Will Investment In AI Centres Of Excellence Transform The Indian Education System?


Ahead of the Interim Budget 2024, take a look at what the personalities from the field say about the transformation investment in three ‘AI Centres of Excellence’ may bring to the Indian Education System…

Artificial Intelligence

New Delhi: India is gearing up for the Interim Budget 2024 which will be presented on February 1, 2024 before both Houses of the Parliament by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Various sectors including auto, business, infrastructure and education are keeping an eye on the possible changes and developments that this budget may bring for them. In the education system, an important transformation is coming because of the advanced technology of Artificial Intelligence (AI). To highlight and realise the vision of ‘Make AI in India’ and ‘Make AI Work for India’, three AI Centres of Excellence are being set in top educational institutions according to para 60 of the Budget Announcement 2023-24. Experts give their opinion on the transformation or change that these centres of excellence will bring to the Indian education system…

What Are The Three ‘AI Centres Of Excellence’?

As mentioned earlier, under Para 60 of the Budget Announcement 2023-24, it has been announced, “”For realizing the vision of “Make AI in India and Make AI work for India”, three centres of excellence for Artificial Intelligence will be set up in top educational institutions. Leading industry players will partner in conducting interdisciplinary research, develop cutting-edge applications and scalable problem solutions in the areas of agriculture, health, and sustainable cities. This will galvanize an effective AI ecosystem and nurture quality human resources in the field.” For this very reason, establishment of three Centres of Excellence (CoE) in AI in agriculture, health and sustainable cities, has been approved by the govrnment.

Role Of Educational Institutions In AI Centres Of Excellence

Speaking of the role of these CoEs in the education system, proposals were invited by the Ministry of Education (MoE) through the online portal, from Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) that have an NIRF Ranking within top 100 in the Overall Category in 2023. This is the eligibility criteria for selection of 15 consortiums with an initial funding of Rs 2 crore each. These selected HEIs will work as the ‘hub’ and will be provided the opportunity to present a Proof of Concept (POC) in order to set up CoE in AI in one of the sectors.

Will the setting up and functioning of these AI Centres of Excellence transform the education system in India and make the next generation ready for the digital age? According to Poshak Agrawal, the Co-Founder of Athena Education, “Our strategic investment in three AI Centers of Excellence resonates with the core principles of our education system. This deliberate move is set to catalyze a transformative paradigm shift in our education system, empowering both students and the nation. There will be classrooms where students will harness AI to simulate real-world scenarios, fostering problem-solving skills that transcend textbooks. Moreover, it’s a stride toward future-ready skills. These AI centers can provide a level playing field for students across regions. Students in a remote corner of the country can now access the same cutting-edge resources and mentorship as their urban counterparts. Essentially, it’s a blueprint for a new era in education and technology, crafted by visionaries for visionaries.”

The Co-Founder of Erekut HR Automation Solutions Pvt Ltd, Dr Ravinder Goyal says, “We believe advanced AI systems will enrich recruitment and hiring for both companies and candidates. By participating in the vibrant ecosystem around initiatives like “Make AI in India” and “Make AI work for India”, we are eager to develop more inclusive solutions that connect people to the right opportunities. Looking ahead, we are optimistic about technology’s potential to fuel efficiency and power human potential as engines of economic growth restart post-pandemic. We are excited to play an integral role in this revival by building smarter pathways between talent and opportunity. Our AI-powered platforms will help companies discover candidates and empower people to access jobs that fulfill their aspirations.”

Balu Ramachandran, the Founder and CEO of OC Academy has praised the government and said that ‘the need for education to align with this paradigm shift is crucial, and the investments outlined in the union budget reflect the forward-thinking vision of the government.” The Founder and CEO of Shaalaa.com Anthony Fernandes has highlighted the role of teachers in the education landscape; according to him, “Teachers play an important role in the education landscape, making teacher training a critical aspect. Allocating a dedicated budget for teacher training is essential. A proficiently trained teacher excels in effective communication, enhancing students’ understanding and enabling the teacher to cover more material within the same timeframe. Additionally, prioritising upskilling is of utmost importance, as it not only contributes to a teacher’s professional growth but also enhances students.”

How will the Centres of Excellence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) impact the education system and the next generation, time will tell but the initiative taken up by the government is forward-looking and is expected to give fruitful results.

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