High-speed internet, quality and demand-driven online contents are the call of time, experts say
Value added tax (VAT) and surcharges on internet usage need to be lowered to make e-learning accessible to all.
Also, the government will have to ensure the development of necessary infrastructure for digital learning including the availability of high-speed internet across the country.
And the startups, involved with the e-learning system, should get special incentives and access to finance.
Plus, demand-driven and vocational education will have to be scaled up through e-learning.
The speakers said this on Saturday at the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) seminar "E-learning."
The e-learning system has been growing fast in Bangladesh, but the pace of infrastructural development and cost of the internet have not been aligned with that, DCCI President Shams Mahmud said.
"The number of participants in Bangladesh's vocational education is still negligible. The government and private sector should work together to make e-learning and vocational education more accessible to all."
"Our industries need a competent workforce. We need to understand the demand. Our education curriculum should be synchronised with the local industries including the ones engaged in apparel, agriculture, construction, and automobile businesses," Shams said.
And contents of online education should be created in Bengali keeping up with the demand of local industries and businesses.
"We need to develop the infrastructure and elevate the quality of online contents. Also, low bandwidth in Bangladesh should be considered while creating such content. E-learning needs to be included in the National Education Policy, too," Shams said.
Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni said, "We will need a blend of e-learning and physical classroom in the post-Covid-19 Bangladesh."
"We have already decided to revise the Education Policy 2010. Also, we will have to focus on research and innovation at the university level."
About vocational education, Dipu Moni said, "Presently 17% of students are receiving vocational education and the number is growing."
University of Surrey Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Osama Khan said, for e-learning, access to resources – electronic libraries, high-quality books, virtual labs and journals – are the things that "we need first."
The lengthy online contents may interrupt students' concentration and they should not be more than 20-minute long.
A technologically enhanced social learning environment, the national policy development and resource allocation – as part of industrial strategy and industry-academia collaboration for workforce development – are needed for the growth of the e-learning system, Osama said.
"The University Grants Commission should develop a framework aligned with the industrial strategy."
National University Bangladesh Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Harun-or-Rashid said, "Online education system can accommodate more students with a blended teaching method."
Also, Harun-or-Rashid also focused on restructuring the educational system – lesson plans and contents.
Bangladesh Technical Education Board Chairman Dr Md Morad Hossain Mollah stressed on creating industry demand-driven curriculum.
The experts also called for ensuring proper training for the teachers and the students at the webinar.