Words and Messages

Tailoring the future

Mahmudur Rahman | Update:

Information and communication technology minister Mostofa Jabber believes there’s a $7 billion export market that can be reached in the coming years. In terms of possibility that is a possible. It isn’t going to come by bravado of speeches, however. The market demand won’t remain the same given the speed with which technology is expanding fast making redundant much of the technology that Bangladesh is just beginning to embrace and get to grips with. The key lies in education systems in concert with these rapid changes.

It’s time to relook at education and introduce technology much sooner in order to adjust accordingly. Outsourcing was and is to an extent in demand over the past decade or so but with Artificial Intelligence thrusting its way forward, outsourcing is taking on a new dimension. The phenomenon comes with dangers of job losses as automation invariably does thereby putting further onus on focusing on labour intensive industries that can’t be automised too soon. The robotics utilised by car manufacturers still require human touch, though not to do the same work they once did. It’s more of a guidance role that if properly adapted to becomes more a boon than a bane.

The United Kingdom is furious that Nissan is taking its new XTrail production out of Sunderland and back to Japan causing non-creation of new jobs. That the Japanese are doing so out of concern for the uncertainty of Brexit appears to be a secondary issue. Robotics and new technology can help Bangladesh reduce a major import bill, that of reconditioned car imports by supporting Pragati to expand diversify its product range. There was a time when decent jeeps were assembled here and supplied to the market including the Armed Forces . Given their requirements as well as that of the local market it would be a good import substitution. Political will is required just as much as it is to complete digitisation of train tickets to outdo the blacker mafia. The new rail minister is seeking solutions that the ICT ministry can readily supply. If it works elsewhere it can work here. Part of the efficiency of digital tickets is the comfort of knowing that seats are available no matter the time of year and season.

That’s precisely why basic education must be focused on technology from an early stage with a closer link of life sciences to life and nature. It’s running experimentally in Norway. Bangladesh could be a good example of a pilot, at the very least. It basically involves remodelling the sciences along the lines of basic life, air, climate and nature itself and allows children to see and test for themselves theories that otherwise tend not to fire the imagination.

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