In an effort to extend the benefits of internet to college and university students in Bangladesh, Google has launched “Google Bus” – an educational outreach programme targeting to reach around five lakh students across the country.
During the yearlong initiative, the Google Bus will travel to 480 colleges and universities at 35 locations and host workshops for students registering to participate.
The programme was launched at a ceremony at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre yesterday, where State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak said the initiative is a joint collaboration of Google and the Information Communication and Technology Division, while there are four more joint programmes in the pipeline.
The “Google Street View” – another popular feature of Google that provides panoramic views of city streets – would also be launched in Dhaka and Chittagong within the next two months, Palak added.
However, the state minister expressed disappointment at the low number of educational institutions willing to participate. Palak claimed that he himself wrote letters to 1,500 institutions urging them to participate in the programme; but only 480 colleges and universities expressed their willingness to join.
“People still consider internet as a negative thing, so the response was so little. The project will open the windows of the internet to the people,” he said.
The Google Bus has been retrofitted with stowaway seats, 3G internet connectivity and an array of monitors and sound system where audio-video training material can be displayed.
The Google Bus workshops will allow students to connect with their peers online and teach them about internet utilities and the tools offered by Google.
Speaking at the programme, James McClure, head of emerging markets at Google southeast Asia, said: “Equipped with the right training, we think this young, energetic and highly motivated section of society would be able to maximise the endless possibilities of the internet and create a connected, digital Bangladesh for the global village.”
Over the next few months, the bus will make its way to academic institutions in and around Chittagong, Khulna, Sylhet, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Barisal and other major cities, he added.
An instructor will lead the training session and peer collaboration to familiarise students with the many different Google tools including Google Search, Chrome, Docs, Maps, YouTube, Google+ and others. Each student will also have the opportunity to practice what they have learnt on an internet-enabled Android devices.
Source: Daily Star