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Raipur, India Government School to Offer Classes in AI, ML and Robotics

A government school in Raipur, Chhattisgarh announced plans to offer classes in robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) to its students. It will enable nearly 500 students from different classes to gain knowledge about creating models and electronic devices. The school is now among ten other government schools in India that are equipped with a robotics laboratory under Project Jigyasa.

The Indian education sector has been greatly influenced by AI, which has led to its inclusion as a subject of study in most government schools across various states. Several colleges have also incorporated AI/ML courses in their curriculum for graduates. Apart from Raipur, Jigyasa covers Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Gujarat. The robotics laboratories established under the project will provide an opportunity for students to learn about creating robots, technical models, and electronic devices, among others.

The curriculum will differ for students from grades 4 and 5, who will be taught about models without electronic devices, and for students from grades 6 to 10, who will receive training on creating electronic models. According to an official from the school, the primary objective of offering students the opportunity to develop models, programmes, and robots is to improve their creativity and spark an interest in key subjects like mathematics and science. The laboratory’s equipment has been imported from Sweden.

A mentor has been appointed to instruct students on programming and the making of robots. The school is optimistic that the robotics laboratory will help students achieve better career prospects in the future. According to the mentor, primary-level students will learn design through interactive sessions, specifically about load balancing and scientific concepts. The students will also receive training in the robotics lab to develop models that can address common societal problems such as the development of traffic signals and their functioning programme.

The government has been pushing for initiatives that integrate AI and emerging technologies into school courses. The National Education Policy (NEP)-2020 emphasises digital literacy, coding, and computational thinking in its suggested curricula. It also ensures that mathematics and computational thinking are in the curricula throughout the school years, starting from the foundational or early stages. Coding is introduced at the middle stages, which includes grades 6-8 and covers ages 11-14.

Keeping in view of the availability of digital infrastructure, the government issued the Pragyata Guidelines on Digital Education in July 2020. They outline various modes of digital education including online learning, which depends on the availability of an Internet connection; the partially online mode that uses the blended approach of digital technology and other offline activities; and the offline mode that utilises television and radio as a major medium of instruction for education. It also mentions the support that must be provided to students with special needs.

To fulfil the digital learning needs of students and teachers, state governments have been advised to tailor their digital resources for teaching and learning to the prevailing situation in each location. Depending on the states’ requirements, the Ministry of Education will provide up to IN 640,000 (US$ 7,787) to establish computer labs and IN 240,000 (US$ 2,920) to set up smart classrooms.

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