Bangladesh needs to formulate policies in advance to face the challenges of the impending fourth industrial revolution (4thIR), experts said yesterday.
The fourth industrial revolution is characterised by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres, collectively referred to as cyber-physical system.
“The existing industrial policies will not help, so the government needs to address the issue immediately,” said M Rokonuzzaman, professor of North South University's electrical and computer engineering department.
Rokonuzzaman's comments came at a seminar styled “Fourth Industrial revolution: Potentials for Bangladesh economy”, organised by the industries ministry at the capital's Bangabandhu International Conference Centre.
The government has to educate the 50 million students who are in job pipeline about the technological breakthroughs.
“The education system has to change.”
Although the numbers of jobs will shrink in the manufacturing sector, youths will get jobs in other sectors if they take preparation and build up their skill set anticipating the demands of future, he said. Technology is helping Bangladesh to move into the middle-income country bracket.
“Similarly advanced technology will help Bangladesh become a higher income country,” Rokonuzzaman added.
Sophisticated technology has already come to Bangladesh and a number of manufacturers are using nanotechnology in their factories, said Ferdaus Ara Begum, CEO of Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD).
“I believe jobs will never reduce. Rather, the advanced technology or 4thIR will create more jobs for high-skilled workers,” she said, while urging jobseekers to build up skills.
She also emphasised on the need for new policies centring on the 4thIR.
The industries ministry is preparing a policy considering the future needs, according to Md Abdul Halim, its secretary.
He went on to assure that the recommendations of the seminar would be considered while preparing the 4thIR-centric policy.
Nazneen Ahmed, senior research fellow of the Bangladesh Institution of Development Studies, made a presentation on the topic of the seminar. Salhuddin Mahmud, additional secretary of the industries ministry, chaired the seminar.