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Madhya Pradesh, India to Roll Out AI Course in Schools

Last week, the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, announced that the state will launch a 240-hour course on artificial intelligence (AI) for students from Grade 8 in July. The decision regarding the commencement of the course was taken during the state cabinet’s two days special brainstorming session held in Pachmarhi. The course will initially be unveiled in 53 schools, but more are expected to be added to the list later on. The government also said it would provide 40 computers to each of the selected schools.

According to a report from the government’s AI portal, the announcement of the AI course comes at a time when the schools are reopening offline after two years, with many students already used to the idea of an online mode of learning. A UNESCO report released in 2021 stated that there are approximately 120,000 single-teacher schools in India, of which 89% are in rural areas. The country needs almost one million additional teachers to meet this shortage.

The government expects the introduction of AI to be a solution to the problem. Experts in the field note that with the increasing density of the population, it is difficult for a single teacher to know and improve the skills and needs of every student. However, AI programmes and learning apps can access the learning graph and help them guide and train based on their specific requirement. The government believes it will make education more effective.

India has been pushing for AI-based solutions in public schools. Earlier in March, OpenGov Asia reported that select government school complexes in the state of Telangana will deploy AI tools to automate several processes such as formative assessments, marking attendance, and logging mid-day meals data, among others. The tools will be built by the International Institute of Information Technology in Hyderabad (IIIT-Hyderabad) and will be used to aid English teaching as well as other languages later on.

The idea is to see how AI-based cameras, speech recognition technologies, and other tools can be used to mark attendance, midday meals, and other schooling activities. For this, IIIT-Hyderabad will collaborate with start-ups or technology companies that have already developed technologies for these challenges. It will also build technologies that are in research. IIIT-Hyderabad will use an AI-based camera system and model it to assess the students on these attributes. It can generate a report that the teachers can use to plan additional support for the students who are graded low. The teacher can validate the recommendations and the algorithm will learn from that. The same can also be used for marking attendance.

Furthermore, introducing AI to students at a young age will help them adapt to the job market, the report added. There is an increasing demand for IT experts in the country and the government plans to bridge the gap. The AI market in India is expected to grow at a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.2% and reach US$7.8 billion in total revenues by 2025.

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