The Central Board of Secondary Eduction (CBSE) has decided to include artificial intelligence (AI) as an optional subject for students of classes 8, 9 and 10 at schools affiliated to its curriculum. The subject would be introduced as an optional 'skill' subject, the board decided after holding consultations with stakeholders, including schools already teaching the subject.
Most experts see this as a positive move that should go a long way in better equipping school students with the latest technological advances. However, they emphasised the need to also bring teachers up to pace with the technology so that they can impart the knowledge better. “It is a bold step. However, the most critical aspect of an AI education is to help teachers improve their own skills and work effectively with students on using the potential of deep learning or natural language processing in the core curriculum. In the absence of such cohesion, adoption on the ground will be slow. Hence, we need a consensus between teachers and policy makers on an appropriate strategy for successful integration,” says Nuriya Ansari, managing partner at Delhi-based not-for-profit organisation that works in the field of education (Learning Links Foundation).
CBSE has said that the syllabus for AI as a subject will be drafted for all the three classes soon. Also, to help schools include it in their curriculum from next academic session, the board will help them in capacity building for teaching-learning on the new subject.
AI has emerged as a key technology trend. Analysts predict that people with knowledge of technologies like machine learning and AI would constitute the majority at workforces in future. Therefore, CBSE’s plan to include AI as a subject opens avenues for students to build their skills around this technology from the school level itself.
Speaking on the development, Nirmala Krishnan, general manager (education), JSW Foundation, part of the O P Jindal group, said: “The current CBSE curriculum can address basic skills in science, mathematics and language. However, students face a contrast when they enter workspaces. Therefore, the decision is much in line with the process to prepare students through 'Education for Life'. We must note that the prospect of future jobs might remain unknown, but this technology is here to stay.”
On CBSE’s support to schools’ capacity building exercise, Krishnan said: “CBSE is known to eminently assist schools in capacity building of teachers. It also uses technology to reach out faster and has a team of advisors to strategise the implementation of new ideas.”
“The world is contemplating the impact of AI. We have to keep a faster pace in enriching our students with AI because they are already using the technology and will be in a better position to use it and find solutions when equipped with the knowledge of AI”, added Krishnan.