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India Unveils AI Innovation Challenge for Students

The National e-Governance Division (NeGD), under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), has launched an innovation challenge, the ‘YUVAi- Youth for Unnati and Vikas with AI’ programme. It aims at addressing the growing skills gap and building digital readiness among the country’s youth.

According to a government report, YUVAi will foster a deeper understanding of artificial intelligence (AI) and equip school students from classes 8 to 12 across the nation with AI skills, empowering them to become “human-centric designers and users of AI”. The free programme offers an applied learning experience for students to understand and identify how AI technology can tackle critical problems and support the inclusive development of the nation.

It will be conducted in three phases. In the initial phase, teachers will be selected to identify students from their respective schools and share their details with the organising team. In the second phase, online orientation sessions will be conducted for registered students around core AI concepts by experts to facilitate understanding of the ideation process. In the final phase, students will be encouraged to submit ideas (individually or in pairs) through a 120-second video explaining a proposed AI-enabled solution for any one of the eight core themes: agriculture, healthcare, education, environment and clean energy, transportation, rural development, smart cities, and law and justice. The top projects will be shortlisted post evaluation by an expert jury.

In the second phase, shortlisted students will attend an online deep dive AI training as well as a three-day face-to-face boot camp. They will be provided with adequate mentorship and guidance by YUVAi coaches. After the mentorship camps, students will use their newly gained knowledge to develop AI-enabled innovations and projects on any of the eight core themes and submit final entries. The most innovative AI-based solutions will be announced and invited to a national showcase and felicitation ceremony. Students will also be awarded for the most inclusive project, most futuristic project, and most sustainable project.

In its last iteration (Responsible AI for Youth), the programme offered select students the opportunity to travel to Gandhinagar city in Gujarat to interact with and showcase their solutions to the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, at the Digital India Week 2022. As a part of the programme, 20 students from across the country also got the opportunity to travel to Delhi to interact with and present their work to the union ministers of electronics and information technology and railways and communications.

Apart from challenges, programmes, and hackathons, state governments have been urged to offer courses and initiatives in AI and other emerging technologies to bolster the rate of digital literacy in the country. In May, the Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) and the Indian Institute of Technology of Delhi (IIT- Delhi) announced they would jointly design a curriculum for schools that include robotics, AI, machine learning, and data science. The curriculum is for grades 9 to 12 in schools affiliated with the CISCE board, as OpenGov Asia reported earlier.

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