Robi, the second largest mobile phone operator in the country, is due to provide internet facilities to public and private university students at prices 60% lower than the existing ones.
Robi and the University Grants Commission (UGC) authorities signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in this regard at UGC's Agargaon office in the capital on Sunday.
According to the MoU, university students will be able to buy month-long 30 GB internet packages for Tk220. The price of the same package for general people is Tk500.
Previously, on 12 November, Grameenphone, the country's largest digital service provider, signed a similar MoU with UGC for the same purpose.
UGC sources said Robi will facilitate university students' access to: their virtual classrooms through Zoom (via BdREN), Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Gmail, Google Search Engine, and local university sites.
Moreover, universities will also have access to broadcasting solutions, SMS and voice broadcast, to reach their students centrally. University authorities would be provided with a centralised control panel to manage the SIM and data packs for their student base.
UGC Chairman Professor Kazi Shahidullah said digital devices and data are the primary requirements for online academic activities. He hopes that the problem will be solved soon with the help of mobile operators.
Managing Director and CEO of Robi Mahtab Uddin Ahmed said Robi is committed to providing internet facilities for online education to build a new generation.
UGC members Professor Dr Dil Afroza Begum, Professor Dr Md Sazzad Hossain, Professor Md Alamgir, Professor Biswajit Chanda and Professor Md Abu Taher, Robi's Cluster Market Director Muhammad Mehedi Hasan, Executive Vice President Md Mahbubul Alam Bhuiyan, Vice President (Enterprise Business) Abul Kalam Mohammad Nazmul Islam, and General Manager (Enterprise Business) Mohammad Monerul Islam, among others, were present at the MoU signing event.
Robi sources said prior to signing the MoU with UGC, 12 leading public and private universities – including BUET, CUET, Chittagong University, Jagannath University, and a number of private universities – had already signed agreements with Robi to avail the data pack offer.
They said around 75,000 teachers and students across the country are already benefiting from this offer. "Signing this MoU with UGC makes it easier for the rest of the country's universities to avail the same opportunity," they added.
Robi officials said the company created the country's largest online school, Robi-10 Minute School, which was the primary source of quality education for millions of students of the country during the pandemic.
Robi-10 Minute School made its studios available for the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education, Class 6- 10, to shoot their educational content that was broadcast on BTV. Thus, the school became an integral part of the national initiative for online education during the pandemic, the officials added.