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STRENGTHENING ICT ECOSYSTEM IN BANGLADESH THROUGH COLLABORATION & PARTNERSHIPS

This is the month of February, a special month which carries so much significance from different perspectives. It is a month full of occasions- especially International Mother Language Day on 21st February. And, for all those who are engaged and contributing in FINTECH, this month carries further significance with the birthday of FINTECH.

Just from a reader perspective, if we look back into the 2 years journey of FINTECH so far; the most striking part appears as its content collection; by now which probably has become the most enriched, versatile and impactful records regarding ICT and related industries in Bangladesh. Consequent advancement of ICT in Bangladesh during last 24 months can well be reflected in corresponding monthly editions of FINTECH. Importantly, FITNECH has been approaching almost every corner of this domain, resulting in a holistic view.

Here comes an important aspect, putting proper emphasis on all sides of the ICT sector.  In comparison with any other industry, ICT industry is uniquely differentiable considering wide-scale and massive interrelation that is required within the industry players; both locally and globally. This is quite beneficial in multiple perspectives, like: facilitating growth opportunities for majority of the ecosystem and maintaining certain standard of product-services in global bench-marking.

The question is how much effective and scalable interaction is taking place across our ecosystem in this regard. Again, it highly varies from zone to zone. Collaboration & partnerships, which are crucial for business survival, will always remain.  But understanding the real strength, potential, capability of partners and driving those for positive outcomes can be the game-changing part.

The scenario of industry-academia collaboration, a topic which has been discussed extensively here before, can be a good example in this regard.  The importance of such collaboration is quite well recognized in all concerned ends. Specially, the “Strategic Plan for Higher Education in Bangladesh : 2018- 2030” published by  University Grants Commission of Bangladesh in July 2018; specifically emphasizes this part from multiple perspectives. As mentioned there:

“Establishing University-Industry Collaboration: Knowledge creation is the main role of a university as traditionally understood. To play the role, teachers and students should continuously be involved in research activities. Globalization and ICT Revolution however, have now changed the traditional role of the university. Under the changed circumstances,besides knowledge creation, universities should aim at market specialized knowledge for generating funds….For ensuring a combination of private and public funds:

  • The government may initiate projects like HEQEP to fund overhead costs of research
  • Universities should generate funds though university-industry research collaboration. The collaborations will include formal activities such as collaborative research, contract research, and consulting, as well as informal activities like providing ad hoc advice and networking with practitioners. The outcome of the research- be it a product, technology, innovation, service or IP-should be owned by the university and commercialized by setting up startup companies, or through joint venture with industry to generate funds. This process has been called building “innovative ecosystem
  • Financial incentives will be given to faculty members for publishing (or presenting) research output in high quality international journals (or international conferences)”

[Page 62, Chapter 5,“Strategic Plan for Higher Education in Bangladesh : 2018- 2030”].

The crucial role of industry-academia collaboration for achieving ICT parity has also been mentioned in details in the report. Now the question is- how to formulate SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-bound) actions plans to achieve these goals?  The very first thing that need to be done is to reduce the communication gap between industry and academia ends (traditionally which is quite prevalent in our country) and facilitating some schemes to ensure their full phase open communication. That will be real test of collaboration and partnership, where an established and successful platform like FINTECH can play a brilliant role.    (To be continued).

 

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