Minister for IT and Panchayat Raj Nara Lokesh stressed the need for affordable technology and the ability of educational institutions to have an ecosystem to foster it.

Mr. Lokesh was addressing a gathering of students of SRM University, Amaravati, and international experts after inaugurating the ‘International Conference on Transformations in Engineering Education-Imparting Futuristic Skills (ICTIEE)- 2018,’ jointly organised by the university and the Andhra Pradesh State Skill Development Corporation (APSSDC) in Neerukonda.

Citing the success of Stanford University’s Design for Extreme Affordability programme in the creation of an affordable baby incubator Mr. Lokesh said, “One of my classmates Jane Chen in Stanford University came up with a $60 baby incubator which was about 50 times cheaper than the one available in the market. This is where educational institutions need to play an important role,” he said.

“Interaction among engineering, medicine, business administration and all other academic fields in institutions like SRM will help the creation of world-class solutions at an affordable price point. Such an environment would also play a vital role in transforming the way we go forward. “As far as A.P. is concerned, we are using technology like there’s no tomorrow,” he said.

‘Focus on skill building’

Mr. Lokesh said students lack hands-on training and are forced to take the fixed classes and curriculum due to which only a few graduates are finding jobs. University chancellor T.R. Paarivendhar said that there is a need for transforming engineering education as India produces about 15 lakh engineers every year but only 10 % of them are employable. “The Central and State governments are serious about addressing the problem and have established ministries for skill development ,” Dr. Paarivendhar said.

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