The Institution of Engineering and Technology, India and the UK India Tech Partnership team from the British High Commission carried out an independent study on AI skilling in India as a part of their joint initiative to accelerate AI skilling and adoption in India. The study garnered close to 140 respondents representative of students, start-ups, academia, incubators and large corporations.
The study shed particular light on the need for a standardised AI curriculum for undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Also, students trying to equip themselves with in-demand skills indicated that they were discouraged by not knowing where to start, finding the right expert and a fear of coding being too tough. This next generation of entrepreneurs also wanted support with application-led concepts like Speech recognition, Computer vision and Robotics and Natural Language processing. Start-up founders also highlight avenues that exist for building awareness around core AI technologies and use cases of successful AI adoption. Entrepreneurs already running start-ups expressed the need for a more strategic and joined up approach for AI adoption, both within government and industry a sentiment echoed by large corporations who wanted to see the skills gap mapped out and a renewed approach to the AI skills eco-system.
Confirming the demand for skills and innovation: 70% of large corporations surveyed said that AI is a component of their 2-5 year strategic roadmap. Speaking about the findings of the survey, Shekhar Sanyal, Country Head and Director, IET India said, “We are very happy to have been able to lead this study jointly with the team at the UK India Tech Partnership. India specific proof points are crucial for kick starting industry and academia alike to build AI skill capacity for the ecosystem as well as to provide neutral and insight-led advisories to the government and ecosystem stakeholders. This study was a first step in that direction and it has helped us build a baseline for AI skills in India. We look forward to engaging with the ecosystem players in multiple areas of skilling for AI.” British Deputy High Commissioner to Karnataka and Kerala, Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford said, “I am happy to endorse this important joint study that recognises both the growing importance of AI to
India’s successful tech sector and the need to further bolster AI skilling in India, especially Karnataka which is at the forefront of innovation and entrepreneurship in AI. The growing strength of UK-India collaboration in the tech space coupled with increasing partnerships between academia and start-ups between UK and India will help address key challenges facing our countries and the world.”
Adding to this Ankita Puri, Head of AI and Data Science Cluster said, “we will be using the evidence from this study to launch a virtual upskilling program in AI to help focus on capacity building for the ecosystem to benefit given the covid-19 disruptions.” IET India and the UK India Tech Partnership are jointly holding a virtual roundtable titled ‘AI skilling in India: Opportunities, challenges and road ahead’ featuring experts from India and the UK to discuss to discuss key findings of the study and to evolve a roadmap for AI skilling in India.