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Virtual Conference 11 to 15 November 2019
Artificial intelligence in education and training
Introduction | View Messages

Virtual conference on AI in education and training

Organized by UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre and moderated by James Keevy and Kelly Shiohira, JET Education Services


Nowadays, a considerable amount of attention is being given to Artificial Intelligence (AI), its impacts and innovations in various sectors, and its significance on both the workforce and the labour market. One of the obvious impacts of AI on the workforce is the shift towards higher-skill occupations, a trend that has been observed for some time in higher-income country contexts. Current shifts and future projections of job growth indicate a “hollowing out” of certain skill level professions, with growth in both low-skill and high-skill employment far outstripping intermediate skill labour demand.

Many of the professions most likely to be affected by AI are integrally linked with technical and vocational education and training (TVET). While some jobs will be completely automated, many more will incorporate some degree of automation. An estimated 61% of the jobs are comprised of a medium or high (above 30%) volume of tasks that are susceptible to automation. This trend is more perceivable in middle-skill jobs, whose routine-oriented work, repetitive tasks and predictable environment can be easily replaced by machines. This speaks to the changing set of skills, including improved digital and transversal skills, which institutions must develop in order to ensure continued employability of their students.

Education systems that are responsive to labour market demands will incorporate AI both in the way the TVET system operates and in the education and training provided to students. In fact, a large part of Sustainable Development Goal 4 talks about education systems’ responsiveness to both social and labour market demands in order to produce citizens who are socially and economically active within their societies. The emphasis of this discussion was on the latter aspect, particularly in relation to the ability of TVET systems to leverage AI to maximize their own processes and to ensure students are adequately prepared for the current labour market. In the field of education, AI offers opportunities to improve governance, delivery and alignment with other sectors. Many educational institutions are already leveraging AI in various ways to meet their objectives.

The virtual conference engaged participants to:

  • Better understand the link between AI and TVET
  • Discuss the impact of AI on intermediate-level skills or occupations
  • Explore the role of national legal frameworks and policies/strategies that promote the improvement of the quality of TVET through AI
  • Identify obstacles to harnessing AI in TVET
  • Determine examples and practices of AI’s impact on TVET, with a particular focus on intermediate-level skills and occupations

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