An Artificial Intelligence community centre that will offer courses free of cost to school students and engineering graduates as a step towards democratising AI knowledge cum skill has been established in the city by Hexagon Capability Center India (HCCI).
Set as part of HCCI’s corporate social responsibility education outreach, HexArt Institute, the facility, was inaugurated by Industries and IT Secretary Jayesh Ranjan on Monday. Announcing the 2,000 sq ft fully equipped facility at Mehdipatnam is now open to residents of Telangana, a release said the courses and certification programmes have been designed by industry professionals. While the courses on fundamentals of AI are for students in Classes 8-12, the advanced level programmes will be for senior engineering graduate. The centre has been established at a cost of ₹64 lakh and HCCI will invest further ₹30 lakh annually to manage it.
Until a decision on reopening of schools is taken by government, HexArt Institute will offer the courses online.
On how many students stood to benefit, HCCI VP and General Manager Navaneet Mishra said, “COVID changed many of the parameters, because earlier we were only thinking classrooms and 350 students a year.” With the pandemic, it was decided to upload everything on the Cloud. Though it involved additional expenditure, the switch to Cloud is likely to push up the number of beneficiaries too. About 600 students are likely to be benefitted now, he said.
The release said NASSCOM Foundation was the CSR partner for the initiative and shared its expertise in setting up such learning centres. Li2 Technologies has been onboarded as implementation partners to design and execute the courses along with administrative responsibilities.
Year of AI
Noting that the community centre is an attempt to demystify AI, as it now was perceived as a technology to be explored by only those fluent in English and highly qualified, Mr.Ranjan cited the efforts of Telangana government to promote such emerging technologies. Year 2020 was commemorated as the year of AI in the State, he said, adding the focus will continue in the coming year and beyond as well.
Head, Membership and Outreach of NASSCOM Srikanth Srinivasan congratulated HCCI on setting up the first AI community centre in the country.