Enhanced technology skills can ensure global peace and stability says Aziz Ahmad at a discussion in UNHQ

News Desk, Barta24.com
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"We need to embrace all technology advancements with a clear understanding on digital good and digital bad and address the digital divide by reducing gaps in the society at large."

Aziz Ahmad, a renowned technology innovator, entrepreneur, and speaker said on Thursday at a seminar on "Data Collection and Distribution Process as Enablers for the Exercise of Human Rights" held at United Nations Headquarters in New York oroganized by the UN University for Peace as a side event in observance of World Press Freedom Day 2023.

Peace and prosperity can be ensured by enhancing the technology skills among the youths so that they can become the resources instead of becoming the burden of the society, Mr Ahmad underscored.

The Bangladeshi- American technology investor, Chairman of CodersTrust and CEO of UTC Associates, Aziz Ahmad joined the discussion with Jayashri Wyatt, Chief of the Education Outreach Section, Outreach Division, Department of Global Communications, United Nations, Amy Larsen, Director, Strategy and Management at Democracy Forward, Microsoft, Dr. Chris Wiggins, Chief Data Scientist, NY Times and Professor at the Data Science Institute, Columbia University and Dr. Mona Sloane, Senior Research Scientist & Associate Professor, NYU Center for Responsible AI as the panelists.

Renowned UN diplomat and communication expert Ramu Damodaran moderated the seminar while Juan Carlos Sainz Borgo, Vice President of University for Peace was in the chair.

Spread of hate speech, privacy violation in the name of technology advancement are happening, the speakers exphasized their concerns.

"I think we should embrace the technology innovation over innovation but need to ensure a balance in terms of freedom of speech and access to information and see how we can come up with the policy to address the bad elements and bad actors like hackers, even the country sponsored hackers, in the arena of digital technology," Aziz Ahmad said in his discussion.

In the wake of severe underemployment, unemployment across the Globe, Mr Ahmad founded CodersTrust to provide relevant skill sets amongst the the youths so that they can earn from the Global market from anywhere they live, he informed the seminar.

The seminar lauded Aziz Ahmad for the incredible work of his organization, CodersTrust.

Mr. Ahmad shared his experience as a Lead Architect of AT&T once for its 21st Century Network and said some of those technologies still remain while some are now gone from the face of the earth. Sixty five percent of today's elementary school goers, their skill sets, their jobs don't exist now. Forty five percent of our workforce today need to be re-skilled and up-skilled to stay relevant as a workforce. How we address that as a compliance we need to know and that will bring the peace and prosperity, Aziz Ahmad underscored.

AI and automation are diversifying quickly, but billions of people still do not have the access, they are not generating any data, so how to make the approaches more inclusive embracing digital good and avoiding digital bad is a challange, he added.

Hate speech or propaganda we can not limit but we can think about some kind of regulation over it by being careful about freedom of speech keeping digital good in consideration, said Aziz Ahmad.

A very loose framework can be initiated where we can balance our innovations with ethics and compliance bringing rich and poor, men and women and different genders, our conscious, sub conscious thoughts to mitigate the challenges of uncertain future, Mr Ahmad suggested.


Molestation in Bangladesh Agricultural University, Proctorial Body resigns

BAU Correspondent, Barta24.com, Mymenshing
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First year students of Animal Husbandry Faculty protested demanding justice in the case of molestation of a female student in Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU). They started the procession from the main gate of the Faculty of Animal Husbandry around 10:30 am on Sunday (February 11).

The procession circumambulated the student hall of the university, the central library and the Veterinary Faculty-adjacent road and ended at the office of the Dean of the faculty of Animal Husbandry.

At the end of the procession, the agitating students locked the administrative building of the University demanding justice. Later students opened the lock around 1 o'clock and held a meeting with the Vice-Chancellor.

Meanwhile, during the procession, the agitating students abused the members of the proctorial body, alleging that all of the proctorial body resigned, the proctor said.

But the VC said that there has been a little misunderstanding between the proctor and the students. It will be resolved. They will join again.

Last Saturday (February 10) at noon, a female Animal Husbandry student was molested by an unidentified CNG-driven auto-rickshaw driver on the road adjacent to the residential area of Bangladesh Atomic Agriculture Research Institute (BINA) of the university.

