Students studying in CBSE schools may soon get to study Artificial Intelligence as an elective subject.
With leaps and bounds in machine learning in the past decade and its growing impact on everyday life, it isn’t surprising that institutions are now looking to train individuals early on to understand and consequently create AI.
While the Central Board of Secondary Education’s decision to introduce AI in schools has not yet been officially announced, officials confirmed that the idea has been on the agenda of the board.
Once introduced, students of classes 8, 9 and 10 will be able to opt for it.
2018 has been an important year for the growth of AI as a potential research and job sector in India. According to data from job search site ‘Indeed’, there has been a 179 per cent increase in job seekers looking for jobs related to AI.
NITI Ayog, the brainchild think tank of the Narendra Modi-led NDA government, released a ‘national strategy’ for AI to give India an edge over the rest of the world on the subject. It also launched its #AIforAll initiative to further research and support in the sector in order to achieve inclusive growth. Studies crowned the Indian workforce as the third most skilled in AI in the world after US and China.
But is the school system in India competent enough to provide the level of expertise needed to introduce the concept of AI to children in India?
Who will teach AI?
While CBSE can introduce the subject, it will be up to the schools to provide teachers qualified enough to teach it to young students.
“Firstly, we need to undo the idea that computers cannot think, only humans can. That itself is the basis of AI, teaching machines to think and understanding how that can be harnessed to further human goals,” said Professor Gautam R Desiraju of the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru.
“For that, we need to first revisit the computer classes and clarify to students what computers can and cannot do. Currently, most schools do not even have good computer faculty,” the professor said.