Education, AI, and India: Challenges, Reforms, and Opportunities

Detailed Look at Indian Education and Artificial Intelligence



Education in India encompasses more than mere knowledge transmission; it requires humility, openness, and critical thinking. However, the COVID-19 lockdown posed significant challenges to the education sector, impacting students, teachers, and parents alike. Lastly the National Education Policy of 2020 and the National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence (NSAI) 2023 in India play pivotal roles in shaping the education landscape. This article aims to explore these topics, weaving them together cohesively to provide a comprehensive understanding of the challenges, reforms, and opportunities in Indian education. 

The Role of Teachers and Effective Teaching:

Effective teaching extends beyond the mere transmission of knowledge; it involves nurturing curiosity, critical thinking, and independent opinions. Educators must refrain from imposing biases or hindering students' reasoning abilities. By cultivating an open mind, teachers can create an environment that promotes active learning and comprehensive understanding.

AI and its Potential to Revolutionize Education - Indian Perspective:

The potential of AI in revolutionizing education is significant, but it also raises concerns regarding creativity, bias, and reliance on recycled content. Utilizing AI as an assistant can enhance the educational experience, allowing for more personalized attention, reduced workload, and improved resource utilization. By leveraging AI, education can become more accessible, affordable, and tailored to individual learning needs.

Teachers and instructors can perceive AI as a means to enhance their ability to impart education. AI can act as an assistant, enabling the delegation of complex and repetitive tasks, such as explaining concepts or teaching coding languages and computer programming, to AI technology. This can alleviate the workload of both teachers and students, enabling them to navigate subjects more easily and efficiently. With unlimited patience and potential, AI can relieve teachers from the exhaustion and frustration associated with repetitive explanations of difficult concepts. Consequently, teachers can focus more on evaluating student progress and providing personalized guidance, as they have more time to address individual doubts and monitor progress effectively. Leveraging AI can help teaching professionals to maximize their time and promote resource utilization.

The potential of AI to lower the cost of education for underprivileged populations in developing countries is immense. By implementing smart learning tools that can operate on low-end devices, education can be made accessible to all. These tools enable children to access vast amounts of data and learn at their own pace, addressing doubts and satisfying their curiosity both at home and in schools.

However, the emergence of AI and versatile tools like large language models presents a dilemma in the context of education. On one hand, they can serve as valuable learning and educational tools; on the other hand, they may pose a threat to the evaluation of human creativity and intelligence. As AI increasingly becomes a source of thought processes, imagination, and opinions, there is a risk of losing new and innovative ideas. It is crucial to be aware of this potential threat and establish regulations and frameworks to monitor and navigate the use of AI technology responsibly.

Lockdown in India and the Education Sector:

The COVID-19 lockdown severely impacted the education sector, particularly the transition to online learning. Financial difficulties strained the relationship between parents and private schools, leading to disputes over fees. During the pandemic, financial pressures on private schools resulted in salary delays for teaching staff, affecting over 40% of teachers. The sudden fee hikes in several private schools, despite their stable financial conditions and government aid, have raised concerns. The lack of effective government regulation exacerbates the issue, as private schools prioritize profit over education and impose additional costs on parents. The pandemic and online classes have also affected children's mental health, while teachers faced challenges in delivering effective online education without adequate training. To address these challenges, transparency between schools and parents regarding fees is crucial, along with establishing parent-teacher associations for better decision-making. Many state government initiatives aim to ensure accountability through audits and relief measures, but further actions are needed to secure sufficient funds for schools without compromising education quality.

PhDs and the State of Academic Research in India:

The surge in fake journals and academic fraud within India's publishing industry has raised concerns among researchers. These deceptive journals falsely claim to be indexed in reputable databases like Scopus, yet they publish substandard or fabricated research papers for a fee. Unscrupulous agents and touts collaborate with compromised peer-review boards to facilitate the publication of these papers, often charging as little as Indian Rs 5,000. This practice not only undermines the credibility of Indian researchers but also poses a threat to scientific integrity and public trust in academia.

Even established academic journals, such as the Indian Institute of Science's journal, Current Science, have encountered issues with fake websites and content theft. To cope with the pressure to publish, some academics resort to hiring ghostwriters or paying for authorships. The flawed system of academic promotions and appointments, which often prioritizes quantity over quality, contributes to the demand for fraudulent publishing services. While reputable universities emphasize publishing in high-quality journals, it is crucial to ensure that departments do not exert control over where academics publish. However, department heads can play a crucial role in setting standards for scientific rigor and integrity within their departments.

The rise of online platforms and social media groups promoting these fraudulent publishing services has further complicated the issue. These platforms advertise ready-made papers and acceptance letters from alleged Scopus-indexed journals. The compromised peer-review process of these journals and ineffective retractions by publishers have not effectively curbed the problem. Additionally, hijacked journals and clone websites add to the complexity. These predatory journals, often targeting Indian scholars, mimic legitimate journals or take over discontinued journal domain names. Collaborating with broker companies, they publish thousands of papers, with a significant number of authors from India.

Addressing this problem requires a shift in evaluating the quality and impact of an academic's work, rather than solely focusing on the quantity of publications. Reputable journals often have rigorous and time-consuming publication processes, but emphasizing quality and impact can discourage researchers from opting for unethical publishing practices.

National Education Policy (NEP) 2020: Assessing the Good and Bad Aspects:

The NEP 2020 introduces reforms to the traditional education system, emphasizing holistic development, vocational skills, and flexibility in subject choices. Balancing quality, affordability, and transparency are crucial for the success of the NEP.

