coursera: AI will change the quality, accessibility of digital education: Coursera CEO

Access to digital education will be a gamechanger in unlocking India’s economic potential as generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) could provide a unique advantage for people here, Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO of edtech platform Coursera, said on Friday.

There is a huge reskilling opportunity for generative AI, which can close the gap between average and high performers, and reshape the world to make it a more equal place, Maggioncalda said. “For this to happen, people need access to education,” he added.

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“Covid laid the groundwork for online education as well as remote work opportunities,” Maggioncalda said. “Generative AI could be a great equalising force, and provide a unique advantage for the people of India.”

He added that AI will not just create the need for upskilling, but it will also change the quality and accessibility of education globally, making learning far more effective as well as more affordable.

“It used to cost us $10,000 to translate one course into a different language, now it costs us $20 – that’s the kind of impact AI can have,” Maggioncalda said.

“We have translated 4,200 courses into roughly 20 different languages, so language will no longer be the obstacle for people wanting to access high quality education.”

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The Coursera CEO further added that India will lead other countries in terms of learner numbers in online courses in a couple of years, if it keeps up the current pace of growth.“Out of our 140 million learners (on Coursera), we have 23.4 million learners in India, which is only second to the US in terms of number of learners,” he said.

Globally, only 41% of people who complete high school go on to start college; in India, this figure stands at 27%.

The National Education Policy 2020 aims to increase the gross enrolment ratio to 50% by 2035, and access to digital education will be key to this objective.

Coursera has launched a GenAI academy in order to assist businesses in training employees, as well as a career academy to help organisations reskill and redeploy their staff.

“Companies are looking to India for their future workforce, so the key here is talent agility and how fast talent can move to seize the opportunities,” Maggioncalda said.