The government of Madhya Pradesh is all set to introduce a course in artificial intelligence (AI) for students in grades 8 and above – an initiative that Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan claims would be the state’s first in the country to do so. would do.
First in India?
It would be the first time AI is taught as a subject in schools. The Central Council of Secondary Education (CBSE) had also introduced AI as a subject in schools. But the board only teaches it for almost 12 hours, so it doesn’t get a green signal to label it as a topic. MP, on the other hand, will spend at least 240 hours teaching AI, making it the first state in the country to introduce it as a subject.
The initiative is overseen by the State Minister of School Education Inder Singh Parmar and the MP State Open School Education Board (MPSOSEB). The state aims to start teaching AI from July this year, when the new session begins.
“We selected 53 schools where AI is taught as a subject in grades above 8. This will be a nearly 240-hour course and MP will be the first state in the country to teach AI as a subject in school. For now, we have selected 53 schools, but we will gradually add more to the list,” Parmar told biharengineering.in.
The state has also “arranged 40 computers for children in every school (where this initiative is being introduced),” Parmar said.
Collaboration with Microsoft
In the first year, this course is taught by experts from Microsoft. The tech giant has signed an MoU with MPSOSEB, a senior official told biharengineering.in on condition of anonymity. “Teachers are already trained to some degree and the first year, experts from Microsoft will be teaching this topic, while school teachers will observe the lessons as part of their training. From next year, teachers at school will take over their lessons,” the official said.
Microsoft confirmed its partnership with biharengineering.in and added that it has also shared student and faculty handbooks on AI along with teaching materials. “The collaboration also included teacher training on enabling hybrid learning in Teams and exposure to various collaborative tools for assessment, accessibility and learning how to use AI features in Microsoft Office. Microsoft has also conducted Education Transformation Workshops for 52 school principals in the MP state,” a Microsoft spokesperson said, adding that the 53rd school is in trial mode.
“Teachers were enrolled in Microsoft Educator Center to start their online learning journey and earn Microsoft Innovative Educator badges, introducing them to pedagogical innovations. The effort led to a positive impact that reached more than 1,000 teachers and a total of 45,000 users in the education segment in the state,” the spokesperson added.
The teachers who are trained both online and offline by Microsoft experts have been nominated by the state government and the training courses are funded by the tech giant. “The master trainer teachers train other teachers in the schools… In addition, the teachers in FY 22 would receive training on AI curriculum and Minecraft – learning through gamification,” the Microsoft spokesperson said.
‘Need of the Hour’
Local schools have welcomed this move by the state government. Mamata Divedi, the head of the Narayana e-Techno School in Indore, said she would be willing to introduce AI as a subject in her school because “it is the necessity of the hour and understanding the fundamentals of AI is very important.” will be beneficial to students”.
Likewise, Anamika Magarde, the head of the Podar International School in Bhopal, said the students are very “sharp and interested”. “They think it will make it easier for them to decide their subjects in the upper grades. Parents also see a bright future for their children if they choose AI, as this is the era with a lot of room in AI.” She added that since this is a skills-based subject, “practical approaches, such as involving work experience and internship, should be given more emphasis by the teachers to make the subject more interesting.”
While Microsoft is training teachers, some experts have done so in recent years and said teachers should make it interactive. “As they teach kids AI, they need to make it highly interactive and let the students understand the concepts and applications first by connecting them with real world examples,” said Rajeev Tiwari, the co-founder of STEMROBO Technologies.
Some teachers also said it’s important to break down even the simple concepts, rather than simply assuming that all students will understand everything related to this skill-based topic. “With the introduction of Artificial Intelligence in education, the way of teaching is important. It is important to provide the necessary and required information to the students while ensuring that it does not burden them. It will help to simplify the information and then give it to the students,” said Ranjana Shrivastava, a PRT teacher in Madhya Pradesh.
Students should “know about the basics of computers, a basic programming language,” warned Sarman Singh, a PGT computer science teacher at the Seth Anandram Jaipuria School in Lucknow.
Sanjay Goel, the director of Engineering and Technology at JK Lakshmipat University in Jaipur, said: “Instead of introducing a separate subject for it, we should integrate it while teaching other subjects such as science, mathematics, social sciences and even art and languages”. “If we introduce it as a separate subject, that would be an extra burden for students. If we keep adding separate subjects to the curriculum in this way, the timetable will not have enough space for separate subjects.”