Hyderabad: IT and Industries Minister K T Rama Rao on Monday sought to redefine IT as ‘Intelligent Technologies’ instead of the decades-old information technology. “I believe the time has come to truly define IT, from information technology as it was known for two decades, since that definition does not hold good now in 2020. It is not just about information anymore, it’s about intelligence,” he said.
The Minister was addressing delegates, including engineering faculty from across the globe and the country, at the ‘7th International Conference on Transformations in Engineering Education’ hosted by the Anurag Group of Institutions at Venkatapur near Ghatkesar.
Stating that the Telangana government had declared 2020 as the “Year of AI”, Rama Rao highlighted the growth story of Telangana State and spoke on various topics, including the status of engineering education in Telangana, in pre and post-bifurcation eras, emergence of Hyderabad as an IT hub, various government initiatives to accelerate growth and development in Tier-2 cities and other towns and the need for industry-government collaboration during his 30-minute address.
“Telangana understands the changing trends in industry and is keen on ensuring that our students do not miss out on the emerging technologies,” he said, and mooted the idea of ‘Practice School’ option, an educational innovation seeking to link industry experience with university education. This, he said, should be introduced in the curriculum.
State in forefront
Pointing out that the State had been in the forefront of adopting cutting edge technologies, be it in data analytics, blockchain, AI or robotics, the Minister said the State had launched T-Hub, We-Hub and T-Works in the past five years, which had catapulted the State into the top bracket in the start-up ecosystem.
Rama Rao, tracing the education scenario in Telangana, particularly in the engineering stream, before and after the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh in 2014, said the State now has more than 220 engineering colleges with a total intake of 1,20,000 students in various fields of engineering. “When the State was formed in 2014, we noticed that the quality of engineering education was deteriorating due to mushrooming of institutions. At a closed-door meeting convened by Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao then, Dr B V R Mohan Reddy (founder and executive director of Cyient India Ltd) did not mince words in telling the Chief Minister that while it was good to have a large number of institutions, what was equally important was to have extremely competent faculty that would make the students industry-ready workforce with skill-sets that are readily employable,” he said, adding that consequently, a committee was appointed to look into the various aspects of the functioning of engineering colleges.
“The committee looked into infrastructure including availability of new age tech tools, quality of faculty, competent trainers and other such issues that would produce competent professionals on completion of the engineering course. Though it was politically a tough decision to take, we made sure that institutions that did not meet these standards were shut down or were asked to revamp and upgrade to the prescribed standards. We adopted a two-pronged strategy of disincentivising institutions that lacked facilites and incentivised the positive colleges that fetched good results,” he said.
2020 to see string of AI events
IT and Industries Minister KT Rama Rao on Monday announced that the State government would hold a series of events throughout the year as 2020 has been declared the ‘Year of AI’.
“These events will be organised in collaboration with industry and educational institutions, and this initiative, I believe, will lead to more projects on emerging technologies being launched that will lead to transformation and consequently create more employment opportunities for the students in Telangana,” he said. The State government, he said, had also embarked on a massive exercise to attract investments in micro, small, medium and mega industries.