Published:  01:03 AM, 12 November 2017

Lack of ICT skills among government employees

Lack of ICT skills among government employees

It's a highly appreciable thing that Bangladesh government has been materializing drastic endeavors to enhance digital connectivity all over the country and working hard to upgrade the digital skills among the country's people living both in urban and rural areas.

Computers, laptops, tabs and android phones have reached people's hands across Bangladesh which has massively enabled digital communications to become smoother and wider at both individual and collective levels. Now people in most cases don't have to queue up in banks and post offices as exchanging money from any corner of the country have become a task of just several minutes through online banking and mobile transaction systems. Now we don't have to send letters to nearest and dearest ones and don't have to wait for a reply for weeks because people are at present able to communicate with each other over cell phones everyday repeatedly.

Despite the expansion of technologies and sophisticated devices still there are lots of people in our country who don't have enough proficiency with information and communication technology (ICT). Particularly, it has been observed for a long time that the young people of the current era spend a great deal of time on playing games, hearing music and browsing social networks on their cell phones but they don't dedicate much time or efforts for improving their ICT skills. In this context ICT skills refer to the capability to use computers or laptops for composing letters, articles, reports, curriculum vitae etc.

I have personally met a lot of young people whose inefficiency in computing has shocked and surprised me while their speed at playing computer games is quite high. Computer games are entertaining things and such entertainment is sometimes acceptable unless it becomes something like an addiction. But being able to type on computers in English and Bengali is much more essential than video games or play stations. Parents at homes across Bangladesh should be cautious about this point.

They should not allow their children to do useless things on computers and cell phones continuously. Rather parents should persuade their kids to boost their skills to use computers and laptops for necessary things which are indispensable in the corporate arena. At present many boys and girls are not finding good jobs in the private sector of Bangladesh due to their poor performance at ICT and English language.

Another important angle in this connection is that ICT skills among the government officials of Bangladesh are not at all satisfactory. Most of the government offices in Bangladesh still fully depend on files and paperwork which are blamed for bureaucratic entanglements by many people. Exchanging emails, browsing internet and doing other things digitally are still not so widely practiced by the government employees in our country.

I believe most of the readers would agree with me over this observation. But it goes without saying that making our government officials competent at computing and online activities will expedite the work of government offices and it will definitely save a lot of time playing substantial roles for establishing transparency and broadening professional dynamism.

A few days ago I requested a particular ministry for a paper which was very necessary for one of my official purposes. I urged an officer of that ministry to scan that paper and send it to me by email which would save my time and would save his time too.

But he said he cannot send it to me by email. Rather he asked me to visit him at his office to get the paper. If he was kind or proficient enough to email the paper to me that would have taken just one or two minutes. But instead of doing so he compelled me to go all the way to his office to receive that paper which took a couple of hours and it was also toilsome for me physically.

I felt very annoyed to think in this era a first class government officer is not able to send emails. It is unbelievably absurd but true. For this reason training up government officials with required ICT lessons is very important to bring about pace and precision in the state's functionalities and to provide appropriate services to the country's citizens.

Government employees without adequate knowledge on computers, internet and emails are like square pegs in round holes because they do not fit in with the ongoing technological trends which have revolutionized people's lifestyle at homes and offices in every part of the globe including Bangladesh.

Dictations to government employees should be delivered from the higher authorities to utilize information technology to stop wastage of time and to save people from unwanted hassles.  The level of ICT skills among government officials should be made a yardstick for their promotions by the government so that employees in public offices work spontaneously to uplift their competency with computers, emails, laptops and other technological appliances.

In this era of technological miracles it is the most unprofessional thing for an educated employee not to have required aptitude for digital communications.

The writer is a columnist for The Asian Age

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