With the advancement of technology, artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) is on the verge of becoming an integral part of every industry, and education is no exception. “With AI being enabled, learning can be customised for students. In the last few years, due to the emergence of machine learning, data has been treated as a prime knowledge resource and it is valued. Simultaneously, tech-based industry has upped the demand for AI/ML rapidly, therefore more students are taking up the course due to good career opportunities,” Rajesh Khanna, professor, president, NIIT University, said.
Besides courses, it is has been observed that the such technology is being leveraged by ed-tech platforms as an business strategy enhancing tool. Starting from career counselling to exam proctoring, ed-techs have utilised AI/ML to accelerate the accuracy and productivity. “There are multiple options when it comes to career counselling and opportunities. AI/ML can provide a good fit option for students when the right algorithm is taken into consideration,” Rohan Pasari, CEO, Cialfo, said.
Further, AI/ML is used to conduct various tests online, so much so that it being now believed that it puts a seal to the authenticity of the process, as it gives the ability to remotely invigilate the test. “On photographs taken at an interval, an AI algorithm is run to analyse the accuracy and authenticity of the examination. In CY21, Mettle conducted 20 million assessments across the globe on the online platform, out of which 16 million were remotely invigilated,” Siddhartha Gupta, CEO, Mercer Mettle, a tech-based exam assessment platform, said.
According to Rackspace’s AI/ML Annual Research Report 2022, AI/ML has been considered as the top two most important strategic technologies, along with cybersecurity. The report shows that up to 72% of respondents have noted AI/ML as part of their business strategy, IT strategy or both. “Initially, the kind of industries which would have benefited from AI/ML were the financial market based companies. But the time has come that heavy machinery is now opening up to AI and ML to figure out and address the problems in a more distinct and accurate manner,” Khanna added.
Although penetration of tech-based education can upskill the students, it is believed that enabling technologies is associated with various challenges and risk factors. The ministry report on school education 2020-21 revealed that post-pandemic, the dropout rate of students increased to 8.9% from 2.6% as the main reason being closure of schools and irregular online classes. In places like rural India, accessibility has always been a point of contention, which has also resulted in a digital divide. “Whenever a new technology is enabled, the magnification of inequality also takes place. Places where devices and connectivity are not strongly available, they will definitely suffer. But the gap has to be filled by non-government orgnisation (NGOs) and government intervention by providing ways to resolve the issues,” Khanna said.