There is about 1 million workforce in the IT sector of Bangladesh. But such a workforce is not sufficient for the rapidly growing IT sector. Since the skills required for the IT sector are not taught in the traditional education system of Bangladesh, once several IT-related skill development institutes were formed for such skill development. However, EdTech platforms like Udemy, Masterclass, Coursera, and Skillshare for skill-based education have been trendy worldwide since the last decade. Although the rise of EdTech in Bangladesh started with academic studies, later, dedicated skill-based EdTech platforms like Programming Hero, Learn, Repto, and E-Learning began their operation. Many young people in Bangladesh now work as full-time IT experts or freelancers after taking courses at these institutes. This is because the lessons are easy to access, and the ways of learning are effective. But how are these platforms changing the IT industry of Bangladesh?
In 2021, according to a World Bank source, Bangladesh’s unemployment rate was 5.2%. On the other hand, university graduates make up 46% of the country’s total unemployment rate, which is growing yearly. Even though many of these unemployed adolescents have studied computer science-related subjects, the traditional curriculum in Bangladesh is primarily theoretical and places minimal focus on students’ talents. Also, there aren’t enough hackathons or competitions for skills at the university or national level, so many students don’t have the skills they need to get a job even after graduation. Individuals in this sector must have one or more skills to survive in the IT industry. Unfortunately, our traditional education system does not teach much of those skills. Even though the IT industry is one of the most promising sectors in Bangladesh, there are not enough skilled IT workers yet trained there.
Students used to take courses from institutes like Coders Trust, BITM (BASIS Institute of Technology & Management), Creative IT Institute, and UY Lab to improve their skills in different IT fields. However, most of these institutions for skill development are located in urban areas. In the meantime, about 61.62 percent of Bangladesh’s total population still lives in remote areas. At the beginning of the last decade, students from rural areas would come to Dhaka and pay a lot of money to enroll in courses at Skill Development Institutes in Dhanmondi and Farmgate. Also, coming to Dhaka and staying there cost them a lot of money. Again, going to physical classes in a busy city like Dhaka would waste both money and a lot of time for the students. A lot of people were also trying to switch jobs at that time and become freelancers. But many were forced to turn away because they could not maintain the class time schedule. Besides, the institutes were struggling to accommodate so many students in the batch, and it was getting hard for IT schools to keep track of each student’s progress. Due to such problems, many students won’t be able to finish the course later. Also, many institutions are also accused of not completing courses at the time. Above all, the biggest problem with IT institutes was that most students couldn’t start their careers after finishing the course because they didn’t have proper direction. As the IT field is constantly changing, people are always required to learn new skills continuously, which is impossible with the traditional way of teaching.
But as part of the digitization of the Bangladesh government, the government has so far taken several initiatives to develop the IT sector. Five parks have already been built, including Bangabandhu Hi-Tech City in Gazipur and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Hi-Tech Parks in Rajshahi and Sylhet. Three more parks are almost done being built. The government plans to build a total of 39 high-tech parks and software parks in Dhaka, Comilla, Jessore, Rajshahi, Khulna, Sylhet, and other places. In this scenario, analysts anticipate the ever-expanding industry will continue to expand more in the future. But for this growth to continue, Bangladesh needs a lot of IT experts. There is an opportunity for various IT institutions, and the country’s EdTech platforms to make a special contribution in creating so many skilled IT experts.
How EdTech Platforms Shaping IT Industry?
There are several significant issues in the online learning market in Bangladesh. These issues include huge resource availability on YouTube, and pirated platforms, which is responsible for the distraction of students. Due to this, most learners cannot maintain dedication and patience towards learning one particular topic. In addition, due to the availability of many unorganized free resources, students do not find the most compact of learning, so they give up at one stage. It is often seen that not all EdTech platforms can provide practical solutions to students’ problems. As a result, most EdTech platforms have arranged courses in the form of small lesson plans on apps and websites. Well-known EdTech platform “Programming Heroes,” offering web development-related courses, has modified its platform and made its course material more interactive and easy by adding small gaming portions on its website. About 11,000 students have completed the course so far from this programming-related EdTech platform.
Even a decade ago, students had to go to the city to do skill-based IT courses. But in the last few years, mobile internet has become accessible through 3G and 4G technology, and broadband internet has reached many districts and Upazilas of the country through the government’s development plans. As a result, students can enroll in various skill development courses according to their needs from anywhere in the country. In addition to online live classes, these platforms also publish pre-recorded videos on social media and their websites, keeping in mind the convenience of the students so that they can watch the classes again at any time offline. Furthermore, edTech platforms like Programming Hero also offer their mobile app users the opportunity to save tutorials offline and watch them later. By doing this, students can complete the courses at their preferred time. As a result, the burden of students to come to Dhaka and complete the course has been reduced. Also, it saves a lot of money and time.
Traditional training institutions usually offer graphic design and web development-related courses. In contrast, challenging courses like programming language were mostly limited to HTML, C, C ++, and Android application development. But since the edTech platforms teach students through video content, the platforms design simple courses that will be easy for everyone to understand. In addition, the platforms arrange courses according to the expertise level. These platforms provide android app development, higher-level programming language, popular frameworks training like Bootstrap, Redux, and other IT-related courses like blockchain and cryptocurrency.
In addition, if the course fees and other expenses are considered, then the country’s leading traditional training institutions used to charge 20,000 to 40,000 or more for the course. But now, in the Programming Hero platform, a complete web development course costs only 5500 BDT. The cost of such skill-based courses on most edTech platforms is less than half that of any traditional IT institutes used to charge. In addition, many edTech platforms offer free skill-based basic level crash courses.
EdTech platforms have taken the whole learning process to a personalized level. For example, each student must appear on the test exam after completing each course module. Then, according to their progress report, the course tutor finds out where the improvement is required and provides suggestions for the solution. Then, as the students take the course at their own pace, the platforms measure the students’ progress individually according to each student. Doing this has made the whole learning process faster and more efficient for the students. Moreover, after the students have completed the entire course, the edTech platforms also work on different job placements depending on their ability.
For example, ‘Programming Hero’ has a specialized team for the job placement of students under a Super Charged Interviewee Club program for students, made of students who complete the Programming Hero’s course module on time. Under this program, the platform holds a six-week training session, where students receive free interview training on the job market. Programming Hero also has partnerships with multiple companies, and it sends CVs of its SCIC program students to various organizations where students get job opportunities as interns or full-time developers. After completing courses from edTech platforms other than Programming Hero, many students have been able to find employment through freelancing and doing corporate jobs as full-time developers or IT experts.