According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which hosted more than 40 ministers, fewer than 10 percent of schools and universities follow formal guidelines on using hugely popular artificial intelligence (AI) tools, such as For example, the chatbot software ChatGPT held a groundbreaking online meeting on Thursday.
The ministers exchanged policies and plans while discussing the new roadmap of the Agency for Education and Generative AI, which creates data and content based on existing algorithms, but just like humans can make alarming factual mistakes.
“Generative AI opens up new horizons and challenges for education, but we urgently need to take action to ensure that new AI technologies are integrated into education on our terms,” said Stefania Giannini, UNESCO Deputy Director General for Education. “It is our duty to prioritize safety, inclusion, diversity, transparency and quality.”
Institutions face myriad challenges in responding immediately to the sudden emergence of these powerful AI apps, according to a new UNESCO survey of more than 450 schools and universities.
A rapidly evolving landscape
At the same time, governments worldwide are in the process of formulating appropriate policy responses to a rapidly evolving education landscape, while further developing or refining national strategies on AI, privacy and other regulatory frameworks, according to UNESCO.
However, proceed with caution. The risks of using these tools could result in students being exposed to incorrect or biased information, some ministers said at the global meeting.
The debate revealed other shared concerns, including how to mitigate chatbots’ inherent failings of producing glaring errors. Ministers also looked at how best to integrate these tools into curricula, teaching methods and exams, and how to adapt education systems to the disruptions that generative AI is rapidly creating.
Many emphasized the crucial role teachers play as facilitators of learning in this new era.
However, according to UNESCO, teachers need guidance and training to meet these challenges.
Supplement to existing frameworks
Teachers need guidance and training to meet these challenges. – UNESCO
For its part, the agency will continue to steer the global dialogue with policymakers, partners, academia and civil society in line with its paper “AI and Education: A Guide for Policymakers and Recommendation on the Ethics of AI” and the Beijing Consensus on Artificial Intelligence and Education.
UNESCO is also developing policy guidelines for the use of generative AI in education and research, as well as AI competency frameworks for students and teachers to use in the classroom.
These new tools will be unveiled during Digital Learning Week, taking place September 4-7 at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris, the agency said.
Find out more about UNESCO’s work in the field of digital learning and education here.