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The future of AI in education looks brighter

Installing necessary safeguards to prevent data theft is critical. In education, this becomes even more challenging in the context
of young learners who, in legal terms, cannot yet provide express consent regarding the collection and use of their data.

Ritansha Laxmi

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Artificial Intelligence has become omnipresent and made inroads in all walks of life including education where AI is gathering a momentum to ease and aid the teachers and educational institutions as it shows immense potential, such as in administration, adaptive & personalised learning, reasoning, problemsolving, tutoring, grading, using language assessments and predicting the requirements of every student differently.

This article specifically analyses how Artificial Intelligence can be used to improve learning outcomes in India, presenting cases of different countries on how AI technology helped the education system, using data to improve educational equity and quality. In short, all the possibilities of AI in New Education Policy (NEP) 2020, Starting from early childhood education to professional level education.

Though AI may not replace the job of teachers but its combine use with other educational technologies as well as the teachers would give optimum support to the education system. So, the quality of education which NEP is talking about can be made available for all students.

NEW EDUCATION POLICY 2020

The New Education Policy 2020 is said to be the first education policy of the 21st century and it aims to address the many growing educational imperatives of India. The main focus of NEP 2020 is to improve the quality of education, curriculum and roping in new technologies while keeping India’s traditions and value systems intact. It ensures comprehensive and equitable quality education and to promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. And keeping all the abovementioned objectives, AI could become a promising technology to transform the education system of India.

Equitable and Inclusive Education

Every citizen must have the opportunity to dream, thrive, and contribute to the nation.

Marginalised people and communities, speciallyabled people, refugees, dropouts, and those living in isolated communities can access proper learning opportunities with the use of AI technologies. For example, telepresence robotics allow students with special needs to attend schools at home or maintain continuity of learning in emergencies or crises. In this way, it can support inclusion and ubiquitous access.

Personalise Learning & Predictive quality

 The ultimate purpose of developing AI in Education is not to replace teachers but make teachers smarter.

Currently, teachers and an educational institution cannot be able to provide individual attention to every student. However, when content is created and graded by AI, it would ensure personalized paths of learning for the children by identifying weak points for the students and providing recommendations accordingly. Essentially, an educational set-up driven by AI would give each student a personalized tutor. Personalized tutors continue to collect data points at each juncture in the child’s education journey, classification Machine Learning models could be used to predict the children at risk of dropping out and proper redressal mechanisms can be put in place. A culmination of these activities would help a higher education enrolment ratio and make sure a substantial proportion of adults in India achieve literacy, mandates in line with targets under the NEP.

 Also, Data gathered throughout the learning process may be used to power AI engines to discover better content, identify patterns of what is considered relevant by the user and transfer appropriate content to the correct individual at the appropriate time, to enable highly efficient and personalized learning plans.

Another way in which AI can help in personalised learning is that AI can take over the teacher’s routine and administrative tasks such as making assignments and answering frequently asked questions over and over again in school in which teachers spend their plenty of time. Taking over these tasks by AI will enable teachers to bring in more human capabilities such as mentorship, emotional support, interpersonal skills, to work more on students with difficulties and one-on-one communication with student etc. This is how personalisation and better learning outcomes can be promoted by using AI technologies.

CASE STUDIES

Hujiang, a private company working on digital education, developed an image and voice recognition software which is capable of understanding student facial expressions to give AI feedback online.

Liulishuo, also known as LAIX is an education company that teaches English to 600,000 students at the cost of a single teacher. It uses AI to create virtual educators.

Master Learner developed a “Superteacher” capable of answering 500 million real-time questions asked by students preparing for the Gaokao university entrance examination.

In 2016, China’s Ministry of Education established that every educational branch of local governments must allocate at least 8% of its budget to the digitisation of education. With 95% of schools connected to the internet, China is ready for the largest digital education experiment in the world. The country started to work more than 50,000 schools for automatic essay correction with a level of accuracy matching humans in 92% of the cases.

Mapping of School

Data mentioned under NEP shows that certain geographical locations require special interventions for promoting their educational development, Hence, it is advisable that the school mapping initiative to be introduced by the government so that all the schemes and policies of the government can be easily implemented to the maximum through additional concerted efforts, to truly change their educational landscape.

Also, the isolated location of small schools’ harms education and the teachinglearning process as teachers function best in communities and teams, and so do students. Small schools also cause systemic challenge for administration and management by the government. The geographical dispersion, challenging access conditions, poor academic results and dropout predictions Thus, AI can help government to recognise schools in satellite imagery, thus rendering unmapped schools visible.

