It’s time to integrate coding, STEM, life and career skills into the school curriculum

IBM India Managing Director Sandip Patel on their skills building initiatives to create a pool of future-ready talent skilled in hybrid cloud, AI, cybersecurity, chip design, programming systems and container technologies.

1. How is IBM helping India solve its skills challenge and help graduates stay relevant and ready to meet today’s market demand?

As part of our commitment to train 30 million people worldwide by 2030, our wide range of courses aims to bridge the gap between the existing talent pool and market demands. We have partnered with multiple government agencies across all sectors to integrate technical and vocational skills and training into the school-to-college curriculum.


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Through the IBM Skills Build program, we meet the needs of college students by offering on-site IBM internships and apprenticeships. Through our SkillsBuild Platform initiative, we placed over 18,500 learners in jobs in 2021. We collaborated with the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) to offer a free digital education platform focused on emerging technologies such as hybrid cloud, AI, cybersecurity, chip design, systems programming and container technologies.

Our academic partnerships with some of the best institutes in the country aim to provide opportunities for skills in research and development (R&D) and emerging technologies. Our collaboration with the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) for the IBM-IISc Hybrid Cloud Lab, for example, helps advance research into hybrid cloud technologies and drive breakthrough innovations. The lab will bring together a talented community of scientists, professors and students who are passionate about solving some of the most pressing research challenges facing companies today and will develop skills by working on real use cases.

With our expansion into Tier II cities like Kochi and Ahmedabad with our software labs and Mysuru, Hyderabad and Coimbatore with our consultancy business, our goal is to develop digital skills and innovation among the youth with the best technology for the IT/ITeS sector in the United States. IBM is committed to harnessing the power of the right technology and nurturing a diverse, future-ready talent pool.

2. There has been an exponential acceleration of technologies such as cloud, AI, hybrid cloud, automation, cybersecurity, etc. How can graduates gain practical knowledge of these technologies? Is IBM strengthening its partnership with technical colleges to impart knowledge in line with industry demand?

IBM is at the forefront of the Skill India and Digital India missions, working with universities, industry bodies and government to provide professional and technical skills to young people and teachers. In addition to new-age technologies, we make a point of addressing the vast cybersecurity skills gap. We intend to train 500,000 people in India over the next five years in relevant and emerging cybersecurity skills to help provide the specialized and relevant skills required in various areas of security.

To strengthen India’s quantum roadmap, we are facilitating cloud-based access to our quantum systems for leading institutions such as IITs, IISc, Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Indian Institute of Science Education & Research (IISER), etc. The goal is to help accelerate advanced training and research in quantum computing.

3. What are India’s challenges while encouraging girls towards education, more so for science education. How will the STEM for Girls initiative help overcome the challenges?

India is home to the youngest population in the world – we as a country can provide unparalleled talent in the STEM space. Among the many initiatives undertaken to take this momentum to the next level and help students and women plan their careers in the tech space. The IBM STEM for Girls program offers a 3-year program that helps female students pursue and understand their potential in new collar careers. This program is currently running in 13 states of India, benefiting nearly 2,30,000 girls and 1,15,000 boys. We also integrate coding, STEM, and life and career skills into the school curriculum. Our approach is not only to help students acquire skills, but also to follow the “Teach the Teacher” concept and to give teachers new-age skills. We have trained nearly 8500+ teachers so far in over 1790 schools across the country.

Interestingly, women make up about 50% of STEM graduates. We are also seeing good representation in campus hires, where 34% of women are already part of India’s IT industry workforce, and the opportunity is only growing. To encourage more women to join us and take on technical roles, we have a Tech Re-Entry program for experienced professionals who have taken a break from the working world and are looking to restart their careers. This program offers a unique opportunity to rebuild their skills through an array of well-organized learning programs, on-the-job projects, and access to the latest technologies and multidisciplinary teams.

4. What is the ideal IA curriculum for Grade 11 and 12 students that will soon be introduced by CBSE and Ministry of Skills Development for ITI students?

We understand the importance of engaging with technology and pushing the academic frontiers of technology, where IBM works closely with schools and universities. We have collaborated with CBSE to develop a curriculum in Artificial Intelligence, which is currently offered as an elective subject for grades IX-XII. Launched in 2019, the IBM AI program has impacted over 15,000 students and over 6,000 teachers from over 200 CBSE schools across different states in India.

The IBM AI curriculum is structured around a course framework for students consisting of core elements of AI knowledge, skills, and values. It is reinforced with problem-based learning outcomes and assessment methods that allow teachers to develop fundamental AI skills in students, making them not only consumers of AI but also creators. . To meet the requirements of CBSE Levels XI and XII, the program was co-developed with Australia’s Macquarie University and Indian implementation partners – Learning Links Foundation and 1M1B.

We have also worked with the Ministry of Skills Development to organize a two-year Advanced Diploma Program in Computer Networks and Cloud Computing, which will be available to 100 Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), including 50 all-female ITIs. .

5. Tell us about your association with the Vigyan Jyothi program anchored by the Department of Science and Technology (DST)?

There is a need to facilitate STEM education for deserving girls and help them better prepare to pursue careers in technology. IBM’s partnership with the Department of Science and Technology (DST) for Vigyan Jyothi and Vigyan Prasar will allow us to reach students and teachers in an interactive way. By expanding the ‘Engage with Science’ interactive learning platform, we have helped make learning relevant and fostered a science-mindedness among the country’s youth as part of Vigyan Prasar’s engagement. With the help of IBM volunteers, we also support them with appropriate advice to choose suitable career options.

We need to address the growing skills gap in the country by educating students on the technical and digital skills front. We collaborated with the Vigyan Jyothi program to create a robust STEM ecosystem operating in 100 schools under Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti. We believe that putting this ecosystem into practice will change the face of the STEM For Girls program in our country. During this school year, we plan to expand the Vigyan Jyothi program to 200 schools across India.

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