There is no doubt that education is vital to assisting children’s development. Even more importantly, it is the pathway for children to pursue their dreams and to achieve social mobility. However, due to geographical and cultural characteristics, there exists a deficiency in rural educational resources in Taiwan. According to the Education Bureau’s Department of Statistics, in 2019, rural students at or below high school numbered a total of 117,488 individuals and rural schools accounted for almost 30% of all certified schools nationwide. Given that children face an unequal distribution of education resources due to place of birth, it is vital we reflect upon the structural issues embedded in education policies and society in order to pursue education equality.
Following the official execution of the 2019 National Education Plan, whether rural schools can overcome a lag in digital resources and provide sufficient technological instruction to meet the needs of a new tech era remains a challenge that society must overcome together. To tackle this, New Taipei City’s Education Bureau teamed up with an NTNU research team led by Professor Zhang Yu Shan and VIA to promote New Taipei City’s AI STEM Education Plan. The plan seeks to help rural students access tech courses which fulfill the requirements of the 2019 National Education Plan, in addition to understanding up-and-coming AI trends. With the advantages made available through collaboration between industry, government, and education sectors, the team hopes that rural children might use AI education to bootstrap themselves to a brighter future.
On August 3rd, the AI STEM Education Plan Camp hosted a live presentation led by Professor Zhang Yu Shan’s team to demonstrate the camp’s results. The students shared numerous projects featuring the VIA Pixetto AI vision sensor — projects which aim to spark student interest in AI knowledge and application for the long term. Examples of projects demonstrating students’ creativity and their ingenious application of VIA Pixetto included AI Snow White, AI Totoro Bus, and AI Goods Sorting Machine etc.
As an NTNU students noted, “Connecting AI color recognition functions with day-to-day life to create an interactive end product enables AI education to spark student interest and engagement!” Despite educational resource deficiencies caused by geographical factors in rural regions, students’ creative passion for learning AI remained palpable throughout the presentation.”
“Ten years cultivates a tree, one hundred years cultivates a person”, or so the Chinese saying goes. Education issues require the attention of everyone in society, especially in this age of information. Beyond just promoting technological education, the issue of unequal technological education in rural regions requires further reflection: given the resource gap between urban and rural regions, how can educational equality be achieved? The solution to rural education inequality in this AI era remains dependent upon collaboration between government bodies, education institutions, industry, and community groups. We hope that further future collaboration between groups for the sake of AI education will occur. Only then can all children to be given the opportunity to broaden their ambitions and become tech savvy talent in this up-and-coming era of AI.
Written by Josephine Cheng, a current intern at VIA and a Communications student at the University of Pennsylvania.