2019 Budget held a lot for AI enthusiasts in India, as it placed a specific emphasis on creating AI solutions to solve societal problems. While the Task Force identified 10 major areas wherein AI can be used to make India a superpower, one of the fields that has already seen a lot of involvement is in education.
The network of Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) across the country has been on a spree of adopting courses that have subject material to do with the rise of AI and ML. Reportedly, this is to ensure that there is a dependable talent pool for the companies that rely on them for specialised manpower, leading them to create multiple certificate, Bachelor’s and Master’s courses in the subject.
In this article, we will take a deeper look into how AI is beginning its adoption by educational institutions. Moreover, on the terms mentioned in the AI task force‘s report, the future of AI education in the country will also be revealed.
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IITs Take Up The Mantle
The IITs jointly inaugurated a conclave recently on the theme “AI: What does the future hold for India”. The 2-day conclave featured focus discussions on topics such as AI for social good, education, future of work, manufacturing, privacy and security, ethics and agriculture. Added to this, there was a generally positive consensus on AI and its associated technologies.
The individual IITs have faced both student demand and labour demand from corporates to begin offering courses that produce workers with skills required for AI and ML applications. The most active among these is arguably IIT Hyderabad, which is currently gearing up towards providing a BTech programme in AI in August.
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This comes after the institution began offering multiple M.Tech programmes in data science and AI and machine learning, along with a minor programme for undergraduate students in AI and humanity.
IIT-H aims to create a complete ecosystem for academicians in the AI world, as it opens up the door to multiple research opportunities for those studying in these courses. Reportedly, the R&D parts associated with these courses will be “strongly entwined” with the academic part of the syllabus, providing an opportunity for the application of skills learned over the course of the programme.
IIT Kharagpur has established a centre for AI, wherein they are beginning to offer a 6-month certificate programme in AI for professionals in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Kharagpur. Reportedly, the centre will also offer more courses on AI in the coming semesters, as there is a lot of student demand. They are also gearing up to launch a certificate course on “advanced machine learning”.
IIT-KPR are also working closely with the Telangana government to create an off-campus centre of excellence for AI by March 2019. This is slated to be a 2000 sq ft research park with a primary focus on AI, cybersecurity, defence, aerospace, advanced manufacturing and robotics. The CoE aims to lay a strong foundation by training multiple professionals in AI and hope to take up multiple high-tech industry and government based products.
This is their second CoE, after their first one was established in April 2018, wherein they collaborated with Capillary Technologies to unveil their centre for artificial intelligence in the campus. This centre came with a heavy curriculum focus on deep learning.
IIT Madras has begun offering dual degree specialisations in data sciences and robotics. This initiative is comprised of a 5-year program in which students can get a Bachelor’s degree in any engineering discipline along with Master’s in Data Science or Robotics. They are also closely working with government organizations such as DRDO, Indian Railways, Chennai Transport Corporation, Port Trust Authority. They are also closely associated with banks, hospitals, and the HRD ministry.
IIT-M’s research park has received funding from multiple companies such as Bosch, TCS, Ericsson, Intel Research, GE Research at IIT-M research park. It is a dependable source of manpower for corporates, which stand to benefit greatly from upskilled workers from the dual degree specializations.
IIT Ropar has kept up with M.Tech programme offering a specialization in computational data sciences. They also offer an advanced machine learning course that covers deep learning, spatial computing, security analytics and advanced computer vision. IIT-R has initiated a collaboration between their computer science and mathematics departments to start a BTech program in mathematics and computing with a focus on AI.
They have also announced a centre of research on AI and ML in collaboration with a university in Taiwan. This not only represents a collaboration between two prominent universities, but also between two countries to push the envelope of research in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.
IIT Roorkee offers courses on AI, ML, computer vision, and other AI related courses. These cover subjects such as data analytics, big data analysis, deep learning, cyber physical security, social behaviour analysis, cryptography, and cognitive science.
IIT Bombay is also active in the AI education ecosystem, inking an MoU with NEC Technologies India (NECTI) that will cover a broad range of areas and address key government initiatives such as smart cities. In addition to this, IIT-B has also built significant research capabilities in collaboration with corporates investing heavily in R&D. It has even teamed up with IBM to accelerate AI research under the IBM Horizons Network.
How The 2019 Budget Changes Everything
The report by the AI Task force calls for the use of AI in education sector to tackle the lack of teaching resources and individual attention. Other problems to be solved include unequal access to educational opportunities, the lack of a meaningful vocational training stream in middle and high schools, and outdated pedagogies.
Therefore, the task force aims to employ AI in the education system, using it to accurately to measure the outcome of education and enable the better management of resources by the government. This will also be complemented with the creation of dynamic courseware to enable the reskilling of individuals in specific fields. AITF aims to deploy the technology through teacher training in the development of solutions that utilize technology.
In the future, the task force aims to create an environment for Massively Open Online Courses, thus making education smart and individualised. This can be done by adjusting syllabus, course hours and credit systems, with a special emphasis on using AI for reskilling and skill upgradation. There will also be active development of basic and fundamental courses in engineering education at the UG and PG levels, which is what is being seen with the IITs.
In the future, we can expect introduction of systems engineering and integration approach in engineering courses, along with the introduction of global village new business thinking in existing engineering and management courses. This will include lessons on how to develop solutions to creatively adapt to change, deal with uncertainty and dealing with incomplete, corrupted and noisy data.
There will also be more courses on identifying newer applications where robots and intelligent automation can augment joint intelligence. These steps will ensure India’s lead in a world where AI is becoming more and more important by the day.