Citing that innovation in technology and the evolving nature of work is demanding new skills from the workforce, Anant Maheshwari, president of Microsoft India, said that skill development is the need of the hour for India’s growth curve and to scale sustainably and inclusively.
In his blog, Maheshwari said that though digital literacy has become a gateway to employability, he feels that it isn’t enough as the workplaces around the world are demanding digital-fluency, and in some cases, even digital-mastery. “The rapid pace of transformation around us calls for relatively brief knowledge refresh cycles for all learning initiatives,” he added.
By following the cycle of learning, unlearning, relearning, and repeating, Maheshwari believes that people can provide a competitive edge to their organisations.
Appreciating government’s initiative to upskill or reskill four lakh professionals under the Programme for Reskilling or Upskilling of IT Manpower for Employability (PRIME) scheme, Maheshwari said that companies like Microsoft must foster an environment that encourages tech intensity and ensure that technology is trusted.
With the PRIME programme, the government aims to provide upskilling or reskilling opportunities for industry professionals across different segments, higher education students, and government officials. For this programme, the government is planning to invest around INR 436 Cr over a period of three years.
The reskilling or upskilling of professionals will take place in 10 emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), cybersecurity, blockchain, among others. Courses provided under this programme will follow a mixed approach with both online and classroom training programmes.
Edtech Will Reshape The Future
Impressed with the role of technology in education, Maheshwari said that students now are different from the preceding generation. “Their world is a finely integrated blend of digital and physical. They don’t learn how to use technology. Rather they use technology to learn,” he added.
Maheshwari believes that a thoughtfully designed STEM — science, technology, engineering, and mathematics — curriculum can help students in not just gaining subject-specific knowledge but also acquiring critical skills. “Schools should create flexible learning environments for students with an integrated pedagogical approach that leverages the power of technology,” he added.