Education is the biggest liberating force and a critical tool for preparing human beings for life journey. The level and quality of education is largely responsible for wealth creation. World Bank data shows that with $5.5 PP, there are 3.5 billion poor people. 263 million children worldwide are out of school ( one in every five).
UNESCO Institute for Statistics has raised concerns about the 617 million children and adolescents who are unable to read properly or handle basic mathematics. Right now, only half of the world’s children achieve minimum proficiency in reading and mathematics. A total of 230 million adolescents will not achieve minimum proficiency levels in reading and mathematics by the time they should be completing lower secondary education.
The human capital is a critical driver of any economy. However, the young people who represent the world’s most dynamic human resources are almost three times more likely to be unemployed than adults. Today’s young people (aged 15-24) make up 18% of the global population, but 40% of the global unemployed. This challenge requires innovative solution and thinking at global level. The global learning crisis poses a major threat to society and prosperity. We can ensure that all children and young people are in school and learning the skills they need to be successful in work and life. This vision is achievable within a generation. Technology as a driver of learning could change the way, we learn and skill and add to the prosperity in the World.
In the recent years, there has been tremendous progress in the field of technology enabled education at the global level as well as at country levels. The massive online open learning courses have brought the quality and digital contents closer to the learners. However, the current development favours learning who are already on high learning growth. Edx and Khan academy have revolutionized the learning and delivery of education content around the world. There is tremendous scope to use Robots using artificial intelligence to provide quality and uniform education in science subjects and math around the world. The present Edutech are more focused on achieving scale and personal interaction is missing. There is a need to personalize technology based on educational needs of the students. The personalize education through technology can bring near similar experience to the face to face teaching methodology.
The learning crisis around the world is linked with quality of teaching and over the years there has been decline in quality of teachers due to attractive profession in other areas. There is also variation in quality of teacher and it varies significantly from individual to individual. Students suffer due to poor quality of teaching and many times loose interest in subject. The fundamental challenge is to develop teachers with quality, scale and speed to respond to challenges of new generation.
In sub-Saharan Africa one in every three children are out of school. For every 100 boys of primary school age out of school, there are 123 girls denied the right to education. The new data also highlight a gulf between out-of-school rates in the world’s poorest and richest countries, with an upper-secondary out-of-school rate of 59% across the world’s low-income countries, compared to just 6% in high-income countries. There is a learning crisis, with one in six children and adolescents not reaching minimum proficiency levels in reading or mathematics – a large number of them are in school. Education has to deliver for every child, which requires effective monitoring to ensure that all children are in school and that they are learning on a defined pattern of learning with a specified milestone in a specified time period.
The challenges of education and learning crisis calls for an innovative technology based solution with scale and speed. It should also eliminate gender bias and create access with quality. Access to education without quality has no meaning and may create problem for future in terms of employability and skill mismatch.
With advancement of artificial intelligence and robotics, there is immense potential for using robots for creating a global educational curriculum for subjects like physics, math, chemistry and biology. The first Robo teacher Saya in Japan generated excitement and hope for expansion of learning through robots. My own experience as High School student shows that quality of teachings varies from teacher to teacher and there is no benchmarking. Accordingly learning also differ. This offers a big opportunity to standardize learnings with technology, monitor it and evaluate it at global scale.
The global testing methods like SAT and ACT may be a good way in short term to benchmark learning output. But there is no common denominator for teaching and this is where RoEdu fits in. The common learning for science subjects through a standard curriculum can delivered through Robots using artificial intelligence based questions and answers.
How RoEdu could be developed? There should not be any need to deploy Robots in each classroom. The laptop machine with help of Microsoft and google could be potential candidate for Robo teacher. Alexa and Siri offer exciting way to move forward through two way communication.
There is a need to make learning platform a public good where private and public sector could participate. The private sector could reap dividend through post learning opportunity and public sector could through enhanced learnings and efficient delivery of education. This will save precious resources of the Govts and will also raise the quality of education and mitigate impact of shortage of teachers in remote areas of the countries. The global curriculum setting could also be through public and private partnership at global level with private giants like Google, Microsoft, Apple and Netflix onboard.
The learning crisis has no boundary of developing and developed countries. PISA results shows that developed world is also in need of quality education. The technology of embeded real time system using Robots and AI offers a transformative opportunity at global level to benefit each and every one. This is the right time with the help of technology to bridge the gap between haves and have-nots in the field of education and truly provide equal opportunity to all 24×7 all the time and all the places. RoEdu will be a really potential answer to this global challenge and this is the right time to act through a public good platform for public and private sector to create a new educational system.
*Sanjali is Student of Winston Churchill High School Potomac, Maryland USA and President of End Poverty Club of School.