On December 7, co-organized by UNESCO, the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the National Commission of China for UNESCO, the International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Education (ICAIE) was opened to discuss core capabilities needed in the AI Age and explore strategies for educational development and methods of talent cultivation in future. Education Minister Chen Baosheng presented at the conference the measures taken by the Chinese government to implement education-related targets in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its practices, explorations and plans in accelerating the modernization of education.
Chen noted that since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, to mitigate its impact, governments and education communities around the world had initiated and promoted the shift to online education on a scale that had never been seen before. While AI and other new technologies demonstrated their great potential of facilitating educational reform and empowering people to change their life for the better, they also highlighted the need to deliver more equitable, inclusive, open, flexible and higher-quality education that is accessible to everyone.
Chen said that over the past five years, the Chinese government had actively implemented the UN’s 2030 Agenda, and produced China’s Education Modernization 2035 and its five-year implementation plan, which prioritized education and pushed its development to a new level. The fifth plenary meeting of the 19th CPC Central Committee that was convened last month further clarified the objective of building China into a modern educational powerhouse with high-quality education system. He then introduced four measures to be taken in the education sector to move towards that goal: 1) facilitating well-rounded education by improving quality standards of all academic disciplines and students’ physical fitness standards as well as developing modern curriculum and instruction resources system; 2) ensuring more equitable and inclusive education by enhancing urban-rural and regional coordination in the field of education, providing targeted support to vulnerable groups and improving digital educational resources; 3) promoting the application of new technologies by facilitating pedagogical innovations, exploring diversified process-centered evaluation and improving the safety management and ethical rules for the application of digital technologies; and 4) increasing international exchanges in education by taking more active part in various global education-related actions and governance and expanding the provision of global public education goods.
Chen concluded by expressing China’s willingness to continue hosting the ICAIE, join hands with other countries in implementing the Beijing Consensus adopted at the 2019 ICAIE and working towards the education-related targets in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The conference was held both online and offline. Agapito Mba Mokuy, Chairperson of UNESCO’s Executive Board, and Stefania Giannini, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Education, delivered online speeches. Heads of educational ministries including the Ministers of Education of Slovenia and the UAE, scholars, and private sector representatives from more than 40 countries attended the meeting online. Tian Xuejun, China’s Vice Minister of Education and Director of the National Commission of China for UNESCO presided over the opening ceremony. Zheng Fuzhi, Vice Education Minister, Zhu Yongxin, Vice Chairman of the Central Committee of China Association for the Promotion of Democracy, and Dong Qi, President of Beijing Normal University, attended the offline opening ceremony.