BSS, Dhaka : The government is going to launch the second phase Learning and Earning Programme (LEP) at upazilas to create 55,000 freelancers at the grassroots level in the middle of February, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Secretary N I Khan said. Talking to BSS, he said of the total number of freelancers 20,000 would be women who will also get basic IT Literacy training at union and upazila levels alongside the outsourcing training. “We have put emphasis on creating women freelancers as they could earn money staying with their family and would be empowered as well,” he said. The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on 25 January approved the Learning and Earning Project involving Taka 180 crore aiming to create employment opportunity for the unemployed educated people especially youths at the upazila and union levels. N I Khan said the government is working to turn country’s 4516 Union Information Service Centers (UISCs) as mini outsourcing center and the freelancers to be developed under the Learning and Earning programme will have opportunity to work in the UISCs. “Our next step would be to develop entrepreneurs from the freelancers and then promote the entrepreneurs to develop as Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) professionals who would make contribution to earn foreign currency,” he said adding a programme will also be launched soon to create master trainers who will train the selected to develop as freelancers, entrepreneurs and BPO professionals across the country. The ICT Secretary said Bangladesh has earn 20 million US dollars from the outsourcing sector last year and earning would go up at least double in 2014 as the already-developed 15,000 freelancers under the government’s first phase Learning and Earning programme have started making contribution to enhance earning alongside the individual level freelancers. “Bangladesh ranked 3rd in the top ten list of Odesk, the global marketplace for freelancing, outsourcing job surpassing the Philippines, Pakistan and Russia in last year and it’s position would go up further this year due to creation of more freelancers and entrepreneurs,” N I Khan said. N I Khan who saw the bright prospect of ICT sector in the days to come said creation of freelancers project would initiate a new era in the country as the young people of villages would get opportunity to earn foreign currency through outsourcing, which will make them self- dependent.