AI in Indian Education System: Will AI replace teachers?

Original article was published by Soma Dass on Artificial Intelligence on Medium

AI in Indian Education System: Will AI replace teachers?

We all are aware that AI is ‘The Tomorrow’ and tomorrow of a nation is built by education. So, quite intuitively AI needs to be incorporated in education, both in making education more effective and educating all about AI. In this article, I will be talking more about about how AI is impacting education system in India (two areas I am supremely excited about).

And yes, the big question in the title at the end. Hop on!

Photo by Photos Hobby on Unsplash

Need is the mother of invention

Quite cliché but very appropriate. Before we dig into what all is being done, isn’t it better to know a little about why we felt its need in the first place.

Photo by Franki Chamaki on Unsplash
  • 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.
  • Another big issue is low retention rates. How making huge advancements will prove beneficial if we fail to retain the mere students in the schools.
  • Other issues are poor learning outcomes, lack of interactive pedagogy and ineffective remedial instruction, inadequate attention/action for likely drop outs, large teacher vacancies due to uneven distribution across locations, professional development courses/training, low adoption of existing technologies.

Those wanting to look into more stats, here you go!

There is absolutely no point on fussing over problems, if they don’t accompany solutions. So, some of the proposed solutions are

  • Adaptive learning tools for customised learning
  • Intelligent and interactive tutoring systems
  • Predictive tools to inform pre-emptive action for students predicted to drop out of school
  • Automated rationalisation of teachers
  • Customised professional development courses.

I hope you see where I am going with terms like ‘predictive’, ‘automated’.

So, moving ahead…

The Present of AI in Education in India

  • AI is being used to identify potential school dropout rate in Andhra Pradesh is being used to identify potential school dropout rate in Andhra Pradesh
  • ‘Tara’ — the proprietary virtual voice teacher of Learning Matters
  • Use of AI in Private Education Sector

Many companies like Toppr, Edugorilla, Embibe and LeverageEdu are utilizing AI and machine learning to analyse data from schools and institutions to capture students strengths and weakness and provide customised remedies.

A lot more is happening with every new day. I will cover those in another article.

But do you see AI replacing teachers? Do You?

Lets see if it is going happen in the, say, next ten years.

The Future of AI in Education

“Indian Education Sector Is Ripe For Disruption By Artificial Intelligence”-Niti Ayog

One of the targets under the agenda of Quality Education says that by 2030, our nation must substantially increase the supply of qualified teachers. While it may be difficult to fill the large demand-supply gap that exists, it is possible that the teachers be made more efficient.

Here are some ways AI can do so…

  • Real-time text to speech and text translation systems

The Draft National Education Policy 2019 encouraged learning of mother-tongue languages. These translation systems can be integrated with DISKHA, Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing, the digital infrastructure that has been set up by MHRD or with e-PATHSHALA, (initiatives under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan). For example, a textbook available on e-PATHSHALA in Hindi only, text translation services can make it available in other regional languages and make it more accessible, thus meeting the demand better than previously.

With Draft National Education Policy 2019 prioritizing online learning in its agenda, machine learning methods such as NLP could be used for automated grading of assessments on a large scale on platforms such as DIKSHA, e-PATHSHALA and SWAYAM (Study Webs of Active Learning for Young Aspiring Minds) — catering to both objective and subjective questions.

Educational infrastructure powered by AI would give each student of India a personalized tutor by identifying pain points for the students and providing recommendations accordingly.

  • Supervised classification models to reduce dropout rates

As these personalized tutors continue to collect data points at each juncture in the child’s education journey, classification ML models could be used to predict the children at risk of dropping out and proper redressal mechanisms can be put in place.

It can be introduced and integrated with UDISE+ (Unified District Information System for Education) — an application that is one of the largest Management Information Systems on School Education, thus leaving the teacher with more time for what he/she is meant for ‘teaching’.

They could be trained on subject matter and a good percentage of doubts of the students could be answered instantly, thereby reducing current workload of teachers who could focus on more creative tasks.

No, I have not forgotten to address the elephant in the room, “Will AI replace teachers?”

The ONS analysed the jobs of 20 million people in 2017 and came up with the following stats!

Despite the stats, as far as Indian Education system is concerned, AI is seeming to act as a support and assistance to teachers and not as a substitute (at least next 10 years). Don’t you agree?

“The end of surprise, would be the end of science.”- Robert Friedel

On this note, lets hope for more surprises that benefits us to build a better education system and consequently a stronger tomorrow.