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Winds of change...

ICT pulled off its first assignment in the northeast. It would be an employability enhancement programme (EEP) in the IT/ITES space under the aegis of AICTE.

Winds of change...

The mandate is to train 16,962 engineering graduates and diploma holders in the Northeast in the next two years, with 10,351 of them in Assam. The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) is a national statutory body responsible for the development of technical and management education in India. The ICT Academy is a not-for-profit autonomous organisation, which focuses on making engineers industry ready. In its eight years of existence, it has made a strident growth by focusing on Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry. 

The Bridge Conference, an initiative of ICT Academy and supported by the government of Tamil Nadu, is a platform for industrialists and academicians to share and exchange ideas in preparing educational campuses to deliver high-value industry relevant output.

 

Move to Northeast...

Dr Anil Sahasrabudhe, Chairman, AICTE, was at the 24th Bridge Conference held in Coimbatore in 2016. Impressed by the quality and size of the programme, during a late night walk with M Sivakumar, CEO of ICTACT, Sahasrabudhe wondered why ICT should not step into the Northeast. The move would mean working directly with students whereas the ICT charter essentially mandated training-the-trainer programmes. Sivakumar was quick to seize the opportunity.  It was in line with ICT’s vision of taking its brand national. 

Earlier, sometime in 2015, the NITI Aayog had put its seal of approval on the activities of ICT. In fact, it recommended other states to have a similar initiative and mandated that instead of reinventing the wheel they could become extended offices of ICT. In the aftermath of that, Raghava Srinivasan was moved to New Delhi to scout for opportunities nationwide. 

“We got the best of our staff  to go to these states to work at these,” said Sivakumar.  Anand Babu with over ten years of work experience in the education space spearheaded the initiative, relocating to Assam, the gateway to the Northeast. 

Nerim Group of Institution and RISTMeghalaya were the early ones to sign the MoU.  Of the 68 colleges mapped by AICTE, 41 have enrolled, 10 have given in-principle approval and Anand is certain that the other 17 will soon come on board. 

The EEP works like this. The AICTE mandates ICT to carry out the programme. ICT then approaches the various colleges, which in turn put it to the students to enroll on a voluntary basis.  

NASSCOM, the apex body for the multi-billion dollar Indian IT-BPM industry, has developed the course content and will be the certifying body.  ICT has prepared the reading material and provides classroom instruction. ICT plans to conduct a job fair in Assam where IT, ITeS companies from Chennai and other places will descend to recruit.  Says CEO Sivakumar, “the English speaking skills of the northeastern Indians is a distinct advantage and companies are more than willing to look at them.”

ICT now operates in 15 states.  If it can be the catalyst for change in the northeast, ICT would have done the country a signal service. 

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