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BENGALURU: India needs to push for digital education, so that millions can be trained and deployed in areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), Arvind Krishna, CEO, IBM Corp, said at a fireside chat at the Nasscom Technology & Leadership Forum 2021, being held virtually for the first time.

While the pandemic-led crisis has caused business disruptions, it has also given rise to huge opportunities and India can lead this by building digital skills and nurturing innovation, Krishna said.

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Over the past few years, IBM has been partnering with the government to drive the digital skills mission. Last year, IBM collaborated with National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) to offer ‘Open P-TECH’, a free digital education platform focused on emerging technologies and professional development skills.

As part of the collaboration, IBM will curate online courses from Open P-TECH platform and offer it to users via NSDC’s eSkill India portal. It will provide online courses in emerging technologies such as cyber security, blockchain, AI and machine learning, cloud, internet of things, along with professional skills, like design thinking to learners for 18 to 22 years of age for free.

IBM had last year said it will set up an AI Centre of Excellence (CoE) in partnership with the government e-Marketplace (GeM).

To address skills shortage in AI, IBM has embarked on ‘STEM for girls’ initiative, under which it is teaching 80,000 girls coding and building AI models across India. Krishna, at an earlier event, had said the goal was to reach 2,00,000 students by 2022.

In terms of the industry outlook, Krishna said growth will improve in 2021. He referred to the latest IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) survey wherein for the first time, technology came ahead of talent and strategy in the priority list.

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