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When Teachers Went Back to Class for Lessons on Automation

According to multiple recruitment consultancies, India supports more than half of the world’s tech outsourcing requirements. However, employers have been finding it difficult to get AI and ML trained individuals.

Rounak Kumar Gunjan | News18.com@Rounak_T

Updated:June 27, 2018, 9:25 AM IST
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When Teachers Went Back to Class for Lessons on Automation
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New Delhi: Teachers in colleges are resorting to specially arranged classes for updating themselves with the latest developments in the field of automation.

The rising demand for courses in disciplines like artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, big data among others, corresponded by the rising demand for jobs in these fields, has now led college professors to participate in faculty development programs (FDP) arranged specifically in these subjects.

TechTrunk, a Hyderabad based training company is travelling the length and breadth of the country collaborating with colleges and training their professors in disciplines relating to automation.

“There has been a surge in the number of colleges opting for these training courses. Earlier, they used to mostly train in areas such as computer engineering. However, in the last three years most of the FDPs are being conducted on AI and machine learning,” said Anshu Pandey, Technical Head, TechTrunk.

A FDP on artificial intelligence was conducted at IILM Lodhi Road campus recently. Sixty faculty members from the IILM campuses at Lodhi Road, Gurgaon and Greater Noida attended the two day long programme. As a pre-requisite to attending the FDP, all the participants had to audit the edX course on AI.

“We have asked all our professors to take separate training in AI and machine learning. We keep sending them to FDPs for them to upgrade themselves. In order to teach students they must know first,” said Satya Prakash, head of department of electrical engineering at Gandhi Institute of Technology, Odisha.

News18 also spoke to the Neotia University in West Bengal who also identified to the rising practice of these FDPs.

“Teachers now are only trained in core areas. For them to be teaching students in subjects such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and other advanced courses, they need further training,” said Dr. Vivek Kumar, Vice-Chancellor, Quantum University of Technology, Uttarakhand.

In the recently concluded approval process of All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), government regulatory body for technical education, the Council has approved 61 new courses, a rise in 60 percent, offered by technical colleges for subjects relating to automation.

Global importance of these courses was reflected when a Japanese delegation, in November last year, visited the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati campus. The overseas delegation was looking for students with artificial intelligence and deep learning skills for companies in Japan.

Sources in the IIT placement cell informed that they are ready to visit the college for campus placements if the institute could provide them with people trained with AI skills. The delegation is ready to hire 35-40 people next year.

According to multiple recruitment consultancies, India supports more than half of the world’s tech outsourcing requirements. However, employers have been finding it difficult to get AI and ML trained individuals.

One must understand that while faculty development programs have been going on for years, the sudden shift towards advanced courses is what deserves attention.

(This story is part of News18 series #onthejob. The next story delves into how fresh graduates from premier colleges are grappling with joblessness)
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