AI In School Curriculum? Schools Give A Thumbs Up, Parents Express Concerns

AI In School Curriculum? Schools Give A Thumbs Up, Parents Express Concerns

Will AI as a subject in the school curriculum be a boon or a bane? Principals, students and parents have different opinions.

Sunidhi VijayUpdated: Wednesday, April 03, 2024, 12:35 PM IST
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AI In School Curriculum? Schools Give A Thumbs Up, Parents Express Concerns | File

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s discussion on artificial intelligence (AI) has once again brought the much-debated topic to the centre of attention. During a discussion with Bill Gates recently, Modi talked about the importance of technology in education and highlighted how it is crucial for the future. 

The possible inclusion of AI into the school curriculum has led many school principals to believe it is a way forward. They believe AI will positively change the education landscape and align students with modern-day technology. 

Mumbai schools are already tech-ready

Anita Philip, the principal of Don Bosco School, Matunga, said, “It is time that we revolutionise the education system since we can’t always be stagnant and AI is a way of doing it. AI has tools that will further benefit the students and would be important for their self-development.” She added that their school has already been teaching its students the basic foundation of AI. She added, “We teach Python to classes 9 and 10, while lower classes are taught app and web development. Programming language scratch will also be soon taught to students of class four and three from the coming scholastic year.”

Not only Don Bosco, but several other schools in the city have also introduced AI to its students in various forms. Sheila Alexander, the principal of Lilavatibai Podar High School, Santacruz West, said that they have Robotics as a group 3 subject. She said, “AI is definitely here to stay and will help students to explore the world further. Students are also responding in excitement to the subject.”

Sanjeevani World School, Dahisar East, also teaches Robotics to its students. “Keeping students away from AI is pointless since we are in the generation of technology. We have to make sure that our teachers as well as students are ready for the present and future,” said Seema Negi, principal of the school. Negi further added that students should also be trained not just to become consumers of the technology but creators as well.

Students also showed their excitement in learning AI in a more detailed and formal way. 

“I am interested in learning AI because it is kind of how the world works right now. AI will help speed up things which are otherwise very mundane. It will also help me become more efficient and increase my chances of securing a job in the future,” said Aditya Salkar, a class 9 student at the Seven Isles International School, Mulund East. 

Sparsh Vijayvargiya, a class 10 student at St Xavier’s School, Ranchi, said, “AI will reduce the unnecessary burden from students and will help us be more efficient. However, I believe that it may also make us more lethargic.” 

Parents share their concerns

While AI is a welcome step for many, it comes with its own set of apprehensions as also mentioned by several parents, teachers and principals.

According to Ritu Dubey, the principal of CP Goenka International School, Oshiwara, mindful usage of AI is of utmost importance. “It can be both useful as well as harmful, therefore, it is important to provide training to everyone about it, otherwise it also has the potential to disrupt things. There is lots of information out there but proper laws and regulations are not yet in place,” Dubey added. 

For parents, the question however is not just limited to mindful usage. 

“A lot of parents are uneducated or are barely managing to cope with the increasing demands from the schools including projects and activities, etc. This section of the society forms a major section and cannot be ignored. If the aim is inclusive progress, then the implementation of the idea of including AI in school curriculum needs planning that will comfortably take everyone from all strata of society along,” said Ruddhi Phadke, parent of a class 1 student of Greenlawns High School. 

Azhar Khan, a parent of a class 4 student at Safa High School said, “It is good that they are talking about including AI in schools, but then they should not further increase the fees. Otherwise, the increased fees will be an additional burden on us.” 

According to Abhishek Yadav, whose child studies in class 1 at New English High School, Bandra East, it is important to introduce AI only after class 6. “Parents can also guide students better if AI is mandated after class six,” Yadav said.

Rubina Chohan, a tutor, also expressed apprehensions about AI being included in the school curriculum. “AI is concerning because it will affect the jobs of tutors who are professionals in this field," Chohan said.

During his conversation with Gates, Modi further went on to discuss the usefulness of a tool like ChatGPT in improving oneself, saying that AI can help democratise technology in schools. 

"We strive to make technology accessible in schools and guarantee that every child, regardless of their background, can receive a high-quality education," PM Modi told Gates.

Responding to the prime minister, the Microsoft founder said, “AI possesses the capability to customise learning encounters and cater to individual learning requirements, thus unleashing the complete potential of each student.”

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