Conference on Education in the Artificial Intelligence Age Held
Artificial Intelligence Can Help Develop Education and Make It Accessible to Everyone
December 6, 2023
Belgrade, 6 December 2023 – The conference on the impact of new technologies, especially artificial intelligence, on education, called “The World Ahead” gathered more than 600 participants in the Palace of Serbia today: teachers, representatives of academia, and experts in the fields of education, science, and technology. The event was organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Petlja Foundation, with support from the Serbian Government and the Ministry of Education.
State Secretary at the Ministry of Education, Prof. Ph.D. Ivica Radović, highlighted how the Ministry of Education views the digital transformation in education as a digital evolution that primarily caters for the students’ wellbeing and supports their all-round development, as clearly set out in public policy documents.
“A series of actions are being taken to focus both on developing teachers’ and students’ digital competencies and on those that relate to the realm of pedagogical implementation of digital technologies and artificial intelligence”, Radović said, and he thanked UNDP and the Petlja Foundation for providing crucial support to the Ministry and schools in this field. The panels, lectures, and presentations discussed how artificial intelligence changes the way we learn, what the advantages and disadvantages of using artificial intelligence in education are, and what knowledge and skills teaching staff and students will need to use the opportunities offered by artificial intelligence for the benefit of all of society.
The Resident Representative of UNDP in Serbia, Yakup Berish, highlighted how it was important that all students had equal access to new technologies to prepare them for the future, where artificial intelligence is going to play an ever-increasing role. “UNDP is working together with the Ministry of Education and the Petlja Foundation to boost the digital literacy and digital skills of students and teachers alike. Among other things, we implemented training to enhance teachers’ skills, developed free online resources to learn programming, and organised programming summer schools”, Berish said.
Through its various segments, the conference also dealt with issues of the responsible and critical use of artificial intelligence in education; how this and other new technologies like gaming can support teaching, as well as how artificial intelligence will impact inclusion in education.
“Once they complete their education, students sitting at their desks today will work in a time where a broad use of artificial intelligence is implied. This is why the education systems, not only in our country but throughout the world, are facing the major challenge of preparing students of today for the jobs and ways of working of tomorrow. This is why I believe it is extremely important that we are at a conference asking those exact questions today and opening topics of exceptional importance for the entire society”, Nebojša Vasiljević, Petlja Foundation director, said.
The accompanying exhibition “STE(A)M in Education” saw institutions, civil society organisations, and teacher and student teams present initiatives representative of best practices in using new technologies and STEAM disciplines in education. Visitors had the opportunity to get to know robots, algorithms in the physical world, how plum stones are turned into briquettes, and what that has to do with a Lego robot, as well as projects primary school students implemented with the help of micro:bit devices. For those who like it hot, high school students presented everything that can be obtained from chilli peppers and how it correlates with STEM. And finally, visitors also had the opportunity to find out more about careers in the gaming industry and creative technologies as a whole, the new occupations created by this industry, and why this is one of the fastest-growing industries.
“The World Ahead” conference was organised within the “Building Key Computing Competencies - Towards the Workforce of the Future” initiative implemented by UNDP in partnership with the Ministry of Education and the Petlja Foundation, with support from the Serbian Government.