The world is now divided into two. One part is affluent in information, the other poor in information. At present, the nation that does not have any way or knowledge to acquire information through Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) is poor. In past few years, there has also been a severe change in the definition of ‘literacy’. The citizen able to use or having access to Internet, computer, telephone, radio and other technologies, is a ‘digitally literate’ citizen, the ones unfamiliar to use or not having access to these are digitally illiterate. This new dimension of illiteracy has added up in our society in this age of ICTs. In the third world, specially in Bangladesh, there has emerged a regrettable distance rather than the expected proximity. This pitiable distance is called ‘Digital Divide’.
ICT in poverty alleviation
ICT provides a facility to communicate, resource information and the authority to communicate. Presently in Bangladesh for every thousand people there are only 1.5 computers, 4 telephone connections and 7 televisions. That means digital divide is not only limited between the first and third world but have spread between the cities and villages, between men and women of Bangladesh. In recent times the rapid flourishing of ICTs is playing a significant positive role in poverty alleviation. The increased possibility of acquiring and sharing information resulting from the expansion of ICT creates positive atmosphere for poverty reduction. So, today the biggest challenge that stands before us is how we will use ICTs as the greatest tool of poverty reduction in Bangladesh.
Amateur radio or Ham radio
A pre-eminent medium of ICT is ‘amateur’ or ‘ham radio’. Amateur radio is a science related hobby. People having this hobby are called ‘Ham’ or amateur radio holder. Hams have opportunities to attain plenty of skills in the attractive world of ICTs. Hams play a major role in national disasters, emergency medical treatment and other public services. A ham is devoted to be tolerant, honest, friendly and patriot. The authority of amateur radio can play a big role as part of ICTs in a country like Bangladesh because of the following: (a) a workforce skilled in electronics or technology can grow up without any extra investment through the expansion of amateur radio; (b) the skill of amateur radio holders in electronics and modern communication system can be used in nationally important aspects including poverty reduction; (c) the amateur radio holders can provide such important public services that are not possible by the government bodies in such a short time.
The individual skill, knowledge and experience of the amateur radio operator’s helps to make the nation confident and self-dependent and present the country to the world with respect. Bangladesh Government approved the introduction of amateur radio service for the first time in 1992. Ministry of Post and Telecommunication of Bangladesh works as the focal ministry for amateur radio through the T & T Board. The T & T Board used to provide license for General grade, or High Frequency through a level one examination. At present the number of license receiver is around 60