The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), the national level board of education in India for public and private schools, has announced the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) in the high school curriculum (class XI & XII) for the current academic year 2020 – 2021.
Developed in collaboration with technology major IBM, the curriculum is part of CBSE’s social empowerment through work education and action (SEWA) programme and will be introduced in approximately 200 schools across 13 states in India, a press statement said.
The states include Delhi-NCR, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Kerala, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab.
The IBM AI curriculum is structured around a course framework for students consisting of base strands of knowledge (basics, history, applications), skills (design thinking, computational thinking, data fluency, critical thinking) and values (ethical decision making, bias) in AI.
To meet CBSE's requirements for Grades XI & XII, the curriculum was co-developed with Australia’s Macquarie University and Indian implementation partners – Learning Links Foundation and 1M1B.
“AI will certainly become all-pervasive in our lives in the coming years and it is important to inculcate the necessary skills & knowledge right from high school level. The unique proposition of the IBM AI curriculum is that it allows Grade XI & XII students from all streams, in addition to Computer Science, to build the foundation for themselves to be AI ready,” Manoj Ahuja, chairperson of CBSE said.
The IBM AI Curriculum was launched in collaboration with CBSE in September 2019 with an aim to impart AI skills to 5000 Grade XI students and 1000 teachers across India, the statement said.
Following the programme launch, a series of principal orientation and teacher training sessions were conducted between September 2019 and June 2020. As part of the partnership between IBM and CBSE for the AI Curriculum, training (online and classroom) for over 5000 students was conducted resulting in a cumulative 408 hours of training workshops.
“The objective of our exciting collaboration with CBSE is to help address some of those challenges by designing one of the most accessible and comprehensive gateways for students to begin their AI journey. As they think through designing innovative solutions to address key problems, we also get them deliberate about the ethical implications of the technology,” Sandip Patel, general manager at IBM India/South Asia said.
IBM and CBSE also announced the 2020 ‘IBM EdTech Youth Challenge’ to encourage teams of students and teachers to leverage emerging technologies including cloud, AI, blockchain to solve existing or imminent problems that society is facing.
CBSE has been aggressively adopting AI into its curriculum by striking various partnerships with technology companies. In March 2020, it signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with California-based chipmaker Intel to roll out an AI curriculum framework for classes 8, 9 and 10 in 22,000 schools in the country’s north and northeastern states, with the aim to empower 1,00,000 students by the end of the year.
In September last year, CBSE partnered with software giant Microsoft to conduct capacity building programmes for its high school teachers on cloud-powered technologies.