The Uttar Pradesh government is mulling over the use of Artificial Intelligence bots (AI-bots) to upgrade secondary school examination system. The use of AI will also reduce corruption and negligence.
If successfully implemented, UP Board will be right behind Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) which has not only introduced AI as a subject but has also partnered with Microsoft Indian for conducting capacity-building programmes. CBSE, eventually, plans to integrate cloud-powered technology from kindergarten to Class 12.
CBSE recently decided to include AI and Early Childhood Care Education (ECCE) as skill subjects in the school curriculum, and UP Board, it seems, will follow suit.
IANS reported that the State Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma, who also holds the secondary education portfolio, was unwilling to disclose details of the programme.
"We will disclose things at the appropriate time," he said.
However, a senior official in the ministry revealed that everything is in nascent stage.
"Things are still in the planning stage and we are trying to ensure implementation of the programme for the 2020 board examinations," the official said.
AI-bots installed in Uttar Pradesh schools will help track proxy invigilators and students. The Ai-enabled system will also help in assessment methods like tracking the performance of a student based on their previous grades, participation and performance.
Experiments with AI integration in various schools, especially in Andhra Pradesh, have shown that AI can work as a catalyst in streamlining the education system and helping institutions make better decisions. It is also expected that implementing AI on such a large scale would help in fixing the loopholes in the current system.
"The main problem with the Uttar Pradesh board examinations is the shortage of teachers and the inability to maintain the standard of teaching. In this scenario, when teaching is inadequate, the students, as well as teachers, resort to unfair means during examinations. You have proxy writers and proxy invigilators and the quality of education suffers," the official said.
The state government has previously made several technology-enabled changes to the examination system. The UP government has also taken several steps to check malpractices in secondary board examinations and as a result this year 10 lakh students dropped out during board examinations.
CCTV cameras were installed in all examination centres and special task force (STF) of the Uttar Pradesh Police was deployed to check cheating during board exams. Prohibitory orders under section 144 were promulgated with a ban on outsiders within a periphery of 200 metres of the exam centres.
Ravi Prakash Dubey, a secondary school teacher who retired last year, however, seemed sceptical about the use of AI in the state.
"Majority of teachers in the state are not even familiar with a computer and are already resenting the 'attendance by selfie' programme. The government should first ensure the proper assessment of the teaching staff. Good teachers will encourage good students. We know of cases where the teacher cannot spell and pronounce words like 'dangerous' and 'future'. How can such teachers be expected to give good education?" he told IANS.
Mr. Dubey also suggested that teachers should first be trained on AI before implementing the programme.
"This programme will provide teachers better access to the latest Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools and help them integrate technology into teaching safely and securely, thereby enhancing the learning experience and 21st-century skills of all students," retired university professor Ramesh Dixit said.
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