Future-proofing our education system to artificial intelligence

Future-proofing our education system to artificial intelligence

According to the Cisco Digital Readiness Index, Sri Lanka ranks 90th overall out of 146 countries in terms of a holistic measure of a country’s level of digital readiness. Digital readiness as a whole encompasses how economies are ready to face the future in terms of not being left behind on measures of basic needs, business and government investment, and ease of doing business among others.

This indicator, simply put, illuminates Sri Lanka’s relative position on our digital competitiveness on simple integration with more complex areas such as the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence – and there is much to do. Recently Susil Premajayantha, the minister of education, stated that from next year, grade 10 students will be exposed to the subject of artificial intelligence. According to UNESCO reports, Sri Lanka should aim for “educational transformation” rather than “educational reform” in a ceremony providing culinary equipment to selected malnourished schools in the Colombo zone. The Minister recommends that teachers be trained in technology, as well as extending this approach from schools to the entire university system.

Artificial intelligence is a capability built into computers that enables them to have human intelligence and cognitive abilities such as learning and problem solving, while to protect the youth, the Minister plans to develop a workshop for teachers and this using instructors as advisers, while also ensuring the cooperation of professional advisers in Division Secretariats. Lower-skilled employees, who are expected to be most affected by automation and AI, should prioritize learning new skills whenever possible. To overcome today’s global shortage of skilled workers, governments and companies will need to initiate skills upgrading efforts. Emerging disciplines such as cognitive computing and artificial intelligence (AI), next-generation security and cloud architecture will all be in high demand.

Meanwhile, there needs to be a targeted push towards – or integration of – ethics and the humanities for students in non-STEM disciplines. The solution is to focus on tasks that computers will be “less good at” for longer, according to a 2017 study by the British Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee. According to the research, school and university curricula will need to be changed to reflect the world we live in and how it is evolving, with problem solving and creativity being the most valuable assets. The more education at all levels is reformatted to better prepare students for the new world of AI, the sooner governments will be able to use the technology to prepare for the digital economy.

Prioritize schooling to achieve equitable development across all three AI-ready building blocks. These measures require close cooperation between the public and private sectors. Huawei has launched Spark, a hybrid accelerator program designed to foster emerging entrepreneurs and grow the Asia-Pacific ecosystem.

Accepted start-ups in the Huawei Spark program will receive free cloud resources, hardware support (including AI modules and AI-based intelligent industry solutions) and open source software tools (including an AI framework, database and operating system) to help they develop their own applications, services and hardware devices. Due to Sri Lanka’s global reputation and competence in such sectors, this initiative will be launched in Sri Lanka, as well as Singapore and Hong Kong.

Collaboration between education and labor departments, educational institutions and technology providers is essential for long-term planning in areas such as digital expertise, upskilling, talent management and resource planning. Install infrastructure and methods to ensure that digital materials are widely and easily accessible. Develop specific workforce subgroups to meet future demands. AI, long a staple of science fiction, is now a very real presence in business, industry, government operations and a variety of other industries, with AI applications taking on an increasing range of functions.

AI is accelerating the shift from traditional to digital economies, while also shaping the contours of the evolving digital economy and society. Policymakers will need to understand the fundamental prerequisites for AI as well as its potential, as this technology is expected to have a significant impact on economic development. It begins with, but certainly does not end with education transformation.

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