There are some challenges in Africa’s Education systems, for example, inefficiencies in teaching and learning processes, inequalities in access and quality, poor enforcement and implementation of education policies, non-interactive content, inadequate teacher support systems and poor infrastructure. The international communities have characterised this as a ‘learning crisis’.
Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence have supported growth and innovation across many industries, and the education sector will not be any different. AI innovations have shown some promise in three main areas (1) strengthening teaching and learning, (2) enhancing efficiencies in school administrative functions, and (3) as a tool to help understand the process of learning.
AI for Education has some benefits, but it also faces major challenges such as inadequate utilisation of AI to improve education processes, both in the classroom and at the system level, and providing students relevant skillsets for increasingly automated economies and societies. AI technologies have the potential to help advance the sustainable development goals (SDG 4) and realise a sustainable and inclusive society, however they also may present societal risks, including bias, labour market transitions, data privacy, security, ethical issues, new digital divides and the need for AI capacity building.
Last year, we launched a call open to organisations in Africa interested in advancing Education innovation. The general objective for this innovation research network is to contribute to improved teaching and learning in African contexts through the responsible application of artificial intelligence.
After considering many applications, we are happy to announce that this network will be set up and managed by a consortium of three organisations; University of Lagos, Université d’Abomey Calavi, a foremost national university in Benin Republic, and Data Science Nigeria (DSN).
This network, dubbed EduAI Hub will bring together (~6-10) African innovators and researchers working on, or researching education innovations through an open call. The selected innovators and researchers will receive funding and support for a research project of at least 18 months on their innovation. It is expected that the selected projects will represent linguistic, gender, and geographic diversity across Africa; diversity across relevant areas of application of AI to education; and diversity of relevant involved stakeholders, e.g., ministries of education, private sector players and other relevant agencies, university researchers, and start-ups.
We are looking forward to the innovative solutions that will come out of this network.
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This network is supported by AI4D Africa, a four year program CAD 20M program funded by IDRC & Sida. Learn more about the program here