Honorable Minister of Education praises a2i for incentivizing innovation in education

May 10, 2016

On 10 May 2016, in the Karabi Hall of the Prime Minister’s Office, the Access to Information (a2i) Programme has organized a demonstration workshop for the education related innovative projects which have received funding from Service Innovation Fund and a meeting was held to discuss scaling up plans. The Honorable Minister of the Ministry of Education Mr. Nurul Islam Nahid attended the program as Chief Guest. The Secretary of the Ministry of Education Mr. Sohrab Hossain and the Secretary of the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education Mr. Md. Humayun Khalid were there as Special Guests. The grand program was chaired by the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister’s Office Mr. Md. Abul Kalam Azad.

It is mentionable here that the Service Innovation Fund is provided to encourage public offices, private sector organizations, and others to come up with innovative solutions which can ease service delivery to citizens by reducing time, cost, and visit required and improve the overall quality of public services. This year, a2i has received the “World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) Prize 2016” - the world’s most prestigious prize in the ICT sector – for four of its initiatives and two of those initiatives have come out through Service Innovation Fund. Created jointly by the Government of Bangladesh, UNDP, and USAID, this fund has been managed by the Prime Minister’s Office. Till now, a total of 90 projects have been funded in 6 rounds. From among the funded projects, 10 of those are related to education which have come from public offices, private sector organizations, NGOs, academic bodies, and individuals.

During the event, the innovators demonstrated the projects to the audience who went around the showcasing area. The Director General (Administration) of Prime Minister’s Office and the Project Director of a2i Programme Mr. Kabir Bin Anwar made the welcome address after which the Policy Advisor of a2i Programme Mr. Anir Chowdhury introduced everyone to the initiatives of a2i and Service Innovation Fund. The Director (Innovation) of a2i Programme Mr. Md. Mustafizur Rahman gave a brief description on each of the projects that have been showcased and asked for feedback from the heads of the offices under the ministries.

An open discussion session was held on how the ongoing pilots can be successfully completed and the completed pilots can be scaled up nationwide. The Honorable Minister congratulated the innovators for coming up with these innovative pilot projects and hoped that more such innovations would come up in the future. Based on the outcome of the discussion, he requested the concerned office heads and policymakers to provide all kinds of support for the successful implementation of the ongoing pilots and the launching and scaling up of the products that have come out from the pilots. The Honorable Minister finally said that more competitions and idea design, development and recognition initiatives need to be undertaken through which more creative ideas and innovative solutions can come up for important challenges to reducing the ‘education divide’ in Bangladesh.

During the program, it was mentioned that as part of its ongoing efforts of embedding innovation among the youth, the a2i Programme will soon organize an innovation competition involving female students from 12 universities. This competition is expected to bring forth innovative solutions to major problems affecting women and girls. The providers of the 12 best solutions will be invited to a 2-day bootcamp where they will try and convince officers from the public bodies and private sector organizations which are relevant to the particular solutions on why these solutions should be implemented and scaled up by those organizations. Shortly, a roundtable discussion would be held to identify the problems for which the competition will be seeking solutions for.

Among others, the grand program was attended by the heads and top level officials of all the institutions under the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education, officers of the Prime Minister’s Office and the a2i Programme, and representatives from different media agencies.

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