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The role of government for the technological development in Bangladesh

Technology is the most influential factor in a wealth creation system. Wealth creation implies more than just money; it may encompass factors such as enhancement of knowledge, intellectual capital, effective exploitation of resources, preservation of the natural environment and other factors that may contribute to the well being of government imitations and non-profit organizations.

Research, innovation and development are essential components in technology creation and the enhancement of technological progress. Technology is the seed of the wealth creating system. With proper nourishment and good environment, a seed grows to become a healthy tree. Public policy provides the fertile land, environment and nourishment needed for growth. A three-pronged approach integrating economic, technology and trade systems can give the competitive advantages for the economic growth.

top-storyFigure: System integration for economic growth.

These three systems can be thought of as the three legs of a stool. Imbalance in any of the legs would create imbalance in the entire system. Effectively managing both the macro aspects and the micro aspects of these three systems is essential. For example, improving the macroeconomic indicators of a country without simultaneous improvement in the microeconomic factors leading to improvement in productivity will not lead to sustainable growth. The some holds true for technology systems and trade systems. Synergy between public policy and the private enterprise system have proved to be very successful in increasing the rate of progress.

The role of government in technological development and economic growth has varied widely based on political and economic ideology. There is no doubt the public policy can facilitate or hinder development effort. Government must formulate national strategy for technology creation, acquisition, absorption and dissemination throughout its productive sectors of the economy. The individual firm’s competitiveness depends on government-enacted rules and regulations in support of business development. These rules and regulations include private investment, tax incentives of technology, transparency of public institutions, government procurement policy, and encouragement of indigenous technologies, environmental regulations, and openness to the world information and trade practices.

Taking experience from the technological development of China and South Korea, the following three progressive phases of technology policies can be suggested for Bangladesh.

Phases 1: Development of an Infrastructure Base for Foreign Multinationals:

In this phase, the government should invest in public expenditures on information technology, energy supply and transportation infrastructure. Policies directed towards the creation of attractive investment regimes, including tax incentives, labor incentives, and regulatory investments, are important. Strong effort should be spent in the solicitation of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI).

Phase 2 : Building a National Domestic Economy through Foreign Technology Acquisition:

In this phase, public policy should be directed towards formulating appropriate strategies for technology acquisition and setting guidelines for technology transfer. It should also expand tax incentives for technology, provide incentives for use of domestic subcontractors and suppliers, and provide balanced policies for market access.

Phase 3 : Development of Indigenous R & D and Commercialization Capability:

In this phase, government funding of R & D can expand including funding of R & D in specific technology sectors. Strong investment in higher education and human resource development is needed. Investment in technology commercialization will also be needed.

In all cases, the formulation of a national technology strategy requires the involvement of well-informed experts and strong integration of all institutions involved in the development effort. Building partnership with multinational companies amongst local companies, between companies and universities, and between government, industry and academia facilitates the creation, acquisition and absorption of technology.

Educational Issues:

One of the most important elements of an organization is appropriate manpower. It requires a strategy for the acquisition, utilization, improvement and retention of human resources. It is a strategy that needs to be developed at the national level as well as at the organizational level. At the national level, it requires a strategy to prepare the population to meet the demands of organizations, society and an improved standard of living. Thus involves long term planning for schools and higher education, vocational education, plans for dropouts and training needs at the organizational level. It also includes the strategy to meet the needs of an organization in times of changes business environment, increasing complexity, changing technology, skill shortage, migration of work force, and obsolescence of the work force.

Depending on the above requirement, the following recommendations are made to improve the educations system:

1. Education should be free from political ideology.
2.Educational programs should provide knowledge base and emphasize learning how to learn.
3. Student evaluation methodology should be changed. Continues evaluation should be introduced.
4. Educational institutions should move away from memorization-based learning to a free thinking way of learning.
5. Enhancement of teachers training, removal of barriers to change, and restoring the dignity of the teaching profession through recognition and incentives should be carried out.
6.School administration should be improved. Management training for school administrators is important.
7. Educational institutions should more away from heavy curricula and stress quality rather than quantity.
8.New methods of delivery, including use of audiovisuals and new technology should be promoted.
9.Resources including library resources, access to the internet etc. should be enhanced.
10. Extra-curricular activates, including social activities, sports hobbies, etc. should be expanded.
11.Science and technology education should be emphasized.
12.Educational institutions should stress the importance of languages (English is the dominant language of the Internet).
13.Higher education should be linked with industrial needs and societal needs.
14.The entire educational system should be evaluated based on outcome.

General Policies, Rules and Regulations:  

Government’s role in promulgating and enforcing rules and regulations is critical to the success of development strategy. In this regard the following may be recommended.
1.Rules should be simplified and based on realistic expectations.
2.Government bureaucracy should be reduced.
3. Labor laws, export laws, tax laws and other regulations related to savings and investments should be revamped with the objective of promoting competitiveness.
4.Internal squabbles for national unity should be avoided.
5. Encouragement of family projects and local industry to create economic opportunities and to keep people from immigrating to large cities.
6.  Government support for R & D should be increased.
7.Effective strategies for technology transfer should be developed.

Technology has dominated every aspect of human endeavor. It is vital to economic development, to progress of society and to the improvement in the quality of life. Technological progress is essential for national and organizational competitiveness. Developing counties like Bangladesh should formulate strong public policy for the proper management of technology and that will create wealth for nations, companies, and individuals.

References:

1.National Research council, 1987. “Management of Technology : The Hidden Competitive Advantage”. NRC Press, Washington, DC.
2.The World Bank, 1999. The World Development Report ¾ Knowledge for Development. Oxford University Press, New York NY.
3.Berman, E. M., and Khalil, Tarek, 1992. “Technological Competitiveness in the Global Economy. A survey”. International Journal of Technology Management. Vol. 7. No. 415.

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