How India is bringing AI education to its schools

CBSE has partnered with Google and IBM to bring AI innovations in the education sector.

To address the evolving needs of the education industry and to prepare the education sector for the AI economy, CBSE has roped in tech giants IBM and Google to integrate technology and AI in India’s school curriculum.

Given the growing reliance of teaching and education on digital means, it is essential to empower the facilitators with the necessary tools and technology. Therefore, CBSE Skill Education and Training has joined forces with Google to provide free teacher access to its products such as G Suite for Education, Google Classroom, YouTube and more. By the end of the year, 10 lakh teachers in India’s 22,000 schools will be capable of combining classroom teaching with online modes to deliver a blended learning experience to their students.

Welcoming the partnership, Shri. Ramesh Pokhriyal’ Nishank’, Hon’ble Minister of Human Resource Development said, “Google’s campaign to disseminate knowledge, expressions, ideas amongst the students and common men is a great effort. I think in the current circumstances where the whole world has suddenly encountered a pandemic and where all of us have been forced to follow this online-digital path, at such times it is important that this path is strengthened.”

Further, in line with the Prime Minister’s vision for Digital India, Google CEO Sundar Pichai has earmarked ₹75,000 crores under Google for India Digitisation Fund. Over 5-7 years and through a mix of various investment models, this fund will be utilised for important areas of India’s digital transformational journey. Google aims to direct a significant portion of this fund towards leveraging technology and AI for social good, in areas such as education.

Congratulating Pichai for the initiative and talking about India’s importance in the present world, Shri. Ravi Shankar Prasad, Hon’ble Minister for Communications, Electronics and Information Technology said, “I am very happy that Google is recognising the great power of India’s digital empowerment, India’s digital innovation and the need to create further opportunity. I am quite clear there is immense scope for Google through its good application of artificial intelligence to undertake new initiatives…most importantly digital education.” 

Speaking on Digital India and the importance of AI in alleviating inequalities, he added, “This digital transformation emphasising upon digital inclusion, bridging the digital divide and allowing more and more innovation is a part of that process.”

As a part of its SEWA (Social Empowerment through Work Education and Action) program, CBSE has introduced Artificial Intelligence as a subject in classes XI and XII for the 2020-21 academic year. Developed in collaboration with IBM, the AI curriculum will first be rolled out in approximately 200 schools across 13 states of India. 

Shri. Manoj Ahuja, Chairperson, CBSE said, “AI will certainly become all-pervasive in our lives in coming years and it is important to inculcate the necessary skills and knowledge right from high school level. The unique proposition of the IBM AI curriculum is that it allows Grade XI and XII students from all streams, in addition to Computer Science, to build the foundation for themselves to be AI ready.” He added, “This same ethos has been carried forward in our ‘AI for Better India’ initiative as well as ‘IBM EdTech Youth Challenge’ which helps break the myth around AI.”

The AI-focused IBM EdTech Youth Challenge will encourage teams of students and teachers to come up with tech-driven solutions for pressing social problems. The grand prize for this competition is a two-week internship as well as mentorship from senior IBM experts. 

AI for Better India, another joint initiative of the tech major and the education board, is a hackathon for devising innovative solutions to real-world problems. The finalists of this competition graduate to the IBM EdTech Youth Challenge. 

Further commenting on the developments, Shri. Ahuja said, “With support from IBM, we are proud to lead the way for the nation by developing such an innovative training-based learning approach for students and teachers while inspiring them to use AI for social good.”

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