GK: You are one of the pathbreaker techno-preneurs of our valley. If we ask you to sum up your experience of last decade, in term of challenges you faced, and opportunities you explored; how would you capture the whole thing?
Shameem Shah: Thank you for the title; the past ten years have been both difficult and rewarding. One of the biggest difficulties I faced was keeping up with constantly changing technology trends, which required me to always learn and innovate to stay ahead of the competition. Another challenge was expanding my business while still maintaining high-quality products and customer satisfaction. However, I also had many exciting opportunities, like reaching new markets through the digital economy and using advanced technology such as AI/ML to create efficient, secure, and scalable products. Additionally, I formed strategic partnerships with complementary services and solutions to create a complete eco-system.
GK: The face of technology changes at a bewildering pace. How well are our students, and their parents mindful of this, and do you think we position ourselves in time or there is a huge gap between the changes taking place and our preparedness to grasp the change?
Shameem Shah: I’m very concerned that students and parents don’t realise how fast technology is changing, and we’re not keeping up. There’s a significant gap between how quickly technology is changing and how well-prepared we are to keep up. However, some schools and businesses are working to address this by offering more tech-focused programs and training opportunities for students to acquire the necessary skills to succeed in a tech-driven economy.
GK: How is your company, LeLafe, positioned to make meaningful interventions in our schools so that the technology component of our education is up to date?
Shameem Shah: Our company is collaborating with multiple universities and educational institutes in the valley to offer internships and training programs. We have around 20-25 interns at any given time, who are being trained by our highly skilled employees. This will equip them with the skills they need to succeed in a technology-driven economy and make informed career decisions that match the evolving technological landscape. Additionally, we conduct seminars and engage with students to educate them about new technologies.
GK: You school education app – Educian – is already introduced, and used at many places. How do you think it has any advantages over other such apps currently in use in the schools in J&K.
Shameem Shah: Educian is a NEP compliant enterprise solution for educational institutes designed to improve both the bottom line and top line of educational institutes. By streamlining administrative tasks and automating processes, it reduces the workload of school staff, which leads to increased efficiency and cost savings. Additionally, by providing a comprehensive and interactive platform for student management, Educian improves student engagement and performance, leading to better academic outcomes and potentially attracting more students to the school. This can result in increased revenue and growth for the school. Overall, Educian is a powerful tool that can benefit schools in numerous ways, both financially and educationally. Additionally, we have established an exceptional local support.
GK: Shameem, you have worked in the US, and you are regularly in touch with the global spaces through your work. Where do you think our students lag in terms of work ethic and preparedness?
Shameem Shah: As compared to USA, students in the valley lack practical experience and the ability to apply theoretical concepts in real-world scenarios. Insufficient communication, interpersonal, and leadership skills, as well as lack of adaptability and flexibility required for success in a competitive global market is also a concerning factor. Additionally, I also notice lack of motivation to take ownership.
GK: You know it more than anyone else that we are at a cusp of some unimaginable disruptions in the face of AI. How can we integrate this component in our school education, so that our students don’t lose out on the next level of competition?
Shameem Shah: Incorporating AI into school curriculums can play a crucial role in equipping students with the necessary skills to succeed in the future. One way to start is by ensuring that all STEM staff are trained in the fundamentals of AI, followed by teaching the basics of AI to all students. This approach can aid in cultivating critical thinking and encouraging innovation amongst the student body. Another important step is to offer AI-specific courses, such as programming and robotics, and foster collaborative learning environments. It may also be beneficial to collaborate with tech companies that have a dedicated AI research division to further enhance the quality of education.
GK: If AI is bound to eat up many jobs, in fact millions, where is the new set of jobs, and how should our students start preparing for enhancing their employability in future?
Shameem Shah: Yes, it is likely that many jobs will be replaced or significantly changed. However, new jobs will also emerge in areas such as data science, AI development, cybersecurity, renewable energy, and healthcare. In addition, there will be a growing demand for professionals who possess social and emotional intelligence, creativity, and critical thinking skills, which are difficult to automate. To prepare for the future job market, students should focus on developing a diverse set of skills and competencies that will remain relevant in the changing landscape.