The students protested for a total of four points including the trial of the incident. Other demands are banning of auto-rickshaws from all over the campus except on designated traffic roads, prescribed code of rickshaws and dress code for drivers, speedy strengthening of security on farm roads inside the university.

Proctor Prof. Azharul Islam alleged that the agitating students shouted slogans abusing the members of the Proctoral body during the protest march.

He said, "During the agitation, the students attacked the teachers personally and abused them. Where teachers are not respected, we cannot work. We, the members of the proctorial body (proctor and assistant proctors) have submitted their resignations to the proctorial office.

The agitating students said that their slogans were, 'Why is my sister assaulted, the administration wants answers', 'When will the stupid administration move?', 'There is CCTV, no footage, 'Why are there outsiders in the campus?' They raised their voice through slogans. They did not abuse or disrespect the teachers.

When asked about this, Vice-Chancellor Professor Emdadul Haque Chowdhury said, 'The demands of the students are logical. Common numbering will be provided at university entrances to strengthen connectivity with security personnel. Security will be strengthened on farm roads from today. He talked to the Superintendent of Police for proper prosecution of the incident of molestation.

Regarding the resignation of the proctorial body, the Vice-Chancellor said, "There has been a misunderstanding between the proctor and the students." The issue is being resolved. Everything will be fine in a day or two. The proctors will rejoin.' 


Torch procession for 5-point demand in JU

JU Correspondent, Barta24.com, Savar(Dhaka)
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The teachers-students of Jahangirnagar University (JU) held a 5-point torch procession demanding that the accused be given speedy trial in the case of gang-rape of the housewife while the husband was detained recently, the trial of oppressor teacher Mahmudur Rahman Jony be settled and non-students be evicted from the common room and accommodation of regular students should be ensured.

On Sunday (February 11) evening, under the banner of 'Anti-oppression stage', the torch procession started from the foot of Shaheed Minar of the University, went around Bangabandhu Hall, Battala, New Administrative Building, Transport Square and various important roads of the University and ended with a short rally in front of the Vice-Chancellor's residence. .

At this time, the students took a position in front of the Vice Chancellor's residence demanding to accept their 5 point demands. At one point, on the fifth day of the ongoing movement, the university vice-chancellor and other important officials of the administration confronted the agitators.

The other demands of the protesting students were that the trial of the oppressor teacher Mahmudur Rahman Jony should be settled, the crimes of the proctor and Mir Mosharraf Hossain Hall provost who assisted the oppressors should be investigated and for the sake of fair investigation, they should be exempted from administrative posts during the investigation and those involved in the drug syndicate should be identified and declared uninvited from the campus. Take legal action against them.

Sohagi Samia, a student of Drama and Theater department, organizer of Samajtantrik Chhatrafront, said, "University teacher Mahmudur Rahman Jony is accused of sexual harassment. But, he has not been tried till date by the University administration and State administration are walking hand in hand. Like the state, the democratic environment in universities is also being destroyed JUCSU election has not yet been held in the University, many incidents like oppression and misdeeds have not been tried.

ARK Russell said, "We gave a five-day ultimatum for the abolition of public rooms. The administration has harassed common students in the name of abolition of common room. Hall administration did not go to the rooms of these illegal students who are under political umbrella.

Professor Jamal Uddin of Environmental Science department of the University, said in the gathering that the University has reached this stage due to the injustice of the events organized in the past, "The VC said that he will take a specific step against the accused in the rape case and to evict the students staying in the residential hall. The students were supposed to be expelled from the hall within five working days, but that deadline has passed today. We have come to know that no effective action has been taken in this regard. According to Intelligence Agencies and RAB, this university has become a drug arena.

This trade has been going on for a long time. Even after such a heinous incident of University rape, the university and hall administration is inactive and the proctor and provost of the university remain on alert. If this is the case, we are worried whether the parents will send their children to this university in the upcoming admission test. I believe every teacher in the university wants to change this situation. But where is the problem of the administration?

Meanwhile, on the fifth day of the ongoing movement, the agitators were confronted by the university's vice-chancellor Professor Nurul Alam and important officials of the administration. When the protesting teachers-students were assured of meeting their demands, the protesting students got involved in an argument with the Vice-Chancellor as they were unable to evacuate the non-students from the residential hall within the five-day period set by the syndicate, as well as abolishing the public room and keeping the mini-public room open.