More examples

AI has begun opening up its potential in research for sustainable development. The Inter-American Development Bank organised a contest “New debates, Data for development” and financed the study “Big Data for public policy in education: the Chilean case”. This study talked about how Chilean researchers used open data published by the government regarding social, geographical and educational contexts. The study was able to predict student dropout by localising the geographical distances from houses to schools. By using 127 characteristics of students and their locations, an algorithm was created by researchers which develop a “geography of educational opportunities”, with a detailed map of schools, access, dropout predictions and academic results.

Coding

Coding in educational curricula meant “embedding thinking skills – not IT skills.

Introduction of Coding in the middle stage of learning by NEP. This underlines that it´s not enough for teachers to have certain skills to manage digital technologies and to teach them to their students, but also that teachers must help their students to be capable of collaborating, doing mathematical and computational thinking and being creative in the use of digital technologies. In a growing technological world, these skills are very important for India’s future and leadership role in the numerous upcoming fields and professions that will involve artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data science, etc.

 In 2018, Twenty-two schools in Malaysia have been selected as #mydigitalmaker Champion Schools, i.e. schools funded by MDEC to implement the #mydigitalmaker framework, including the establishment of a Digital Maker Hub, which is a key feature of the #mydigitalmaker Movement (My Digital Maker, 2018). A Digital Maker Hub functions as a workshop or laboratory with a structured learning programme, whereby students have access to various tools to create and collaborate on tech projects (Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation Ministry of Education, 2017). All Digital Maker Hubs contain a ‘creative lab’ where students can convert their ideas into code in any programming language, and a prototyping studio, where they can test and see their products at work.

Promoting Multilingualism

 It is a well-known fact that young children can learn and grasp non-trivial concepts more quickly in their home language/mother tongue.

 AI disguised as Real-time text to speech and text translation systems can be used to disseminate information seamlessly in the regional language, in line with the National Education Policy 2020 that has encouraged learning of mother-tongue languages. 

 ETHICAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE CHALLENGES & RECOMMENDATIONS

The education sector in India has opened and will continue to open multiple avenues of AI intervention. It could be a difficult road for the nation to achieve the targets under the NEP 2020 on Quality Education without harnessing this superpower, often believed to be the new revolution for the 21st century.

If we are headed towards the datafication of education, the quality of data should be the chief concern. It´s essential to develop a framework on state capabilities to improve collection and systematisation of data. Here, AI developments should be considered as an opportunity to increase the importance of data in educational system management and to develop quality and inclusive data systems.

 Ethics and transparency in the collection, use and dissemination of data opens up many ethical concerns about access to the education system, one-on-one recommendation to students, the concentration of personal data, liability, data privacy and ownership of data feeding algorithms. AI regulation will thus require public awareness on ethics, accountability, transparency and security.

Recommendations

The state must create partnerships with the private sector to enlarge the AI ecosystem because the public sector will not be able to innovate at such a complex technological level alone.

Private companies like SkoolDesk (Uganda), Siyavula (South Africa and Nigeria), Virtual Learning Africa and TopDog (South Africa) that develop educational content for students of all levels in Africa.

People are also concerned with the ethical consequences of AI in education. Therefore, new regulations to be introduced to secure the use of AI by private companies in terms of data use, privacy and the transparency on how algorithms are designed. To address ethical issues, it´s essential to consult experts and form teams to create blueprints and roadmaps in the uncertainty of the near future. Data privacy and security almost immediately come up in discussions regarding data ethics. The main challenge lies in being able to use personal data while ensuring that personally identifiable information and individual privacy preferences are protected. Installing necessary safeguards to prevent data theft is also critical. In education, this becomes even more challenging in the context of young learners, who, in legal terms, cannot yet provide express consent regarding the collection and use of their data.

To conclude, Good networks, as well as continuous and reliable connectivity, need to be provided even in remote areas of the country for seamless online and digital education and to make NEP not good only on paper but in reality.

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Policy & Politics

Textiles sector poised for a $100 bn export: Vikram Jardosh, MoS for Textiles

Industry should take full advantage full advantage of the global market shifts: Secretary, Ministry of Textiles.

Tarun Nangia

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The Government has set a strong aspirational goal of achieving $100 billion from textiles exports in thenext 5 years and we will remain committed to ensure implementation of all development schemes and bring in many more schemes in pursuit of this aspiration, said Darshana Vikram Jardosh, Minister of State for Textiles, Ministry of Textiles, Government of India.

Government has already announced MITRA scheme to attract new investments and build mega textile parks in the country. Other significant programs including the launch of PLI scheme for achieving manufacturing excellence and RoDTEP for enhancing export competitiveness will help India to position it as a global leader in the sector.

