By Malahar Pinnelli, Managing Director, Ecolabs Digital Center & Co-founder of ‘pepelwerk’
“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world,” Nelson Mandela said. But what exactly is education? Is it learning to read and write? Is it learning the intricacies of mathematics, the laws of physics, formulae for chemical reactions, and the histories of the world?
Yes, it’s all of the above. But it’s also the building of a personal value system, which guides every individual at every step of his/her life – especially when there are big, important, life-changing decisions to make. And it’s also the building of a world view that’s based on this knowledge and these values. In my opinion, how ‘educated’ a person is depends on their thirst for learning, unlearning, and relearning, constantly and untiringly.
And this process of learn – unlearn – relearn is important not only for personal development, but also crucial for nation building.
Today, India has the second largest pool of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) talent in the world. With the world evolving with technology and technology evolving with the world, skilled STEM talent is some of the most sought-after across borders. Technology is changing the way we live, the way we think, the way we do even basic tasks. Technology will shape the future – which means the people behind these technologies have a huge stake in what the world will look like tomorrow.
If Indian youth are to become the finest tech workers in the world, we need to be front in the disruption.
However, simply learning skills is not enough to do this. This has to be done hand-in-hand with imbibing values and principles and living a cultured life. Any professional today spends at least one third of their day in a workplace. But these professionals are also citizens, torchbearers to a generation that has never known a world without technology.
Indian youth today has so much potential; they just need the right guidance to apply their brilliance. While there’s nothing wrong with the education being provided in India, we need to focus on skilling, and reskilling. Youngsters need to take this process seriously, invest their time and energy in becoming not just better at what they do – but become the best in their niche. They need to be able to imagine a brilliant future – and make it happen with their skills and knowledge, and their drive for perfection.
NASSCOM has already taken steps towards enabling the IT-ITeS industry by starting the Futures Skills initiative: an industry-driven learning ecosystem that takes skilled talent on a skill-enhancement journey. I am glad that Sarada Vilas Educational Institution in association with National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) is launching its FutureSkills platform. I recommend more youngsters to enroll in the various technical courses in Cyber Security, 3D Mapping, Block Chain and Mobile Technology that are being provided under this platform.
Just having the opportunity however is not enough. That opportunity needs to be converted into something sustainable. We all know that human-technology interaction is the norm today. In fact, most of the IT-ITeS industry today revolves around some key technologies such as RPA, AI, IoT and Cloud Computing. These technologies themselves are being enhanced by making them more interactive. But these technologies become important when humans use them to make the world a better place. This is where human skills such as problem-solving, design thinking, and storytelling come into picture.
People become innovators only when they are able to successfully apply technologies to real-life problems. This is where the link between technological skill enhancement and human skills are established. Someone somewhere thought of Robot Process Automation, RPA, which is today used extensively across sectors. Similarly, AI, until two decades ago, was something out of science fiction, but Artificial Intelligence is today used by business operations for various purposes.
In the end, all I would like to do is reiterate that reskilling and upskilling the employable manpower will only be beneficial to the economy in the coming years. Human and technology collaboration is the only way to improve the way we live our lives and give ourselves a better tomorrow.