Artificial Intelligence Can Provide Solutions to Challenges in India’s Education Sector: UNESCO Report

Artificial Intelligence (AI) can provide solutions to challenges in the education sector in India as technology can be a major driver in mitigating socio-economic disparity, according to a new report by UNESCO. The report also suggested use of technology in evaluation and school management systems, asserting that AI-based techniques like image recognition and computer vision can assist teachers in grading large classrooms.

According to the “State of the Education Report for India 2022: Artificial Intelligence in Education” by UNESCO, technology could be a major driver in mitigating socio-economic disparity as the top of the population, in terms of income, are much more likely (39.1 pc) to pursue engineering and technology-related courses.

“AI market in India is expected to reach USD 7.8 billion by 2025 at the rate of 20.2 pc compound annual growth and AI literacy is becoming highly relevant in India since the market is the primary growth driver of the broader information technology (IT) and data science industry,” it said. The report pointed out that as early as 2018, public policy think-tank NITI Aayog acknowledged the importance of AI literacy in India and saw it as a national priority.

“It is also predicted that the AI software market in India will grow to US$6.4 billion in 2025 at the rate of 18.1 per cent CAGR and that AI will add between India collaborating internationally to develop AI software. ,” it said.

The report highlighted five key areas — healthcare, agriculture, education, infrastructure and transportation — which the Government of India has identified having potential for AI-driven technology to transform millions of lives.

Eric Falt, Director, UNESCO, said improving the quality of education and learning outcomes of students are the utmost priorities of all countries. India has made significant strides in its education system and strong indicators point to the country’s notable efforts to enhance learning outcomes, including by using AI-powered education technology, Falt said.

“Enrolment of girl students from underprivileged groups like the Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) is significantly lower than enrolment of girls from more privileged groups. The enrolment of SC girls is 19.34 pc at the elementary level, 18.6 pc at the secondary level, and 17.3 pc at the higher secondary level.

“For ST girls, it is 10.35 pc at the elementary level, 8.6 pc at the secondary level, and 6.8 pc at the higher secondary level, which is a matter of concern (CARE India, 2021). It also highlighted the linguistic barriers and digital divide before recommending ten of AI-based solutions,” the report said.

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