Value-based education key to solving AI ethical challenges, Education PS says

Kenya's Deputy Head of Mission to Beijing Amb Lynette Mwende, Higher Education Principal Secretary Beatrice Inyangala and African Telecommunications Union Secretary-General John Omo chat after the closure of Huawei's Leap Summit in Shanghai China on June 28, 2024. [Patrick Vidija, Standard]

Higher Education Principal Secretary Beatrice Inyangala now says value-based education will play a key role in solving the ethical challenges of using Artificial Intelligence in the education sector.

Speaking at Huawei’s MWC 2024 Leap Summit in Shanghai, China, Inyangala said although AI has great potential for the future of learning, there have been concerns over the integrity of the systems especially in the delivery of examinations.

“There is no doubt that AI is the future of learning because it makes learning easier and production effective. The only challenge is the social patterns formed about AI technology, but if we change the way we think, be more creative and assertive, we can collaborate to ensure that social patterns are conformed with AI,” she said.

Inyangala in an interview with The Standard said the Education Ministry is already partnering with universities that have advanced digital infrastructure to offer AI-based learning.

“These learning institutions have software that identifies the characteristics of the face of learners so that any chances of another person sitting examinations on their behalf is eliminated,” said Inyangala.

She said the software is designed in a manner that it automatically shuts any other external websites that learners might attempt to log into for answers during the examination.

“Ethics is a societal problem and as parents, we must strive to bring up children that respect integrity. This is why at the ministry we are emphasizing value-based education in our efforts to model good character in the education systems,” said the PS.

According to her, the ministry is pushing hard to ensure that teachers teach and students learn in the most innovative ways using digital tools to enhance the best outcomes.

“If you asked a student to give you three attributes of good leadership in a written test, they will give you ABCD and probably forget when they walk out of the examination room. But tell the same student to make a TikTok video on the same, you will be shocked by the creativity that comes with it,” she said.

She said with strategic partners like Huawei, the ministry is implementing its five-year strategic plan that is drawn on digital technology for learning that goes beyond the audiovisuals and simulations to make learning more practical.

“That is why we are here in Shanghai today to celebrate our students who are being feted for their success in the creation of digital content,” she said.

The PS said through Huawei, the students had been trained in digital competencies before they undertook several exams that saw them qualify for the global challenge.

While Kenya’s Sylvia Kipkemoi of Africa Talking was feted as the second-best student in the creation of digital creation, Danton Kipkurui an undergraduate of Moi University is the current global ambassador.

The two are among a group of four Kenyan students who participated in the challenge. The Four are among the cohort that is undertaking Huawei’s 10th edition of the Seed for Future program.

“With the celebrations we have witnessed today, it is evident that digital learning must go beyond physical classrooms and adopt online learning in the delivery of curriculum,” Inyangala said.

She said a good example is the Open University of Kenya which draws on digital technology to deliver its learning where students are given an opportunity to engage with materials with offline support from teachers.

This she said is the best way to offer accessibility and affordability in delivering education.

Her sentiments were echoed by Kenya’s Deputy Head of Mission in Beijing Ambassador Lynette Mwende who said the digital revolution is here and therefore bridging and closing the digital divide is imperative.

“In this digital era, expanding digital access, especially at the grassroots level is crucial to ensure we are cultivating and developing youthful talents and providing them with requisite skills,” said Amb Mwende.

She said this should include cloud, AI, big data and data analytic skills for the Kenyan youth to navigate a digital world as the government spurs growth in the digital economy.

“The Kenyan youth must be put first and be upskilled with the requisite skills to be equal players in the digital evolution. Through strategic partnerships like the one we enjoy with Huawei, let them be absorbed in the right programmes and provide them with incentives so that there can be a clear differentiation between upskilling and earning in the digital sector,” she said.

The Ambassador said the government is seeking more stakeholders within China to increase such partnership opportunities.