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AI and education: Guidance for policy-makers‘ is developed by UNESCO within the framework of the implementation of the Beijing Consensus, aimed at fostering AI-ready policy-makers in education. It aims to generate a shared understanding of the opportunities offered by AI for education, as well as its implications for the essential competencies required by the AI era.

AI in education is expected to be worth $6 billion by 2024 and has the potential to address some of the biggest challenges in education today, innovate teaching and learning practices, and ultimately accelerate the progress towards the United Nations SDG 4. However, these rapid technological developments inevitably bring multiple risks and challenges, which have so far outpaced policy debates and regulatory frameworks.

Policy-makers and educators have entered uncharted territory that raises fundamental questions on how the future of learning will interact with AI. The bottom line is that the deployment and use of AI in education must be guided by the core principles of inclusion and equity. For this to happen, policies must promote equitable and inclusive access to AI and the use of AI as a public good, with focus on empowering girls and women and disadvantaged socio-economic groups. The growing use of novel AI technologies in education will only benefit all of humanity if – by design – it enhances human-centred approaches to pedagogy, and respects ethical norms and standards. AI should be geared to improving learning for every student, empowering teachers and strengthening learning management systems. Beyond this, preparing students and all citizens to live and work safely and effectively with AI is a shared challenge at global level. Future learning and training systems must equip all people with core AI competencies, including understanding of how AI collects and can manipulate data, and skills to ensure safety and protection of personal data. Finally, AI by nature transcends the sectors, the planning of effective AI and education policies requires consultation and collaboration with stakeholders across disciplines and sectors.

This publication offers guidance for policy-makers on how best to leverage the opportunities and address the risks, presented by the growing connection between AI and education. It starts with the essentials of AI: definitions, techniques and technologies. It continues with a detailed analysis of the emerging trends and implications of AI for teaching and learning, including how we can ensure the ethical, inclusive and equitable use of AI in education, how education can prepare humans to live and work with AI, and how AI can be applied to enhance education. It finally introduces the challenges of harnessing AI to achieve SDG 4 and offers concrete actionable recommendations for policy-makers to plan policies and programmes for local contexts.