This notable development in the context of school education earlier this month signifies the synergy of interface between the industry and school/education community. One of the oft-made suggestions to improve the educational experience is the ability of imparting education with a renewed focus on application of concepts and learnings in/for real-life situations.
The Central Board of Secondary Education in its notification titled AI Student Community has stated that it has tied up with Intel to launch a AI Student Community (AISC) platform. The focus of this platform as stated in this notification is to foster a community of students to "encourage collaborative learning, sharing and creating AI-enabled social impact solutions" as also help "create Digital-First mindset ".
It is acknowledged that this is a follow through policy action from the National Education Policy (NEP) approved by the Indian Cabinet headed by the Hon'ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi in the midst of the pandemic. In what I see so far, I feel there is a systematic approach to developing an ecosystem towards empowering students and youth in AI. This is clear in the context of Intel under its overarching program AI for Youth outlining its vision and commitment towards fostering AI Literacy. I recall being part of the program as well as one of the panel speakers at UN Launch of ICT for Development initiative in which Intel played a key-role. It lead the Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) with Mr. Craig Barrett, Board Chairman of Intel Corporation serving as the Alliance's founder chairman.
This too, now, will have a far reaching impact - almost as much or even greater - of what we have witnessed in the mid-90s when computers took centrestage in the education.
I am reminded of that time, when schools and colleges responded with setting up of air-conditioned labs to accommodate computers, servers, network setup, printers among others. This was followed by the dawn of internet availability and adoption at a mass-scale leading to the set up of fiber-optic cables and networks, and then we see now wifi hotspots, etc.
When an organization as established as Intel ties up, it only perhaps marks the beginning. We will obviously see many more organizations to support such initiatives in varied roles and areas. And then, we as educators, might look at simultaneous upgrade of higher education's AI Design, Deployment and Application capabilities. The higher education sector would also adapt to the new mini-generation of school students entering their higher education stage, with knowledge of basic AI - thanks to such pedigree at the school stage.
It is only logical to see this trend around AI expand - and India has some distance to cover - in terms of Phds, citations, conferences and workshops. We have demonstrated in India since the late 80s and early 90s that we can catch up rapidly with the emerging opportunity landscape. Early technology graduates and post-graduates invested what then seemed like a huge amount of money to learn ERPs etc to migrate to pre-dominantly to US for career. They did start well there too and were able to grow in experience, expertise and stature as the industry took-off.
Similarly, when it comes to these modern technologies that hold the promise of much disruptive innovation potential, it is likely to see even greater traction and adoption, signs of which are witnessed now.
For those who are interested to take a look at this very promising announcement in totality - here is the link to the full notification.