Popular online encyclopaedia 'Wikipedia' plans to develop more Bangla language content for the benefit of education, health and many other sectors of Bangladesh.
“Wikipedia was created so that every single person on the planet can have free access to the sum of all human knowledge. We must grab every opportunity to take down any barrier to accessing knowledge, whatever that might be, such as affordability, language or creating content that people need,” Jimmy Wales, cofounder of Wikipedia, said yesterday at a panel discussion organised by Grameenphone at Radisson hotel.
Wales, who was in the country to celebrate ten years of Bangla Wikipedia, said, at present there are 34,000 Bangla articles on the website but he hopes the number would reach 340,000 in the next decade.
The past ten years have seen such great content created on Bangla Wikipedia, which has become a vital resource for relevant and valuable information for the people of Bangladesh, Munir Hasan, Wikimedia Bangladesh representative, said. “Our mission is to grow this content, and we are delighted to work with Grameenphone, encouraging thousands of young people to become Wikipedians and create thousands of new articles.”
The Bangladesh government has already developed 17 lakh local contents or articles for its web portal, said Afzal Hossain Sarwar, policy expert of the Access to Information (A2I) programme of the Prime Minister's Office.
If the Wikipedia authority agrees to link the Bangla contents, people will get access to all those with a single click, he said.
Early in the morning at another event, Allan Bonke, chief marketing officer of Grameenphone, said: “To increase the number of internet users, we need to not only work on the development of relevant content, but learn to provide this content in the language that makes sense to the majority of the people in the country.”
At the event, winners of a content development competition were awarded. The top three winners were presented a MacBook Pro, an HP Laptop and an iPad Air respectively.
As part of the joint competition, representatives from Grameenphone and Wikimedia Bangladesh visited seven regions and ran sessions for students, providing practical guidance on how to edit Wikipedia and inspiring them to edit Wikipedia.
In all, 400 students participated in the competition, of which 21 from seven regions were recognised at the gala event.