Making the year 2018 eventful with changes that really altered the state of affairs, Central Board of Secondary Education is not seeming complacent. Come January, the schools start applying for affiliation and CBSE has announced the inclusion of introductory Artificial Intelligence in classes 8th, 9th and 10th as an elective.
The measure of bringing AI in Middle and Secondary classes as a vocational stream constituent has certainly had its share of thrill value as they are not just going to read about it, students are going to interact with technology.
It is notable that the governing body of the CBSE has mulled upon the idea of the Introduction of Artificial Intelligence as an elective, which reportedly has its genesis in deliberations of NITI Ayog, finding AI fitting to bolster the vocational curriculum.
With AI gaining centrality in the technological sphere need of diverting talent towards the emergent dimension of technology has been felt by the CBSE board in concurrence with the policymakers.
What exactly is AI?
Artificial Intelligence which is also referred to as machine intelligence. It is the underlying technology of robotics. Artificial Intelligence is named so as it is seen in a perspective where human intelligence is natural intelligence. When intelligence which is, in simplest of terms, the ability to solve problems and understanding the external environment is bestowed on the machines it is called artificial or machine intelligence. AI enables machines to think, learn. plan and recognize speech besides other extremely advanced applications.
Implications for schools?
To enable the schools to take up the ambitious project, equipment and more importantly the required teacher capacity-building which according to the plans of CBSE has to happen by the next academic year. The scheme for the introduction of AI in CBSE schools will apply to all the CBSE schools in India and other countries.
Although AI is being introduced in classes 8th, 9th and 10th for now, on the vocational side and as a skill subject, CBSE has plans to further AI in higher classes. The current move can be considered a pilot of sorts.
AI is being introduced as an elective but it is reasonable to say that its sci-fi imagination firing potential will bring in takers in considerable numbers. The schools will have to be prepared for that scenario and make full use of the initial interest of the students to generate excellence in the trade. It will have to ensure that students get prepared for the theoretical rigors that will follow the initiation into AI skills. I would like to say that if the theoretical fundamentals of computer science and the trade are not built first and sophisticated applications are introduced, imposed or showcased just to spin a veneer of progress it is going to burden schools, teachers and distract kids. On the other hand, if AI is brought into students’ consciousness with the genuine effort it will write a new chapter in the CBSE's curricular history.
It is interesting to note that AI has its share of both vocal supporters and staunch detractors when it comes to its inclusion in walks of life. Disputes notwithstanding, nations have introduced AI in schools. Nations like Japan and South Korea have introduced AI as a pedagogical tool and not a curricular subject. Japan found the utility of AI and robotics in enhancing the proficiency of the English language in their students, the same is the case of other countries where AI was used to sharpen pedagogical reach.
It remains to be seen how CBSE schools will be helped by the board in the planned enhancement. It will take some time before the pilot project helps educationists project where it shall land.
Founder & Consultant - School Serv
Vinod Kakumanu heads a team of school services professionals and is an independent commentator on Indian school education scenario. Vinod has assisted school promoters establish 35+ schools besides providing ancillary services to over 1000 schools across India. He envisions a future where quality education is made available to every child of the country. The focus he places on the quality of the deliverables and customer satisfaction has made him renowned in the field of K-12 school education.