One of the contentious issues in the NEP is the implementation of the mother tongue or state language as the medium of instruction, replacing English. This move had sparked debates and raised concerns over potential controversy and impact on students. Similarly, the centralization of education, which now falls under the control of a central body instead of the states, raises questions about its potential implications for the federal system of education. Moreover, the policy's effective implementation raises concerns, particularly given the current low expenditure on education, accounting for merely 3% of the GDP annually. India's research and development spending is also significantly lower compared to countries like China and Korea, further emphasizing the need for increased investment in this sector.

On a positive note, the NEP introduces substantial changes to the traditional 10+2 structure, shifting to a 5+3+3+4 system. It also emphasizes the importance of three years of pre-primary formal education for children aged 3-6, along with modifications to the examination patterns. The policy aims to foster critical thinking, analytical skills, and conceptual clarity among students while prioritizing holistic development. The introduction of a credit system aligned with holistic evaluation is a notable step forward. Additionally, from class 6 to class 12, the NEP emphasizes vocational skills, including coding, and encourages the inclusion of physical work skills.

The policy promotes multidisciplinary education, enabling students to choose subjects from various streams, eliminating the rigid separation of arts, commerce, and science. It also allows multiple entry and exit options based on a credit system, offering flexibility to pursue college education in different durations. Furthermore, the NEP opens doors for foreign universities to establish standalone campuses in India, subject to similar regulations as Indian institutions, contributing to the enhancement of education quality.

Despite these positive changes, the NEP falls short in effectively addressing issues such as commercialization and corruption in education. Treating education as a "not for profit" entity may inadvertently lead to increased corruption, as individuals may be less motivated to establish educational institutions solely for charitable purposes. Addressing this challenge is crucial to ensure the success of the overall education system reform.

National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence (NSAI) 2023:

The NSAI aims to position India as a global leader in AI by 2030. It identifies key domains, such as healthcare, agriculture, education, smart cities, and transportation, where AI can bring transformative changes. The strategy emphasizes investment in research, the development of skilled AI professionals, an enabling ecosystem, and ethical guidelines for responsible AI deployment.

In the field of healthcare, AI holds immense promise in revolutionizing the quality of medical services through personalized treatment plans, early detection of diseases, and accelerated drug development. Within agriculture, AI can play a pivotal role in optimizing crop yields, managing pests and diseases, and forecasting weather patterns, thereby significantly enhancing productivity and sustainability. Moreover, AI has the capacity to revolutionize education by enabling personalized learning experiences, enhancing teacher training programs, and making education more affordable and accessible. Additionally, in the realm of smart cities, AI has the potential to enhance urban planning, optimize traffic management systems, and improve the efficiency of public transportation networks. Furthermore, AI can contribute to the advancement of self-driving vehicles, resulting in enhanced traffic management and reduced accident rates in the transportation sector.

The NSAI outlines a range of strategic initiatives and policies that aim to foster the development and utilization of AI in India. These initiatives encompass substantial investments in AI research and development, the cultivation of a skilled and competent AI workforce, the creation of an environment conducive to AI innovation, the promotion of AI adoption in governmental services, and the establishment of ethical guidelines for responsible AI deployment.

India stands to gain numerous benefits from the widespread implementation of AI across various sectors. Furthermore, the integration of AI has the potential to drive economic growth by increasing productivity, efficiency, and innovation, while simultaneously creating new employment opportunities. By leveraging AI effectively, India can bolster its global competitiveness in the ever-evolving landscape of the international economy.

The NSAI represents a significant milestone in India's journey towards realizing its AI ambitions. The successful implementation of this vision hinges on the government's unwavering commitment to invest in AI research and development, cultivate a highly skilled AI workforce, and foster an enabling ecosystem that nurtures innovation in AI.


Education in India faces multifaceted challenges, from the role of teachers to the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown, the current state of academic research, and the integration of AI. By addressing these challenges, implementing effective reforms, and leveraging the potential of AI, India can foster a high-quality education system that promotes critical thinking, inclusivity, and innovation.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of adapting to changing circumstances and embracing technology in education. The lockdown and transition to online learning have revealed the need for better infrastructure, teacher training, and accessibility for students. It is crucial to ensure that teachers are equipped with the necessary skills and support to deliver effective online education and engage students in a meaningful way.

Additionally, the NEP 2020 and NSAI 2023 provide frameworks for transformative changes in the education sector. The NEP's focus on holistic development, flexibility in subject choices, and vocational skills aligns with the changing needs of the workforce and society. Simultaneously, the NSAI presents a roadmap for leveraging AI to drive advancements across various sectors, including education.

However, the rapid and relentless advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in a country like India has engendered a mix of excitement and apprehension, as the potential repercussions of its misapplication are likened to the unleashing of weapons of mass destruction. While AI holds immense potential to transform critical sectors such as healthcare, transportation, and education, it also unveils a daunting array of ethical and societal challenges.

In a country as vast and diverse as India, the need for meticulous regulations and unwavering caution in the domain of AI becomes even more pronounced. As we embark on this uncharted journey, we confront a multitude of uncertainties, including the invasion of privacy, insidious biases, unaccountable algorithms, and the looming spectre of significant job displacement. To safeguard the interests of a nation as complex and intricate as India, it becomes imperative to establish robust frameworks and comprehensive guidelines that govern the responsible development and deployment of AI. By prioritizing transparency, rooting out biases, and fostering interdisciplinary collaboration, we can navigate the uncharted waters of AI with the utmost care and prudence.

The destiny of our nation hinges on our ability to harness the unprecedented potential of AI while remaining steadfast in our commitment to mitigate risks and safeguard the well-being of our citizens. The time for vigilance and thoughtful action is now, as India charts its path towards a future shaped by the transformative power of AI.