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Headlines for January 14 – February 3, 2023

Singapore Exploring Uses for AI in Education

ChatBot

The launch of ChatGPT has sparked a wave of conversations—everything from concern that it will enable rampant plagiarism to thoughts about how to use it to foster greater creativity. In Singapore, the growth of this new tool has reaffirmed the country’s commitment to exploring innovative uses for AI in education. The AI Centre for Educational Technologies (AICET), a collaboration between the National University of Singapore, the Ministry of Education, and the Digital Government Office, studies, documents, and disseminates new and promising approaches to capitalizing on the potential of AI to foster learning while mitigating its risks. Dr. Ben Leong, AICET’s Director, spoke to Gov Insider about promising approaches. Among the possibilities he highlighted were assisting teachers in differentiating instruction and offering more adaptive learning experiences, easing the burden of exam grading, and offering students more meaningful automated feedback.

Korea Commits to Enhancing After School Care

Education Minister Lee Ju-ho announced that Korea will expand and raise the quality of after school care for elementary students. The goal is to both support working parents and to provide enrichment and academic support to close academic gaps. Programs will operate for an additional hour each day and add before school hours, if needed. In addition, all students have access to enrichment and new after school offerings such as coding and AI courses. The program will start as a pilot in 200 schools this year and will be extended to all schools in the country by 2025, according to the Ministry of Education. After school care is provided free of charge for all students although parents often pay for meals and snacks for their children. For more, see Korea Joongang Daily.

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Anti-Racism Plan Launched in British Columbia Schools

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Developed over three years with students, rightsholders and Indigenous partners, education partners and staff and community groups, British Columbia released its first K-12 Anti-Racism Action Plan. Its aim is to empower students and educators to identify and act against racism in the province’s schools. “For generations, Indigenous, Black and people of color have worked to fit into a system that wasn’t necessarily built for them,” said Mable Elmore, Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives. “The K-12 Anti-Racism Action Plan will help students and educators alike learn how to build more inclusive and equitable learning environments, so more students have equal opportunities to succeed.” Central to the province’s strategy is to support districts in their efforts to raise awareness and commit to anti-racism efforts in their own communities. The province will offer training to school staff to help understand their role in fostering anti-racism, has developed new guidelines for reporting incidents and will share resources among districts.

Teachers Across England and Wales Strike

On Wednesday, thousands of teachers in England and Wales joined the largest single-day strike the country has seen in a decade. Of the half a million workers who joined the strike—which also included university staff, civil servants, and train and bus drivers—most were striking over pay not keeping pace with inflation. Additionally, teachers suggested that lack of funding has led to cuts to teaching assistant numbers and more work for teachers. According to the National Education Union (NEU), England’s largest teacher union, about 85 percent of public schools were impacted by the strike, with about a third of schools missing more than half their teachers. Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of NEU, claims that low pay and high workloads is leading to a third of new teachers quitting within five years. The government says some talks held so far have been “constructive” and it wants further talks. Read more at BBC.

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