Saturday, 22 January, 2022

Old Natore jail turns to IT hub

A decades old jail in the district has turned into an IT hub as it plays key role in developing skilled human resources enriched with ICT knowledge to keep pace with technological changes looming in the global economy.

The jail has been transformed into a digital training center to pave the way of developing youths apt in technology in the district, officials familiar the ICT said.

Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority (BHTPA) sources said four buildings of the abandoned jail in district's Kandivita area have been renovated and modernized under the Sheikh Kamal IT Training and Incubation Center, Natore project.

Besides, a two-storey building with a six-storey foundation has also been constructed in the area and the building houses 10 incubation cells or rooms.

While visiting the digital training center, it was found that three training labs have been set up at a two-story building, having 25 computers at each lab while Lab-2 was set up at a room where male prisoners used to live and Lab-3 was installed at the then cell of female prisoners.

Two trainers give training three days in a week in the center while HSC- passed youths can take the training free of cost.

So far 850 youths have been imparted training from the incubation center while eight startup companies are operating their business from the center.

 Abu Sayed, a trainer at the digital training center, said they mainly impart training on web design and web development aimed at making the youths self-employed through freelancing.

But, considering the youths' inefficiency to deal with the clients in English language, he said, at first a six-month fundamental training on basic English and computers is given to the trainees.

Later, they (youths) are given training on developing web design and dynamic website, he added.

Managing Director of the incubation center Bikarna Kumar Ghosh said the Sheikh Kamal IT Training and Incubation Center is playing important role in creating freelancers through imparting IT related training and formulating need based courses.

The new building constructed in the incubation center is featured with a training room, a conference room and an office room, he said.

State Minister for ICT Division Zunaid Ahmed Palak said several hundred freelancers have been developed only in Singra upazila here in the last 20 months by providing training from the incubation center.

"We transformed the abandoned Natore jail, where I was also confined for seven days during the BNP-Jamaat government, into a modern training center, which has already created around 500 employment opportunities," he said.

 Apart from Sheikh Kamal IT Training and Incubation Center, the state minister said, "Construction works of eight more incubation centers nears completion. We will inaugurate those by 2021 (this year)."

Besides, construction works of 11 more incubation centers started on November 1, 2021 while 14 more are waiting to begin, Palak said, adding "We will complete the construction works of incubation centers in 64 districts by 2025".