online-education

Future economy demands realignment of IT courses: AISECT Director

In an exclusive interview with Dataquest, Mr. Siddharth Chaturvedi, Director, AISECT talks about their endeavors to entourage a plethora of opportunities for professionals and how education can overcome the mist of unemployment doing the rounds in the industry. He also discussed about where the Indian engineers lack and what is backing the unemployment quotient for them.

Excerpts from the interview are below:

Observing the ongoing gap amidst the IT education and on-the-job skill-set requirements, how is AISECT bridging the gap through its learning?   

We started working in the ICT and skills based education space over three decades ago, because of which we have an unmatched understanding of the manpower requirements in the industry. Therefore, we have introduced a number of initiatives that are industry demand-based and focus on using IT as a tool for enhancing the skills of the youth in their chosen field so that they are job-ready as soon as they complete the course.

We have joined hands with 13 Sector Skill Councils for developing relevant training modules in association with industry experts for 100+ job roles as per QP-NOS based curriculum. We have also partnered with the National Skill Development Corporation to provide skills-based training to over 13 lakh people within 10 years. Our organization is also working with various Ministries and Departments of the Central and State Governments for the execution of their skill development projects such as Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana, National Rural Livelihood Mission  and many more.

Our portal aisectmoocs.com offers over 2,000 courses including school courses, skill courses and higher education courses for free of cost. In a bid to skill India, we have created content for skill training in Hindi, English and regional languages. We have included On-Job Training (OJT) in our Training Delivery Plan for every course throughout the country. For this, we have signed over 100 MoUs with various organizations at national, state and district level. Through OJT, students get firsthand experience of the work culture and environment.

How imperative will you state the ‘digitally-driven future’ for students and just out-of-the-college graduates? How significant innovation is at your University?

The digitally driven future is not a thing of the future anymore; it’s a hard core reality. From a student’s point of view, a digitally driven future has significance at two levels. Firstly, the penetration and utilization of technology as an inseparable component of any professional role. This trend has grown from a limited number of organizations​ ​in the past to far greater set of organizations in the SME and MSME segments now. This shift requires students to be better equipped as well as in pace with the technological advancements, so as to efficiently handle their work environment, whether it’s a start-up or a small organization. Secondly, in today’s world it enables customers to be more connected with all products and services. This requires thorough understanding of new channels of sales such as mobile phones and tablets. Consumer behavior has evolved dramatically with the advent of social media leading to connected customers everywhere. This supplements the need for students to be ready for a more digitally driven future.

What is the percentage of campus placement at AISECT University along with various other educational centers? Which companies go for maximum hiring?

The percentage of campus placement at AISECT University is approximately 78% and at our various educational centers, it has been 48.87% till date. Our job portal, rojgarmantra.com assists university graduates to find the most suitable job profile in the area of their expertise. The University also organizes mega job fair every year. So far companies like VIDEOCON, RBL Bank, Micromax, ASK Automotive, Sandhar Technologies, ADCC Infocad, AMTEK Auto and Teleperformance have visited the University for Campus Placement.

With automation vitally positioning itself in the companies, a large chunk of mid-level performers seem to be at risk. How is the education industry taking this up? Shall we expect important changes in the courses or training?

Although, it’s true that automation​​ is estimated to make many jobs redundant in the next 10 years, but many new fields of work would also emerge which would require skilled manpower. To accommodate this change, education industry would require realignment of courses and curriculum as per the demand of the future economy, rather than just taking measures to handle unemployment.

Many recent studies have indicated some of the roles which will have severe shortage in next few years; these include data scientists, big data analysts, senior programmers and digital marketers. This is what universities should be concentrating at, to equip students with the relevant skills to replenish the demands of the market.

As far as changes in the course is concerned, it would include a greater mix of online learning to ensure students are thorough with the latest skills and developments in the tech space. It would also include a lot of supplementary learning which the students would be encouraged to inculcate on their own. Specialist Trainers, especially with relevant industry experience, will come at a premium for next few years and universities need to be ready for that. To deal with this situation in the coming future, AISECT University has already launched its own MOOCs platform with hundreds of Industry relevant courses which the students can benefit from.

AISECT collaborated with the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) for training over 1.3 million people in a span of 10 years. How many people have been skilled till date and what is the ratio of IT courses in it?

Under the AISECT-NSDC partnership program, AISECT has trained 3, 56,370 candidates – so far out of which 1, 82,069 have been successfully placed. Of these, 457 candidates have been trained in the Electronics and IT Hardware sector, of which 206 have been placed. In the IT and ITES (Informal Employment) sector, 2,93,553 candidates have received skills training and 1,07,308 of them have been placed till date.

How will you rate the skills and knowledge of engineers in India in regard to the constantly changing IT arena?

Knowledge-wise Indian engineers on an average would fare quite well. But the biggest contributor to the unemployment quotient of Indian engineers is not the lack of technical knowledge, but communication skills. A person’s skill-set includes practical skills of respective domains as well as communication skills and Indian engineers lack proficiency in the latter. Hence, this area requires utmost focus and attention and I am glad to see that progressive universities such as ours are putting in extra effort to rectify this situation. With the advent of online learning, a lot of onus is now on individuals to keep themselves abreast with the latest skills and developments in the tech space. Although, Indian engineers have been respected worldwide for their knowledge and for the past years India has emerged as a knowledge economy, the same might not hold true in the coming years, with many other countries catching up. Hence, it’s imperative for our engineers to keep themselves updated by continuously upgrading their skills and embracing online learning to retain their position and value in the international market.

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