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Top Academics Urge Government to Incorporate AI into South African Schools

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The goal is to equip students and young individuals with the necessary skills for the evolving future job market.

AI Discourse at The IIE Conference

The plea for AI incorporation into the education system emerged during an international AI conference organized by the Independent Institute of Education (The IIE), South Africa’s premier private higher education institution, held on November 30, 2023, at the IIE MSA Campus in Johannesburg.

Dr. Asakitikpi’s Insights on AI Impact

Dr. Alex Asakitikpi, Head of IIE MSA’s School of Social Sciences, emphasized the rapid transformation AI brings to the workforce. He highlighted estimations that 50% of current jobs may vanish as companies embrace AI-driven technologies.

Despite potential job displacement, Dr. Asakitikpi underscored the efficiency and speed gains AI can offer, creating new opportunities for job seekers and entrepreneurs.

Government Action and Industry Collaboration Advocated

Dr. Asakitikpi suggested the establishment of a government Task Force to proactively develop AI policies. Additionally, he emphasized collaboration between the industry and higher education institutions to fund research into AI-related skills.

Goldman Sachs’ Economic Outlook on AI

Global multinational bank Goldman Sachs predicts that the deployment of new AI technologies could boost global GDP by 7%, contributing up to $7 trillion to the world economy over the next decade.

However, this advancement may come at the cost of 300 million jobs due to automation.

AI-Driven Tools Transforming Education

Dr. Anthony Kaziboni, Head of Centre for Evidence at the University of Johannesburg, discussed the revolutionary impact of AI-driven tools like ChatGPT and Grammarly on traditional teaching methods.

These tools not only transform teaching but also redefine the essence of learning.

AI’s Role in Task Performance

The conference explored whether AI would lead to a shift in traditional roles, with humans assisting machines or vice versa.

Professor Alewande Daramola from the University of Pretoria believes AI and machines will consistently support humans in tackling complex tasks, highlighting the irreplaceable human qualities of creativity and judgment.

Consensus: Embrace AI Across Education Levels

The overarching consensus from the conference is a call to embrace AI integration at all education levels, from early learning to higher education, to adequately prepare the youth for the dynamic future job market.

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