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Education in the age of artificial intelligence
Place of publication | Year of publication | Collation: 
Paris | 2023 | 45 p.
ISSN : 2220-2285 (eng), 2220-2269 (fre)
Corporate author: 
© UNESCO 2023

At a time when the field of education is in worldwide ferment, a single instructional phenomenon has captured the attention not only of professionals but of laymen.” Does the innovation in question refer to artificial intel-ligence (AI), or to the use of augmented reality in the classroom? Neither one. This quote is from an article in The UNESCO Courier about “teaching machines”, a set of programmes developed in the USA to guide students in their learning. It dates back to... March 1965. Which just goes to show that pondering the role of computers in learning is nothing new. Whether lauded or decried, technologies are increasingly part of the school landscape, at least in industrialized countries. Digital learn-ing games, online tutorials or massive open online courses (MOOCs) have become a reality for a growing number of pupils and students. The COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated the phenomenon, spurring the rise, including in Africa, of companies specializing in digital educa-tional services, the so-called “edtechs”. Yet no matter how sophisticated these tech-nologies may be, they have not challenged the founding principle of a teacher giving a class simultaneously to a group of students. Artificial intelligence could be a game-changer. Does the arrival of content-generating tools like ChatGPT and intelligent tutorials mean the oft-heralded revolution has started? In any case, the use of generative AI in learning presents unprece-dented challenges to education systems. As UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring Report 2023 highlights, these new tools can prove invaluable in providing personalized sup-port for students, particularly those with disabil-ities or living in remote areas. But they also raise questions about the digital divide, data confiden-tiality and the preponderance of major global corporations in this sector. And for the moment, safeguards are lacking. It is therefore urgent that regulations be adopted to ensure the use of AI in education remains human-centred, in the best interests of students. To support this, UNESCO published in September 2023 the first-ever Guidance for gen-erative AI in education and research, designed to address the disruptions caused by these technol-ogies. It complements other tools produced by the Organization, including the Recommendation on the ethics of artificial intelligence and a guid-ance for policy-makers on AI and education, both published in 2021.

Resource Type: 
International normative instruments / policy and advocacy documents
Media & information literacy / digital citizenship
Transformative initiatives / Transformative pedagogies
Level of education: 
Primary education
Secondary education
Higher education
Artificial intelligence
educational technology
school education