A bunch of leading companies, led by those in the IT space, is engaging proactively with students at both school and college levels. Philips, IBM, WiproNSE 1.30 %, EXL Service, SAP Labs and Infosys are among those driving such initiatives, for reasons as wide-ranging as promoting interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), creating awareness about new technologies, including artificial intelligence, and ensuring a skillsready workforce that is geared to hit the ground running.
Take Philips, for instance. The Philips Innovation Campus runs a programme called Pathshala, under which it brings in students in Class IX and X to understand the kinds of jobs available in the healthcare sector.
As part of its skill development programme, EXL is helping school and college graduates gain foundational skills in back-office, finance & accounting, analytics and machine learning. The benefit, say companies, is the increased employability of candidates; and in case of school programmes: lower dropout rates, improved overall academic performance, particularly in mathematics and sciences, and enhanced self-confidence. IBM, which supports the Niti Aayog’s Atal Tinkering Mission to build innovation mind-sets in students, is launching school programmes that will introduce students to new thinking and technologies in cognitive and artificial intelligence.
“The numbers today tell us that girls need significant enablement at schools to pursue STEM and computing careers. Our STEM for girls programme will provide opportunities to girls for self-actualisation,” said Rumi Mitra, country lead-corporate citizenship at IBM South Asia. Collaborations with top educational institutes have been a key part of such programmes, as in the case of MphasisNSE -0.43 % which in April set up a centre of excellence for cognitive computing on campus in collaboration with IIIT-B (International Institute of Information Technology Bangalore).
The centre will focus on applied research with relevance for society and enterprises, said CEO Nitin Rakesh.
At SAP Labs’ earn-while-youstudy programme, students can simultaneously undergo a fully sponsored M.Tech degree in software engineering from BITS Pilani or an MA from Srishti School of Design & Technology. The firm is also running an internship programme where it partners with National Institute of Design, Srishti School of Design and other design schools, and brings in students in their final years, says chief operating officer Mahesh Nayak. They then work on projects for six months or so, eventually becoming part of the workforce depending on their performance.
“Both these help young students develop an interest in mathematics, science and technology and become a part of the growth story of the Indian IT industry,” said Thirumala Arohi Mamunooru, head of education, training & assessment at Infosys.