Apart from this, when the agitators asked about the list of non-students staying in the residential hall, the administrative teachers present along with the VC expressed their inability to provide it and asked for two to three more days.

At one point, Parveen Jolly announced a symbolic blockade program for the next two days on behalf of the organizers of the anti-oppression stage, highlighting the incompetence of the administration. Apart from this, if the administration does not accept the demand, she called for a one-point movement to protest the failure of the administration from February 15.


Education Minister hints at affiliation of government colleges with universities

Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com
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Education Minister Mahibul Hasan Chowdhury Naufel said why are the new universities that are being established, starting undergraduate courses at the beginning? The university should monitor the undergraduate courses of the government colleges in the respective areas. Undergraduate courses of the college will be monitored and postgraduate courses will be launched separately by the university. Start-up times are challenging for new universities. From there we will develop resources with a full setup.

He said these things during an exchange of views with the Bangladesh University Council at the International Mother Language Institute at Segunbagicha in the capital on Monday (January 15).

The Education Minister said that in 2014, the Prime Minister ordered all the colleges or centenary colleges under the respective universities to ensure academic monitoring. She advised the Vice-Chancellors of all public universities to take action in this regard.

Naufel said Open University is doing academic monitoring of non-formal education across the country. So why Chattogram University cannot do academic monitoring work of Chattogram College? He used to do it once. If the capacity was there before, now the system is supposed to increase. Prime Minister herself has included seven colleges with Dhaka University. We are overcoming the challenges there. Students blocked the road but we did not budge. Now the standards of seven colleges have improved.

The minister said, if Dhaka University can monitor academic standards, why can't other universities do it? He indicated that if the law needs to be amended in these cases, the ministry will do so.

Highlighting the directives of the Prime Minister, the Education Minister said that the universities that have been established at the district level, the government colleges in those districts; their academic monitoring will be done by the concerned university.


5G will come after elections

Ishtiaq Hussaien, Special Correspondent, Barta24.com
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The high-speed 5G service was supposed to be launched in the country next month. Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) had also auctioned airwaves with plans to launch this service in December this year. But everything is uncertain now. Those concerned say that the commercial activities of 5G services will be launched after the elections.

In December 2021, 5G was launched experimentally through Teletalk at 6 places including Jatiyo Sangsad, Secretariat came under this facility. Earlier, in the auction held in March last year, mobile operators bought 190 MHz waves by spending Tk 10 thousand crore.

Currently 3G and 4G services are available in the country. 3G was launched in 2013 and 4G services were launched in 2018. South Korea launched the first 5G service in the world in 2019.

It has been found that even a month before the launch of 5G, the operators have not yet received any related license. It was said that BTRC will issue a unified license for this. And the operators have not yet received this license. So it was not possible to prepare from their side.

Shahed Alam, Chief Corporate and Regulatory Officer of Robi Aziata Limited, told Barta24.com that they are fully prepared to provide fast 5G connectivity. There are no barriers to rolling out 5G, but it requires a lot of investment. A huge amount of software and other equipment has to be imported in foreign currency.

"At the start of 5G, we need to change our ecosystem, the towers will need a lot of power, the transmission network to reach remote areas and active sharing will be important. Where the networks are needed, how much the customers will benefit from the 5G service or how the demand will be, preparations are being taken seriously,' he added.

Those concerned said that while the minimum speed in 4G is 7 Mbps, the speed of 5G is 20 Mbps. It will be used in the industry, not at the individual level. In this case, the government could not finalize the specific sector. And it is not possible for the operators to start working with this service until this sector is finalized.

Experts in the telecommunication sector said that an investment of Tk 20 to 25 thousand crores will be required to launch 5G. No operator took the risk of investment as the business field was not finalized. The operators will finalize the investment plan after getting the unified license.

Although by now all the operators have completed 5G trials in the divisional cities including Dhaka. But Telecom Minister Mustafa Jabbar himself has no concrete explanation for the non-launch of 5G in December. He told the media that they are waiting. Commercial activities of 5G will be launched after the elections.