The Minister was speaking at the inauguration of TEXCON: The 13th edition of the International Conference on Textiles & Apparel organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry today. A specialCII-Kearney report was also released on “Creating a competitive advantage for India in the global textiles and apparel industry”. The report covers the entire textile value chain and highlights the imperatives for both government and industry to bring global positioning for the sector.

Speaking on the occasion, Upendra Prasad Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Textiles said that the Government is making all efforts to proactively address the challenges and facilitate the creation of an enabling environment for the growth and development of the Textiles and Apparel sector. “We are capable to meet the domestic as well as the global market demands. I would like to urge the industry to take full advantage of the present global market shifts in establishing the excellence and prominence of India globally.”

Dilip Gaur, Chairman, CII National Committee on Textiles and Apparel & Managing Director, Grasim Industries Limited, Aditya Birla Group said, achieving breakthrough growth in Indian textiles will imply doubling down on multiple areas. The key ones include increasing share in MMF fiber and yarn, become regional leaders in apparel and fabrics and further augmenting India’s position as global home textiles leader. “Government of India has already shown strong commitment to this sector by launching multiple mega schemes in recent times which set a very positive tone for the future and to energize all industry stakeholders to take necessary steps forward in achieving the goals”, he added.

Kulin Lalbhai, Co-Chairman, CII National Committee on Textiles and Apparel & Executive Director, Arvind Ltd said, “The growing sentiment around “China plus one” sourcing is a golden opportunity for Indian textiles to stage a turnaround and gain back its leadership position as a lead exporting economy.” India is much better placed to maximize this opportunity as compared to competitors like Vietnam and Bangladesh because of India’s strategic depth.

Dilip Gaur, Chairman, CII National Committee on Textiles and Apparel & Managing Director, Grasim Industries Limited, Aditya Birla Group said, achieving breakthrough growth in Indian textiles will imply doubling down on multiple areas. The key ones include increasing share in MMF fiber and yarn, become regional leaders in apparel and fabrics.

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Piyush Goyal calls for free trade within rules-based multilateral trading system

We must work to resolve issues posed by Non-Tariff Barriers in international trade: Piyush Goyal.

Tarun Nangia

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The Minister of Commerce and Industries, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Textiles, Piyush Goyaltoday called for free trade within a rules-based multilateral trading system with honesty and transparency as core values. He added that wherever India faces an unfair or unjust treatment, it will take reciprocal action. Shri Goyal also emphasized upon the need for resolution of issues posed by Non- Tariff Barriers in international trade. He was addressing the 54th Convocation of Indian Institute of Foreign Trade in New Delhi today.

Referring to India’s recent achievement of 100 crore vaccines, he said that the milestone was the result a collective effort of 130 crore Indians and a proof of India’s ‘Atmanirbhartha’ and its resolve to leverage its capacities to the best possible extent and to serve the needs of the entire world.

Piyush Goyal said that a convocation is an important ceremony that marks the next step in the journey of the graduates when they grow from ‘acquisition of knowledge’ to ‘application of knowledge’.

He commended IIFT for contributing immensely to India’s external trade since its establishment in 1963. He said that IIFT has been widely recognized for its strong knowledge &resource base and has been consistently ranked amongst theleading business schools in the Asia-Pacific Region.

Underscoring the need for a committed and vibrant leadership in the field of academics in India, Shri Piyush Goyal called for enhancing exposure of our students to the best of technology, foreign law, economics, and international trade. Calling for tie-ups of Indian Universities with institutions of eminence across the world, he asked Indian universities to enter into sustained collaborations with such institutions.

Encouraging academic institutions to engage on a much larger scale with the industry, Shri Goyal asked students to take up internships with both the public sector and private players. Speaking of the opportunities offered by online education, Shri Goyal called for more exploration into online and hybrid modes of education.

Piyush Goyal told the students that they were graduating amidst one of the most disruptive events in the collective memory of our times. He emphasized that in the post-COVID ‘New Normal’, we can no longer play by the old rules. He called for using the disruptive interventions brought about by COVID to reorient our conventional, traditional thinking processes. Offering two cents from his versatile experience in foreign trade, Shri Goyal urged the students to ‘Learn, Unlearn, Relearn and Repeat’.

Piyush Goyal said that despite challenges, India under PM Modi has aimed to convert a crisis into an opportunity for transformation. He said that India is being looked upon as a trusted partner & we are engaging with like-minded nations e.g. EU, UK, Canada, Australia & UAE for early conclusion of FTAs.

