It is not news that India has an acute shortage of teachers at elementary, secondary and even at the higher levels of schools.
According to the statistics given by the Human Resource & Development (HRD)Ministry of India in 2016, there is a shortage of 1 million teachers across the country. In the case of Universities and Colleges, there is a chronic shortage of faculty and the problem of finding qualified people to fill this gap has become even more complicated.
In such a scenario, how can India, a country with the second largest population in the world, cope with the challenge of providing quality education to all ?
Several education experts are saying that our system needs a revolutionary technological intervention. An intervention that would make it more inclusive and accessible. Bringing Artificial Intelligence (AI) to the classrooms in India might just be the solution that we have been looking for.
Why AI is the way forward?
Right from e-commerce to healthcare to education, in each and every sector, the intervention of AI has increased by multifold. Many companies are now investing in developing their own version of AI and Machine learning. So, what exactly is AI and why it is called as the next big thing?
Artificial Intelligence is defined as the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior. It makes our digital, automated processes smarter. It also enhances the reliability quotient of any technology. So, what we used to see in the Science-Fiction movies is now a reality.
Also, each and every decision that we make is now data-driven. The best example of the same is the online recommendations that we receive while surfing retail websites such as Amazon or Flipkart. It is the Machine learning technology that recommends your products based on your previous purchases.
Now, Imagine using similar technology to track the performance of an individual student based on his previous grades, participation, and performances. Won’t it help the student to enhance his or her performance? Therefore, AI has been taken seriously to literally fix the many loopholes in the education sector across the globe.
Bill Gates through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has invested more than $120 in personalized learning. The idea is to develop software that creates individual lesson plans for students based on their performance. The amount itself confirms that the world is taking AI seriously and so should we.
Let’s explore the possibilities and effects that such a step would have on our society and educational system.
Streamlining Education System:
The best examples of AI that we know of are ‘Cortana’ by Windows, ‘Siri’ by Apple and ‘Alexa’ by Amazon. These are voice recognition systems that can imitate human intelligence. These systems are not only helping us to gain knowledge but also to enhance our decision-making ability.
This technology is also known as machine learning which has been used in certain areas to track vital issues pertaining to education. For example, the Andhra Pradesh government has conducted an experiment in 17 districts. One of them is Visakhapatnam.
An application based on Machine learning technology collected and analyzed the data of students related to various dynamics such as academic performance, the reason for school dropouts, quality, and skills of teachers, social demographics, gender, etc. This application has found predictive patterns such as probable students who would drop out. The state government has acquired a list of thousands of students who might drop out from the schools in the academic year of 2018-2019.
Such experiments are a proof of AI working as a catalyst in streamlining the education system and helping institutions make better decisions. Implementing AI at such a large scale would definitely help us to fix the loopholes in the current system.
As we have already learned that there is a huge dearth of teachers in India. Moreover, the standard of curriculum and teaching has not improved at a faster rate. Many articles in the mainstream media have repeatedly highlighted that our students are denied of good quality education. AI can be a solution to this problem.
The most important reason is that AI systems can adapt to Individual student learning and grasping abilities. It can also find out his or her strengths and weaknesses. How much ever we try a single teacher per classroom is not enough to fulfill the needs of all 60 students.
In this scenario, enabling students with AI systems in schools and classrooms or at their homes might be the solution to solve the problem of low quality and inaccessibility at one stroke.
Assistance to Teachers
Teachers have to handle multiple responsibilities such as evaluation, grading, paper setting, creating mark sheets and tracking the performance of every student. If these tasks are made easy for them, then they would focus more on course development, teaching quality and skill development.
AI systems can assist teachers in all these tasks, making these tasks not only automated but also intelligent. With AI systems in place, it will be easier for teachers to focus on students rather than mundane administrative tasks.
Accessible and Inclusive Education
India has always promoted the policy of Education for all. As of now, India has over 600 million young people. All of them deserve a good education, skills, and jobs.
AI education can become more accessible and inclusive at the same time. Various tutoring programs, learning applications with skill-based curriculum are being developed across the globe. These AI-enabled systems will bring global classrooms at your fingertips. It will not only empower students but also teachers in upgrading themselves with current trends.
Such systems could be a boon for rural education. Students living in the most remote parts of India would be able to learn the way it is learned in an urban setting.
Proctored Online Assessments
Remote Proctoring is the new technology that can help to simplify the exam invigilation process. Students can appear for exam from any location classroom/home. System is able to invigilate such exam remotely using remote Proctoring.
It uses a web camera attached to the computer system to authorize remote students. Many education institutes, corporates, universities have started using this technology to simplify the examination process with the artificial intelligence of Remote Proctoring.
Physical Answer sheet evaluation is one of the pain areas for university or education institutions. Many entities are moving towards an onscreen evaluation system as it is intelligent and auto-calculates the score.
It also ensures that examiner has truly verified all pages of the answer sheet. It also saves logistical cost of handling physical answer sheets. It can help you to automate result processing.
AI in Indian classrooms is the way to go forward.
To sum up, here is a recent quote Bill Gates, “The idea that you could talk to an [virtual] advisor that would understand different misconceptions and arbitrary linguistics around it, that’ll certainly come in the next decade. And they’ll be a very nice supplement and the beauty of this is it could be completely free.”
About the Author
Swapnil has more than 15 years of experience in the Information Technology sector. He has been working on digital platforms in the education sector. Swapnil is an avid reader and writes articles on technology and leading developments in the education and IT sectors.
Swapnil is the founder of Splashgain, an Education Technology company from India working on various innovative EdTech platforms for examinations, proctoring solutions, digital admission process and more. Splashgain has been working with many educational institutes and universities for AI-powered innovations and solutions to transform the education sector.
Splashgain has also filed a patent for an innovative product based on AI.