Digiskills- Preparing Youths for Challenges of Digital Revolutions
Recently there has been a surge in AI, IOT and AR in Pakistan signalling the inception of the fourth industrial revolution. Over here at Ignite we have funded start-ups in these areas that have reduced electricity transformation line loses, saved irrigation water, and provided high quality educational tools to customers in the country and the US. But these need to scale up for a significant impact on the economy. Mr. Nadeem Nasir Head of Communications, ignite has shed light in his recent interview on some of initiatives taken by Govt under IGNITE to enhance youth skills to meet growing requirements of Digital industry.
Another important aspect to fourth industrial revolution is digital skills i.e. the ability to learn and work online with creativity, perseverance, and continued learning as these are fundamental to the world being shaped by the fourth Industrial Revolution. An increasing number of tasks, previously performed by humans, are now being performed by AI and Robotics. So creativity, not yet attained by AI, is going to be of much greater value than the simple accumulation of knowledge. More and more jobs are going to be short term gigs in a fast changing environment; therefore, perseverance and continuous learning are essential.
In this regard we have launched a large scale national Digital Skills Training Program called DigiSkills.pk to provide one million trainings in future of work using technology, across the country over a period of 2 years approximately. The DigiSkills.pk Program is aimed at equipping youth, freelancers, students, professionals, etc. with knowledge, skills, tools & techniques necessary to seize the opportunities available internationally in online jobs market places and also locally to earn a decent living. The program aims at not only developing key specialized skills, but also imparting knowledge about various freelancing and other employment and entrepreneurial opportunities.
Furthermore, the youth is the major beneficiary of the program as 79% trainees of this program are youth; many formally unemployed young people are now earning dollars through freelance market places after participating in the digiskills.pk program. They have also been able to support their families and finance their education through the earnings – the economic crunch makes it a necessity for everyone to contribute. Especially in the time of quarantine, it is essential to be productive and learn new skills rather than waste time.
It is interesting to note that while designing Digiskills.pk, online platforms and programs around the world were studied, such as Coursera, Udemy, and Fedora. Lessons learnt were then customized for Pakistan environment. For example, Digiskills.pk employs coaches who motivate inactive trainees. Audio course content is predominantly in Urdu because that is how most Pakistanis learn – even English medium subjects. An edutainment format is employed to increase retention rates. AI is employed to match content with trainings and in an online Chatbot. All of this makes this program unique and different from other online training platforms.
Looping back to the demands of fourth industrial revolution, lot more still needs to be done. Digiskills.pk doesn’t provide training in 4IR technologies like AI, IOT. Many other initiatives are required to be rolled out to meet the demands of the fourth industrial revolution but as of now this program has made a difference. Moreover, as the videos will remain available on the YouTube anyone can learn the skills for online earnings.