Celebrating the 90th Birth anniversary of former President of India, Bharat Ratna Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, the international foundation in his name had organized a virtual event. The topic was “New Skills for the 21st Century Students”, a relevant one for the times. The organizers invited me to deliver a brief address on the topic to the students from around the country who will be participating live and watching the recording in YouTube. It was a honour for me to share the virtual stage with Dr Y S Rajan, Padma Shri awardee, former Distinguished Professor at ISRO and a friend of Dr Kalam.

Before the live started, Dr Rajan shared in a chat with us on his early years at ISRO – he had travelled to the USA, USSR, Germany, France, Japan, and other countries to learn, work and partner with space agencies including NASA & CCCP. Dr Kalam and his predecessors had the vision to start the process of indigenisation with the smallest, simplest component(s) of a project even when India was buying the technology from an agency abroad; in the next iteration the scope of Made in India would be increased, one step at a time; ISRO always treated internally-made products with those from private partners and from PSU (Public Sector) at the same level, the only criteria was the quality. Hearing Dr Rajan share these nuggets about ISRO, I got curious to learn more about the agency and I plan to do it from books like ISRO: A Personal History & reread the biography on Dr Vikram Sarabhai.

In my talk (Video), I covered on what I call M.A.P. (Make Anything Possible) and four broad skill groups that are required to succeed in this century:

  1. Learn->Unlearn->Learn,
  2. Be Truly Global,
  3. Each of us must think & behave like a start-up,
  4. Every one of us should be a software programmer.
New Skills for the 21st Century Students by Venkatarangan - 16th October 2021

New Skills for the 21st Century Students by Venkatarangan – Slides

Thanks to the organizers, Dr Rajan and the hundreds of students who participated and actively asked questions.

Dr Y S Rajan (3rd from the top-left) & the other participants

Seen above are Dr Y S Rajan (Third from the top-left) and the other participants

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