Sat, 23 Mar, 2019

CBSE embraces Artificial Intelligence

With 20,299 schools in India along with 220 in 25 foreign countries, the move is expected to have a big impact in the Indian education sphere

Story: Dr. | Manasvi | 10th January 2019, 03:00 Hrs

Dr. Manasvi M. Kamat

Inspired by the recommendation of government think tank NITI Aayog, India’s Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) in its recent meeting of its governing body took a decision to introduce Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the student curriculum as a school subject. Since most of the Indian and almost all CBSE schools are now adapted to digital education and learning systems, the tech-learning solutions equipped with AI will certainly initiate revolutionary changes to the way education is imparted in students with varied interests and capabilities.

AI is an advanced form of algorithm that empowers machines to emulate human behaviour under real life situations. AI gives machines the ability to respond as humans do, understanding events, to learn from them, and to react to humans just like an intelligent human would. 

Knowingly or unknowingly all of us have encountered AI in our daily lives. The application of Cortana while we use Windows, the use of Google Assistant when we Google search, similarly Siri in iPhones and Alexa in Amazon are popular frontrunners in the AI space.

Given that the CBSE Board has around 20,299 schools in India along with 220 in 25 foreign countries, the above stated move is expected to have a big impact in Indian education sphere. 

The high student eco-system diversity in Indian CBSE schools provides a conducive environment for the best utility of AI.

 The present move by CBSE should certainly be seen as a meaningful attempt to mould Indian education system.

This move will not only make students well-versed with today’s fast growing and highly demanding technologies, but will also make the Indian students comparable with the very best in the world on par with the international students.

 The new intervention will help to focus on teaching different skills and orienting students to prepare today’s youth for work in an AI world and also help educational institutions employing AI to adopt novel ways of increasing the usage of AI in school administration.

The usage of AI technology is growing rapidly globally and has already acquired a big space in the education sector of the West. 

The ‘AI Intelligence Market Report in the US Education Sector 2017-2021’ suggests that experts expect a growth of AI in education by almost 50 percent till 2021. 

Among the Asian countries, country like Vietnam is also in a bid to compete with its counterparts and now spurring economic innovation with AI. With a goal to emerge as an AI leader in Southeast Asia, this country has become a pioneer in usage of AI products and has adopted a distinctive approach to draw up a plan on AI research and development.  

Through its breakthrough strategy of AI intervention, Vietnam is now successful in building a vibrant ecosystem with a talent pool and is also attracting intellectual elites from around the globe.

India is not far behind and is among the top 15 countries in the AI race. The the Report by Finnish AI-based solutions specialists Zyfra ranks the U.S first, followed by China while India ranks 13th just after Canada in AI usage. 

Similarly have Indians abroad contributed immensely in this field. 

Very recently two Indian-origin high school students, Aditya Shah and Sanjana Shah in the California U.S came up with a novel AI-based device that could detect wildfire at an early stage to help the authorities to tame it before its vast outbreak. 

As a  part of the Google Challenge that required the participants to use AI for social good, they were inspired to build the a AI based sensor device as wildfire outbreaks has been rampant in the U.S, requiring the authorities to evacuate people to avoid a calamity of large scale.

Given the global trends it becomes important for such a technology to be included right from the school in India so that the school curriculum stays updated to the latest technologies. 

It is learnt that the CBSE board held consultations with stakeholders, including with schools that already teach the subject.

 It seems that after comprehensive discussions, the Board has felt it right to include artificial intelligence as an optional subject. It is expected that this will help children look at technology in new way. 

It has been decided that the subject would be introduced in classes 8, 9 and 10 as a skill subject.

The advent of AI in CBSE schools will certainly lead the world of academia in India to become more tech-oriented and forward looking. 

Once the fullest potential of AI is realized by teaching AI and in a way schools teach are manage, it will help to automate and speed up administrative tasks, helping organizations reduce the time spent on tedious tasks and increasing the amount of time spent on each individual student.

It is remarkable to see that the CBSE took the cognizance of the global trends. 

The commendable work of the two India-based high-schoolers cited above can serve as a remarkable role model for Indian students. The CBSE must spotlight such examples to demonstrate to Indian students what is possible when AI is engaged to solve problems in our communities around us. The ingenuity of the CBSE is impressive and truly deserves all credits.

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