSC and PSC in their mobile phones through SMS. From 2010, they are getting it online, leaving the days far behind when people used to stand in long lines, only to have a glimpse at the result of their loved ones.

Since, 2009, people are also being able to apply for admission in 32 public universities and 400 colleges.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)