“AI in education must be used under clear guidelines”, discussions on edtech revitalization are on the rise

OECD “We must accept the ever-evolving characteristics of generative AI”
Review whether to include AI utilization measures in the ‘Edutech Promotion Act’
“Education effectiveness of edtech has not been verified” pointed out

As the field of use of generative artificial intelligence (AI), including Chat GTP, continues to expand, it was suggested that clear guidelines are needed to utilize the technology in the field of education. As several major countries are considering applying generative AI to education, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) suggested that regulations are needed to accommodate the level of AI evolution.

Nine countries, including Korea, have completed the preparation of guidelines for using generative AI education

According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on the 10th, as of December 2023, 12 OECD member countries are preparing legislation or guidelines to use generative AI in education. Currently, Korea has issued non-binding guidelines and is in the process of creating separate regulations requiring approval.

The OECD evaluated Korea as an ‘exemplary country’ by introducing that it is creating guidelines for the use of AI for each stage of education. A total of 9 countries, including Korea, have announced non-binding guidelines regarding the use of AI in education, and no country has yet completed the enactment of separate laws. In Korea, the enactment of the Artificial Intelligence Education Promotion Act, proposed by People Power Party lawmaker Cho Hae-jin, was discussed in August 2022, but it has been pending in the National Assembly for over a year and the enactment of the law is unclear.

The most important task in applying generative AI to the field of education was the establishment of detailed policies related to data and personal information protection. In addition, the OECD advised that discussions should be focused on improving the fairness of generative AI output and resolving information imbalance, building accuracy and reliability of technology, and transparency of algorithms.

The OECD emphasized, “Resolving issues related to data and personal information protection is the top priority, and ultimately we must move in a direction that emphasizes the potential of generative AI.” The explanation is that related laws or guidelines being prepared by each country must be able to sufficiently accommodate the increasingly evolving characteristics of generative AI.

Furthermore, it was also suggested that AI model training programs should be integrated to increase the use of generative AI in the educational field and the digital utilization ability of teachers and other educational workers should be improved. To achieve this, he suggested that one way is to develop a dedicated program that encompasses not only technical aspects but also educational and ethical considerations.

The OECD emphasized that “each country must establish clear and detailed guidelines regarding the use of generative AI in the field of education,” and added, “If new guidelines are established based on this by referring to actual AI use cases, various “This kind of generative AI will be able to enhance and improve the quality of education,” he said.


Ministry of Education opens arms to foster education information technology industry

It is known that our Ministry of Education is discussing whether to include content related to the use of generative AI in the preparation of the “Edutech Promotion Act” (tentative name) that is currently being promoted. The EdTech Promotion Act, which has been discussed in earnest since the first half of last year, aims to realize ‘customized education for all’ by utilizing the EdTech advanced by public education. △ Activating the use of educational information technology in schools △ Fostering the educational information technology industry combined with public education △ Key tasks included revitalizing K-education information technology exports and establishing a national-level education information technology support system.

The Ministry of Education hoped that through this, it would simply create an environment where education and technology could be combined, and that educational entities would be able to actively utilize technology to lead innovation in public education in Korea. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education Lee Joo-ho announced the plan in September last year and said, “We will actively communicate with the education field so that digital-based education innovation can take root in the field.” He added, “In order to build a safe digital education system, we will lead the spread in the international community by establishing ‘digital education norms’ suitable for the AI ​​era.”

Some point out that public education has become a testing ground for private technology development

However, the response from the education community is cold. It is pointed out that the government is in too much of a hurry to introduce EdTech, developed by the private sector, when its educational effectiveness is unclear and there is not enough social discussion. The Good Teacher Movement, a Christian teachers’ union, issued a statement immediately after the Ministry of Education’s announcement of its plan to revitalize edutech, pointing out that “there has been no confirmation yet on what impact edutech and AI digital textbooks will have on students’ education,” and that “there is no need for sufficient social discussion on the related issues.” He criticized, “It wouldn’t be right to make a law first.”

There were even claims that public education was being used as a test bed for technological development by private companies. An official from the Korean Teachers and Education Workers Union said, “The network for officially distributing private technology to public education has been opened,” adding, “Not only is public education being used as a testing ground for the technological development of private companies, but it is also providing digital skills to teachers who are overloaded with work, including student guidance. “It’s like imposing another burden like reinforcements,” he said emphatically.

There are also many voices pointing out the limitations of the domestic edtech industry. This is because the educational directions in Korea and foreign countries are different, so even if technological advancement is achieved domestically, there is a limit to growth due to increased exports. Kim Seong-yoon, CEO of iPortfolio, an English reading program developer, said, “The strategy of succeeding in the domestic market and then advancing overseas does not work in the field of education.” He added, “Our education is reading-oriented, but overseas, the education system is focused on speaking. “The more sophisticated the technology is within Korea, the more difficult it becomes to advance overseas,” he explained.

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