Industry-academia gap: Will industry players adopting colleges help bridge the skill gap?

Can professionals become adjunct professors in colleges outside Bengaluru and expose students to the role of a leader by spending a few hours over the weekends?
Pic: Edexlive
Pic: Edexlive

The Karnataka Government has created many centres of excellence that need to be leveraged, said Kris Gopalakrishnan, Chairman, Vision Group on Information Technology, while urging the industry players to work with one or two of them.

He also suggested that the professionals become adjunct professors in colleges outside Bengaluru and expose students to the role of a leader by spending a few hours over the weekends. They can even adopt a college, or perhaps a town, to develop a sector, he noted. "It's in our interest to invest in colleges nearby. When we talk about the supply side, it's our responsibility to build this, Kris noted during an interaction with members of the IT industry.

Quoting the Zoho story as an example, he said that Class 10-pass students in Tirunelveli were trained as software engineers who are as productive as anyone else in the field. "There are experiments in India which we should take advantage of," he suggested.

Talking about revamping polytechnic institutes, Higher Education and IT/BT Minister Dr C N Ashwath Narayan said the government is planning structural reforms with boards of governors. He encouraged the industry to adopt and run these institutes to make quality education equitable while assuring that the government will continue to provide funds to the institutes.

When the government sought to know about lacunae in skills, Ramkumar Narayan, VP-Technology and Managing Director of VMWare India, said deep tech is the biggest opportunity and it trickles down to the entire infrastructure. "The challenge is that every company is becoming a tech company and it is no longer just the tech companies that are hiring. All are looking for skills in cloud, deep tech, AI, ML, and there's where the supply shortage is," he said.

Hari Vasudev, Country Head & SVP- Technology at Walmart Global Tech India said innovation will come from a holistic approach across engineering, data sciences, design, business and analytics. "That's where I feel, as an ecosystem, we can do a lot more. We take a siloed approach for talent, so we chase the same pool of talent, go to the same campuses. To take it to the next level, there is a need for a broad-based holistic approach to upskilling."

Santhosh Kumar - Managing Director - Texas Instruments suggested significant changes to the engineering curriculum towards practical learning. Serge De Vos Managing Director AB InBev, said one of the key challenges is upskilling  — there is a shortage of tech talent, he said, and as a result, costs have increased over the past years. From an outsider perspective, he said there is a need for soft and leadership skills. "Having the best developer is not enough, We need someone who can communicate to the stakeholders around the world, as Indian talent goes up and is no longer the back office," he said.

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