With a vision to empower the next generation of learners, the Directorate General of Training (DGT), Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), has partnered with Microsoft and NASSCOM Foundation to create learning pathways for students pursuing IT/ITeS trades at the Industrial Training Institutes (ITI) in India. As part of this collaboration, a blended learning curriculum will be created for students pursuing the ‘Computer Operating and Programming Assistant’ (COPA) trade. The curriculum will give students an insight into Microsoft technologies, starting at the primary level from Office Productivity Suite to introducing advanced concepts of programming, networking and cybersecurity. The blended curriculum will enable 1.2 lakh COPA students across 3000 ITIs annually.
The partnership with DGT is an extension of Microsoft’s global skilling initiative to help 25 million people worldwide acquire new digital skills needed for the COVID-19 economy. Resources from LinkedIn, GitHub and Microsoft Learn will be integrated with the Bharat Skills platform of MSDE to provide access to personalized job-oriented learning paths for students. These learning paths will cover a broad range of technical and workplace skills, from entry-level digital literacy to training in critical technologies like AI and cloud computing.
DGT will also collaborate with Microsoft and NASSCOM Foundation to conduct faculty development programs. More than 250 members of the ITI COPA faculty are expected to be trained in the first phase.
Commenting on the initiative, Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey, Union Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, said, “Through the DGT-Microsoft partnership, we are aiming to impact thousands of students by enabling digitization in education and hope it to reach more students and teachers soon. As the pandemic is compelling fast-track digital transition, these new learning initiatives will empower young learners with technical and market-oriented skills.”
Speaking on the occasion, Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India, said, “Empowering the next generation of learners with industry relevant digital skills is critical as we move towards building economic resilience. The last few months have accelerated the need for upskilling and has shown clearly that the future of learning will be supported by technology. Our partnership with DGT and NASSCOM Foundation is built on this foundation of equipping the learners of today with the skills required to thrive in the jobs of tomorrow.”
Shri Pravin Kumar, Secretary, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, shared his thoughts on elevating the skilling ecosystem in the country. He said, “Skill development is constantly being upgraded and modernized in terms of infrastructure, pedagogy, curriculum and technological interventions. We are gradually working our way to upscale the skilling system as per industry expectations and demands. I feel extremely happy to acknowledge the DGT-Microsoft collaboration for the new interventions in felicitating online learning initiatives through digitization in support of students, trainers and self-learners.”
Speaking about this, Ms. Neelam Shami Rao, IAS, Director General (Training) & Additional Secretary, said, “The Directorate General of Training as an organization, is committed to provide quality vocational training through its courses and consequently, with a strong objective of bridging distance and time gaps it is paving its way to provide individualized and standardized learning by adopting new models of learning at different levels of skill training. The blended learning is a flexible and adaptable way of engaging the learners, while allowing the trainers to cater to the needs of the students, in a much better way. Hence, as a pilot, digitized content for six most popular trades in CTS is being developed, one being the COPA trade. DGT is absolutely thrilled to partner with Microsoft, the indisputable tech-giant, for its unconditional support in developing comprehensive skills and employability of our students as well as the future trainers through its learning modules on futuristic skills.”
Ashok Pamidi, CEO, NASSCOM Foundation, said “Blended learning has been a game-changer through all our skill-based programs. With this e-content, we hope to bring this model to the ITIs. Microsoft has been one of our most valuable partners in our journey towards building a digital skills landscape in the country. We thank them for their continuous and unwavering support. We are also extremely proud to collaborate with Directorate General of Training (DGT) to roll out the e-content in various NSTIs and ITIs across India.”
The curriculum will be hosted through the Bharat Skills platform of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) and will be accessible to more than 32 lakh students enrolled in 137 trades across 15, 000 it is, annually. The blended learning model would also enable teachers to accommodate double the number of batches with the same infrastructure.