Sheikh Russel Digital Lab (SRDL

With a vision to achieve the goals of Vision 2021 and Vision 2041 to become a developed country, the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DoICT) initiated the establishment of a Computer and Language Training Lab in educational institutions all over the country. The initiative is mended to extend ICT education all over the country for building up ICT skilled manpower.

Young Bangla, in collaboration with the government’s ICT Division, set up countrywide computer and language training labs called Sheikh Russel Digital Labs (SRDLs). The SRDLs are designed to develop information technology (IT) and foreign language skills among school students. Objectives of setting up SRDL were to develop ICT skills of the students, create self-employment opportunities for the local youth and to build ICT service providing local cyber hubs. These labs, equipped with laptops, printers, scanners, multimedia projectors, and 3G routers, are being used as multimedia classrooms, cyber centers, and training labs by the school authorities.

A total of 4,901 SRDLs are operational countrywide. Young Bangla has placed a coordinator for each lab. 2,800 volunteers are working in 3,000 SRDLs. 300,000 students received training through SRDLs by 2019. Young Bangla provided support to identify suitable volunteers for the roles of coordinators to maintain the overall activities of these labs. Each lab accommodates up to 16 students/trainees and an instructor.

The ICT Division under the Ministry of Post, Telecommunications and IT and Young Bangla, a youth-led platform of Centre for Research and Information (CRI) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 2nd October 2016, for imparting training to more than 2000 digital labs set up by Sheikh Russel Computer and Language Lab (SRCLL) in schools and colleges across the country.

According to the MoU, Young Bangla (YB), the youth platform of the CRI, will provide support in the form of identifying and entrusting suitable volunteers for the roles of coordinators and general members from across Bangladesh to monitor and maintain the overall activities of these labs.

Every district has received at least one digital language training lab where students can learn nine languages including –English, French, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Arabic and Chinese. These language labs will be equipped with language software and around 5,602 teachers have been recruited. A total of 2,801 computer labs, including 65 language training labs already established in high schools and madrasas across the country. 2,24,100 volunteers are engaged in these labs countrywide.

The labs with internet connections will also be used as multimedia classrooms, cyber centers and training labs by the school authorities as these labs will be equipped with laptops, printers, scanners, multimedia projectors, and 3G routers. Each lab can accommodate up to 16 students or trainees and an instructor. The young generation in turn is expected to be proficient in IT as well as foreign languages, leading to enhanced freelancing and outsourcing workforce of the country.

The National Children & Youth Programming Contest has been devised and is floated to make young minds interested in getting engaged in programming at the grassroots across the country. Sheikh Russel Digital Labs were selected in 64 districts as a venue for training and district-level contests during the contest. A comprehensive training started for the youngsters in Sheikh Russel Digital Labs countrywide. ICT teachers and SRDL lab coordinators were also an intrinsic part of the contest.