How an India-US hackathon is boosting the Skill India mission
The mission to skill India with speed and scale got its first major boost from an idea generated at the hackathon hosted simultaneously in India and US during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Silicon Valley last month.
The idea to train unskilled people using massive open online course or MOOC has already seen the light of day with the setting up of www.skillupindia.org, which is supported by California-based Edcast, a professional knowledge network, founded and run by Indian tech entrepreneur Karl Mehta. Skillupindia provides tutorials under four categories – healthcare, manufacturing, governance and technology.
A total of 55 ideas flowed out of the 14-hour hackathon hosted at Google’s headquarters in Silicon Valley and Tech Mahindra’s facilities in Noida. More than half of the ideas came from India, the organisers of the hackathon said.
Mehta told HT that this will be largest people-to-people MOOC platform ever created in the world and has drawn Google, Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as its technology partners. While the Valley-based search giant will offer Google Hangout as its support to the project, the full service will be hosted on Edx, a MOOC platform that was created by Harvard and MIT in 2012. Mehta said this is the first time a global MOOC platform such as Edx is used for teaching skills outside the purview of higher education.
Mehta said that with a million people entering the employment market in India every month, it would take the power of technology to skill them with scale and speed. So far skill development has followed the classroom-based model where trainees spend weeks and months to acquire basic working knowledge of skill. A portion of the curriculum comprising theoretical knowledge can be imparted using an online digital platform, he said.
Two more ideas, one for using technology to improve farm produce and another to run mid-day meal schemes in India with more efficiency and transparency are being considered by Tech Mahindra as ideas worth investing in, the company’s chief strategy officer, Jagdish Mitra said.