IBM, NSDC join hands to offer free digital skills training
IBM on Friday said it has partnered with National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) to offer curated courses from 'Open P-TECH', its free digital education platform focused on emerging technologies and professional development skills, on the latter's eSkill India portal.
The tech giant will provide online courses in emerging technologies like cyber security, blockchain, artificial intelligence and machine learning, cloud, Internet of Things, along with professional skills like Design Thinking to learners between 18 to 22 years of age for free.
"COVID has accelerated the pace of digital transformation as we had never seen before...Today our education system is not fully equipped to teach the next generation with future ready tech skills to thrive in the industry...there is a huge skill gap," Sandip Patel, Managing Director at IBM India/South Asia, told reporters.
Citing data from the International Labour Organisation that India is staring at a 29 million skill deficit by 2030, he said it is critical that businesses take an active role in supporting their existing workforces in re-skilling and upskilling.
Also, individuals should take a proactive approach to their own lifelong learning, and governments must create an enabling environment to assist these efforts, he said.
Patel said IBM's Open P-TECH was launched in India in March 2020. Globally, the platform has 44,000 learners, of which about 9,000 are in India.
The platform equips learners and educators with foundational technology competencies, along with workplace learning skills.
Under the partnership, Open P-TECH platform will also offer courses to develop soft skills, interpersonal skills, problem solving — a set of 11 key skills which are generally not available in a college curriculum, but are high in demand and are valued in the job market, he added.
"Our collaboration with NSDC is a significant milestone to equip the next generation with digital skills. Open P-TECH will make foundational learning in emerging technology and professional skills for the youth more accessible. Aligned to the country's 'Skill India Mission', we are taking another step in the evolution of our digital education approach," he said.
The platform, currently available in English, will soon be available in various Indian languages -- starting with Hindi, followed by 10 Indian languages including Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Punjabi, Gujarati, Sindhi, Urdu, Bengali.
NSDC MD and CEO Manish Kumar said, "Online trainings through digital platforms like Open P-TECH and eSkill India need to be accelerated to overcome geographical and socio-economic barriers."
"Digital learning will enable higher participation of women in the labour workforce as the scope for employability will increase. Overall, digital learning will boost prospects of employment and livelihood for the youth," he added.
Previously, IBM has partnered with Directorate General of Training at the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Central Board of Secondary Education, Niti Aayog, State Department of Education, and State Skills Missions to impact more than four lakh learners and students in India through its education and skilling initiatives.