Recent Initiatives in Data Science Education and Skilling – Analytics Insight

Data Science

As an initiative in data science education, many universities are expanding their data science courses and upskill offerings, in recent years

India has one of the most extensive education systems in the world. Though the spending in the education sector in the domestic circuit is not at par with that of developed nations like the USA, UK, Germany, Japan, and China, the country is slowly catching up to the race. The Modi government, along with several government educational institutes, has taken significant steps to ensure tech-skilling in artificial intelligence and big data. Many universities and organizations are expanding their data science courses and upskill offerings, in recent years. The government’s announcement to create data center parks throughout India has been acknowledged as a much welcome move under Union Budget 2022. As data science continues to integrate entirely into the core business functions of the organizations, the demand for relevant skills and expertise will rise in the coming years.

Under the Big Data Initiative, the Indian government plans to carry out a gap analysis in terms of skills levels and policy framework. It also plans to develop a strategic road map and action plan clearly defining the roles of various stakeholders like government, industry, academia, industry associations, and others with clear timelines and outcomes for the next ten years, and carry out market landscape surveys to assess the future opportunities and demand for skill levels in the same period. For this the Indian government is trying to understand the present status of the industry in terms of market size, different players providing services across sectors/ functions, opportunities, SWOT of industry, policy framework (if any), present skill levels available, etc.

In the meantime, several government institutes have launched numerous educational and skilling programs for their student mass. Even the state government of Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana, etc, have come forward to enhance the big data talent pool in their respective states.

In April, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur started free statistics courses which included regression analysis, sampling theory, design of experiment and analysis of variance, linear regression analysis and forecasting, introduction to R software, and more. Later, IIT Roorkee teamed up with TSW, the Executive Education Division of Times Professional Learning to launch a PG Certificate Program in Data Science and Machine Learning. Around October, IIT Jodhpur already launched a B.Tech program in artificial intelligence and data science from the academic session 2020-21. And most other IITs have joined to enhance data science and artificial intelligence education among tech aspirants. 

IIT Madras also took an initiative in data science skills by offering affordable courses on Data Science through their platform ‘PadhAI.’ This five-month online self-paced course on Foundations of Data Science, ranges from beginners’ level to the mathematical and programming skills required for a Data Scientist.

Even IISc (Indian Institute of Science), in collaboration with TalentSprint, started a ten-month Advanced Program in Computational Data Science, as the first cohort commenced in Jan 2021. The Computational Data Science course also comprises a case study on the analysis of how the industry today uses computational data science in real-world use cases. The broader curriculum of the course includes the mathematics of data science, neural networks, machine learning, data engineering, and business analytics.

Moreover, IIT Kanpur is offering two free online courses on Data Science, on the National Program on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL) online learning platform in India.

International Institute of Information Technology- Hyderabad collaborated with Great Learning to offer an 8-month extended postgraduate certificate in software engineering for data science. The program aims at helping learners to acquire skills in software and data science, especially technology leaders and managers who are looking to lead data science and AI implementations in the organization.

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has also announced the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the high school curriculum for the academic year (2020 – 2021), as other private schools continue to integrate artificial intelligence to carry out educational purposes. Targeting approximately 200 schools for Grade XI and XII, across the states Delhi-NCR, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Kerala, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Punjab, this curriculum has been developed in collaboration with IBM and will be a part of CBSE’s Social Empowerment through Work Education and Action (SEWA) program. The course will focus on teaching the basics and application of AI, and help with skilling in computational thinking, data fluency, and critical thinking.

In July 2020, the Additional Skill Acquisition Program of the Higher Education Department in Kerala introduced an AI Course of 776-hours, aiming to create skilled professionals who can fill the demand in areas of data science, artificial intelligence and Machine Learning. 

In November, Telangana Academy for Skill and Knowledge (TASK) and Telangana State Council of Higher Education (TSCHE) partnered with Microsoft and NASSCOM to provide skills to 30,000 youths from Telangana state in Artificial Intelligence under the ‘March to Million’ initiative. With an objective to enhance students’ employability by acquiring the skills required in the industry, the AI Classroom Series course introduces students to the concepts of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Data Science.

Such initiatives are crucial as investing in long-term skills and capabilities can asset the development of existing human resources. It will also bring talent momentum while grooming the untapped potential of students and boosting the big data maturity curve in India.

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