When Titas Sarker was a student of the Institute of Information Technlogy in Jahangir Nagar University, he faced a problem many students are perhaps familiar with. Pursuing certification courses to build his resume and learn certain skills required by IT professionals, he realised that all his course materials and training sessions conducted were in English. Like any other native Bangla speaker, the English language morphed into a barrier as more technical jargons came into frequent use. That is when he realised that there was a crucial gap here that needed to be filled. Thus was born the idea of a venture that would keep him busy right after his graduation.
To solve his immediate problem, Titas began to rewrite the course material in Bangla. His notebooks were soon full of translated texts, something he did back then to help himself learn faster and better. “One of my friends then suggested that I upload the Bangla content I created online so I could help others. I did and immediately received a lot of positive feedback,” Titas says, fondly recalling the humble beginnings of a venture that would force many educators to rethink their strategy in the years to come. Initially, Titas maintained a blog where he would upload his content, along with a few other research sites. However, for Titas, the reach just wasn't enough. He wanted to do a lot more. “While people could search the blog to find what was needed, they were still not arranged chronologically. I wanted the approach to be more user-friendly and so this led me to creating a website where I was able to design the interface and organise the content in an easily accessible manner,” he informs. This was not to be the end though.
While a System Administrator at Enosis Solutions, Titas founded a startup company called Tsoft and started the website TsoftIT in 2015. The main purpose of this site was to create educational content for the IT industry. Along with the text, Titas began making video tutorials in Bangla. Currently, the site hosts around 160 videos, all focusing on a particular skill mandatory in the IT sector. From setting up a wifi zone to more advanced materials, TsoftIT's main aim now is to make IT courses more affordable and accessible. “It is my desire to spread IT knowledge across Bangladesh. I want to make it affordable also. For this, I publish my materials online and in our mother language,” Titas says.
Titas recently also began hosting his videos on Youtube, where he currently boasts around 4000 subscribers with the numbers growing. He averages around 1000-2000 views but his most popular video has over 20,000 views. Expanding his horizons, Titas has branched out into teaching the basics of Microsoft Excel and ways of maximising the benefits of social media. Furthermore, he has designed material to aid individuals in their preparations for IELTs courses and even how to conduct oneself during job interviews.
“I took this initiative so people could learn mandatory courses from anywhere and for free. I am also currently taking workshops on such skill set development,” he says. “One very real challenge in our university is that while there is focus on IT courses, not much practical world applications of the knowledge learned is offered. I have brought together the required devices to teach these skills using a more hands-on approach. You can watch the video and learn but by
using our devices you can actually use those learnings in real world settings,” he adds.
While the material online is free for all to use, if one wishes to attend a class with TsoftIT, they are required to pay a small fee, depending on what they want to learn and how many courses they want to do. In his pursuit to spread the knowledge, Titas has not stopped with only urban-centric solutions. “In Dhaka, it is easy to go to any learning centre and get your desired courses. However, for those outside of Dhaka, this isn't so easy and even access to internet is hard to come by. Thus, I make video tutorials in DVD formats and have also compiled my notes into a book,” he says. The books and DVDs can be availed using both SA Paribahan and Sundarban courier services.
Titas' desire to spread IT knowledge across the country is slowly coming to fruition. He doesn't work for acknowledgement or money. He does it because he knows that IT is a booming sector and such a sector should always welcome positive changes. In that aspect, he is only, but importantly, a changemaker, paving a path that many others can follow.
For more information, visit www.tsofit.com