Referring to India’s ambitious programmes like the PM GatiShakti National Master Plan for infrastructure and multimodal connectivity, Shri Goyal said that there was a need for planned, focussed efforts to create infrastructure in the country by breaking silos and bringing in synergy. “There is a need to bring in quality and productivity in all we do. A ‘Made in India’ product must be a guarantee to the world”, he added.

Applauding the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s visionary leadership, Goyal said that India’s decisive leadership, strong industry, vibrant media and its resolve to uphold the rule of law, had made India a trusted partner to world nations.

Lamenting that India had suffered from several missed opportunities in the past, Shri Goyal expressed the hope that we would now be able to seize every opportunity available to us to grow. “The past is a stepping stone, not a milestone”, he added.

Observing that contemporary India was confident & yet dissatisfied, he said that dissatisfied, confident people are the ones who would change the world. He urged fellow Indians to never settle for less and to work together to make India a global leader.

On the occasion, Shri Goyal presented several awards for excellence to graduating students.

Encouraging academic institutions to engage on a much larger scale with the industry, Shri Goyal asked students to take up internships with both the public sector and private players. Speaking of the opportunities offered by online education, Shri Goyal called for more exploration into online and hybrid modes of education.

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Builder hardware products from India have considerable global demand, says Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash

Tarun Nangia

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Builder hardware industry is linked to the construction equipment industry where the revenue was valued at US$ 6.5 billion in 2020 and construction market is expected to be the third largest globally by 2025: MSME Secretary B B Swain

India is the 17th largest supplier of builder hardware products and is on its way to fulfil the government ambition to become a global manufacturing hub of builder hardware products.

Builder Hardware is another performer making India as one of the top 20 suppliers with a 1.2 percent share in the world builder hardware export pie, said Som Parkash, Minister of State of Commerce & Industry

While addressing the Builder Hardware Expo, organised by EEPC India, virtually today, the Minister noted that builder hardware products from India have considerable demand across the continents.

Indian builder hardware product is one of the best performing segments in the Indian engineering goods sector which has been the key driver of merchandise exports from the country.

“Builder hardware industry is linked to the construction equipment industry where the revenue was valued at US$ 6.5 billion in 2020 and the construction market is expected to be the third largest globally by 2025,” said Mr B B Swain, Secretary, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME).

India is the 17th largest supplier of builder hardware products and is on its way to fulfil the government ambition to become a global manufacturing hub of builder hardware products.

Swain stated that EEPC India with more than 60 per cent of its members representing MSME sector took several initiatives even during pandemic to provide global interaction opportunities to small players in the form of webinars and virtual Expos.

“The Government of India has been proactive to ensure that all the benefits of the MSME schemes reach the intended beneficiaries in time,” said Mr Swain.

EEPC India Chairman Mahesh Desai said that the four-day virtual Expo would provide opportunity to the Indian exhibitors to display an array of over 200 domestic builder hardware products to overseas buyers from nine focus regions and trade blocs.

“The buyers would comprise contractors, builders, building engineers, architects, landscape artists, interior designers, consultants and project management professionals,” he said.

Speaking at the Expo, EEPC India Vice Chairman Arun Kumar Garodia said India belongs to the league of leading builder hardware manufacturing and exporting nations.

“The Government of India has now set a National Mission of merchandise exports to reach US$ 400 billion within this fiscal, US$ 500 billion by FY-24 and US$ 1 trillion by FY-28 by making Indian products the only choice for global buyers,” he said.

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MOU SIGNED BETWEEN J&K AND GOVERNMENT OF DUBAI FOR REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT, INDUSTRIAL PARKS, SUPER SPECIALITY HOSPITALS

MoU will give UT a big developmental push: Piyush Goyal

Tarun Nangia

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Jammu and Kashmir administration has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Dubai for real estate development, industrial parks, IT towers, multipurpose towers, logistics, medical college, super specialty hospital and more.

Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal highlighted the significance of the day and said that with the signing of the MoU with Dubai Government, the world has started to recognize the pace with which Jammu and Kashmir is traversing on the development bandwagon. This MoU gives out a strong signal to the entire world that the way India is transforming into a global power, Jammu & Kashmir is having a significant role in that as well.

This MoU is a milestone after which the investment will pour in from entire globe and is a big developmental push. Different entities from Dubai have shown keen interest in investment. Development has to be aspired on all fronts and we are on track, he added.

Goyal thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Shri Amit Shah for their focus and commitment towards the development of UT of Jammu & Kashmir. Recent industrial package of 28,400 Crore rupees is a testimony towards ensured development.

Terming it a momentous occasion for the UT of Jammu and Kashmir, Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Shri Manoj Sinha said that this development journey will help the Union Territory to scale new heights in Industrialization and sustainable growth.

Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal highlighted the significance of the day and said that with the signing of the MoU with Dubai Government, the world has started to recognize the pace with which Jammu and Kashmir is traversing on the development bandwagon.

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India is working towards bridging digital divide in Africa: V. Muraleedharan

‘India has adopted an approach that facilitates development of human capital in the continent with the larger objective of harnessing socio-economic growth,’ said V. Muraleedharan, Minister of State for External Affairs & Parliamentary Affairs, Government of India

Tarun Nangia

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‘India is working towards bridging digital divide in Africa and has adopted an approach that facilitates development of human capital in the continent with the larger objective of harnessing socio-economic growth”, mentioned V Muraleedharan, Hon’ble Minister of State for External Affairs & Parliamentary Affairs, Government of India while addressing the Inaugural Session at the 2nd edition of the India Africa Higher Education and Skill Development Summit organised by Confederation of Indian Industry in partnership with Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India today.

Muraleedharan elucidated that India is best positioned to partner Africa as we can offer affordable and high-quality education and skill development opportunities and make the young population employable and allow them to participate in growing economies of African countries. Elucidating on the strong Indo-African partnership in the domain of higher education and skill development, the Minister stated that capacity building and providing higher education opportunities with for the socio-economic development of our partner nations is a major element of our Foreign Policy.

India has long standing ties in education with Africa and over 2000 Indian faculty members have been involved in teaching and research activities of Ethiopian nations. Further, defence academies and colleges are being set up in nations like Nigeria and Tanzania. With a view to promote students from African nations to study in India, several initiatives have been undertaken like the Study in INDIA, ITEC programmes, Sir C V Raman Scholarship, collaboration of Department of Science & Technology with the World Bank to develop centres of excellence in African countries and the launch of e-VidyaBharti and e-ArogyaBharti Project, among others.

Dr Sarah Ruto, Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of Education Republic of Kenya, emphasised that Kenya is working towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development Goals with a special focus on select education-based SDG Goals. She mentioned that Kenya has a competency-based curriculum to meet the rising demands for tertiary education and there is focus on alumni network funding as well as partnerships to promote skill development.

Buti Kgwaridi Manamela, Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science & Innovation, Government of Republic of South Africa informed that a bilateral cooperation treaty is being negotiated in education for exchange of students as well as to share best practices. He added that forums like IBSA and BRICS have also provided opportunities to address the developmental needs of the nations.

Dame Diop, Minister of Employment, Vocational Training, Apprenticeship and Inclusion, Government of Republic of Senegal informed that the Plan for an Emerging Senegal (PES) which harmonises national policies particularly for human capital development and vocational training is a major step towards promoting employability. The Minister commended India for committing 130 million Rupees to Senegal to create science and technology institutes.

Dr Douglas Letsholathebe, Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Government of Republic of Botswana highlighted that the commonality of English language based higher education system offers scope for greater cooperation between the countries. The Minister stated that the Botswana Vision 2036 aims at transformation from a resource-based to an all-ingredient knowledge-based economy focussing on education, training, and human resource development systems. Expressing the commitment to the youth, Botswana has joined the Generation Unlimited initiative as a leader thereby, playing a crucial role in forging multisector partnerships across geographies to provide greater access to skilling and livelihood opportunities.

S Kuppuswamy, Co-Chair, CII Africa Committee & Advisor-Group Finance & Special Projects, Shapoorji Pallonji Group, said that the Indo-African collaboration has strengthened in the post pandemic era as the nations are collectively focusing on new age learning models and enhancing the role of technology in education. Emphasizing on the strong multilateral cooperation with Africa, it was highlighted that one of the most popular programs, the Study in India commonly called EDCIL offered by Ministry of Education offers around 900 scholarships to African students to study in India and Indian universities are also investing in promoting their services to the African community.

The two day Summit organised in partnership with Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India will focus on Online education, Study in India and Skills Development programmes. Over 6 ministers from Africa and India participated at the Summit and event saw online registration of 600 delegates from India and Africa.

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Policy & Politics

INDEX NUMBERS OF WHOLESALE PRICE IN INDIA FOR THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER, 2021(BASE YEAR: 2011-12)

Tarun Nangia

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Note: P: Provisional, F: Final, * Annual rate of WPI inflation calculated over the corresponding month of previous year

The month over month change in WPI index for the month of September, 2021 (as compared to August, 2021) was 0.07 %. The monthly change in WPI index for last six-month is summarized below:

Annex-I

All India Wholesale Price Indices and Rates of Inflation (Base Year: 2011-12=100) for September, 2021

Annex-II

Note: * = Provisional, Mf/o = Manufacture of

Note: * = Provisional, Mf/o = Manufacture of

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