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Linking Young Minds Together
     Volume 2 Issue 145 | November 22 , 2009|


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"Ovijaan" crosses Bogra, Rajshahi and Nilphamari

Amina Najeeba Khan

"THROUGH the internet, we hope to be able to stay at home and learn about the world at large, and better increase our knowledge about it," such was the dream of Md Mizanur Rahman, of Bogra. Many others, present at the Ovijaan Advocacy meeting, were of the same opinion. This shows us that today's youths want a better Bangladesh and they are aware that they need to proceed in step with other developed and developing countries to make that dream come true. It requires not only new and improved technologies but easier access to those technologies.

Keeping exactly that in mind, Nokia, the world leader in mobiles, has taken the initiative to start two mobile internet cafes, the Ovijaan buses. For the last one month, since its launching, the Ovijaan bus has covered a number of districts, giving students and residents alike the hope of a better, new and improved Bangladesh. One that will be able to face its competitors with pride.

"The Ovijaan Bus has presented some of us with the opportunity to use the internet for the very first time," said Nusrat Sultana. The Bogra students were ecstatic at the opportunity they were given. Some of them had never really had a taste of the internet before and, for them, it was a rollercoaster ride of knowledge. For those who were not quite inexperienced, they were simply ecstatic at the opportunity to, as one of the students exclaimed, 'experience the first mobile internet café in Bangladesh!'

At the advocacy meeting, the students shared their opinions, ideas and dreams. They each spoke about their opinion of the Ovijaan bus and also about what they thought its role would be in taking Bangladesh towards its goal of a digital Bangladesh.

The advocacy meeting held in Bogra began with the conductor trying to lighten the mood and get the students to respond to him. When asked about the first thing that came to their minds with the mention of the phrase 'Digital Bangladesh', almost all answered "the internet". Sumaiya Tasreen, a student of Bogra Girls High School said, "The first thing that comes to my mind at the mention of the words Digital Bangladesh is, the right knowledge about the internet, computer education and establishing ourselves as a developed country in today's competitive world."

There are vast uses for internet. As Atik, a student of Rajshahi pointed out, "Development can only be made by securing ourselves in the job market. The fastest way to hear about job opportunities is the internet. With its help we can stay updated about our surroundings."

The most notable factor of the session was that most of the students were unaware and did not really have an idea about email accounts or how to use them. When the conductor explained to them what it was, Afsana Khatun remarked, one of the students present, "it's like having our own identity in the world of the internet."

At the session at Nilphamari, when asked what was needed to make Digital Bangladesh happen, Md Asaduzzaman Akib, a student of the high school there, said, "We have to further expand the communication highway. We have to develop information and communication technology before we can really call ourselves a digital nation."

In Rajshahi, while some thought that 'Digital Bangladesh' was about development of Bangladesh, others claimed that it simply reminded them of the present government. As Ivy, a student of grade 10 pointed out, 'Digital Bangladesh is about increasing the use of technology in every walk of life.'

One rather interesting observation by Shagor, a student of Rajshahi was, "Nowadays, you see even rickshaw-pullers using mobile phones; when Digital Bangladesh happens, you'll see them using the internet; that's what I think of first at the mention of Digital Bangladesh."

Development in the education sector, use of the internet in every household - this was the opinion of the students present in Bogra, Rajshahi and Nilphamari of Digital Bangladesh. The advocacy meetings held at these places showed what the future of Bangladesh really thought about the internet and about 'Digital Bangladesh'. It also gave us an insight as to how much we have to achieve before we can call ourselves a digital nation. It showed what the dreams and aspirations of the future of Bangladesh are and what they thought were the barriers to achieving those dreams. As many of them pointed out, the lack of access to the internet was probably one of the main contributing factors. These advocacy meetings were held by Nokia during their trips to the various districts and gave an insight as to what we need to do to take us one step further in creating Digital Bangladesh.


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