The Board of Directors of Ignite – National Technology Fund (formerly National ICT R&D Fund) approved the award of contract of DigiSkills Training Project and National Incubation Center Karachi.
Minister of State for Information Technology and Telecommunication Anusha Rahman, while expressing her satisfaction over the on target launch of the Peshawar NIC, stated,
“National Incubation Center, Peshawar will usher a vibrant new era of entrepreneurship and innovation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, enabling many aspiring tech entrepreneurs and startups in creating game-changing solutions.”
The Board also accorded approval for award of contract for the flagship 1 Million DigiSkills program. Anusha Rahman stated that the “DigiSkills Program” is being initiated to fill Industry-Academia gap through appropriate training and mentorship.
Moreover, she added that the objective was to have more skilled people who could earn their livelihood working from home by equipping them with modern technical knowledge and e-lancing techniques.
The Board was told that initially 12 training modules were being introduced in DigiSkills program which will be scaled up in the subsequent phases. Initial modules being launched touch upon the areas of Digital Literacy, marketing, freelancing, graphics design, creative writing and e-commerce management etc.
The key differentiating factor of the program would be that it will utilize artificial intelligence and data driven decision making for matching content with trainees and to fine tune the quality of content and coach to trainee ratio. Subsequent phases would include deeper areas of IT focus like data sciences, cyber security and others.
While discussing the target number of trainees, the board expressed the view that “one million is the national target and the program will be available free of cost to a much larger number of the population to make people self-employable.”
While establishing the linkage of the program to the other major programs being under taken by MoIT the Minister elaborated that the DigiSkills program is a scaled version of the ICT for Girls program being implemented by the USF Co. which started with the establishment of some 150 labs complete with Microsoft 4Cs training program for around 35000 disadvantaged girls per year.
The program was then scaled to 226 girls’ schools with training and teachers included to benefit more than 110,000 girl students of Islamabad region annually. To further scale the efforts, the Ignite board set a target about a year ago to initiate planning for the 1 Million program which finally attained current shape and form after various deliberations and consultative sessions with the industry and several meetings of the Board.
The board appreciated the efforts that have gone into the design and planning of the program and the launch as well as the transparent conclusion of the RFP process. The Board also congratulated the Ignite team on the successful launch of NIC Islamabad, Lahore and Peshawar. They asked CEO Ignite to ready his team for the next endeavors i.e. the launch of National Incubation Centers in Quetta and Karachi respectively.