AI to help studentsIn Ecuador, a country where poverty is a prominent social issue, education stands as an essential pathway out of impoverishment. In a modern world where technology is thriving, combining technology and education is beneficial to the population. Starting January 2021, Ecuador has been using AI to help students understand math to a greater extent.

Higher Education in Ecuador

According to CEIC Data, in 2015, the percentage of adults aged 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or an equivalent qualification stood at just 12%. Due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, many higher education students in Ecuador faced learning losses or gaps.

With the help of funding from the World Bank, the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation (SENESCYT) in Ecuador started offering “artificial intelligence (AI) assisted academic support in math” to new students starting their higher education. According to the World Bank, “using AI [has] enabled access to large-scale, low-cost academic remediation programs.”

The program has improved math results for students, which will, in turn, increase skills and job opportunities. This is changing the face of Ecuadorian remedial education. The use of AI to help students will help solve any recurring problem of lowered access to face-to-face classes due to weather, lack of transportation or sickness.


The conventional method for a school to provide extra courses to pupils with learning gaps was to hire a private tutor after school hours. Most parents had the same issues with their children — the children faced difficulty understanding course work. However, not everyone could afford the privilege of hiring a tutor. But, for those who could, parents found it difficult to ensure that each student would be helped in a customized way that caters to their individual pace of learning.

Now, with the help of technology, students are able to access academic support to improve their performance in math. The new AI-powered learning platform is able to tailor tutoring to students’ strengths and weaknesses and prior learning.

According to a February 2022 article by the World Bank, the portal has provided assistance to “more than 14,000 students in the technical and technological higher education system” since January 2021. With the support and involvement of more than 300 educators, more than 400 technical and technological higher education courses implemented the AI tutoring program.

The Importance

According to the World Bank, as of 2020, 33% of Ecuadorians are living under the national poverty line. Access to education can help to combat poverty. According to UNESCO, “if all students in low-income countries had just basic reading skills (nothing else), an estimated 171 million people could escape extreme poverty. If all adults completed secondary education, we could cut the global poverty rate by more than half.”

In this case, providing students with AI-powered academic support to improve their critical skills will help to lay a foundation that paves the path to greater job opportunities. There is a correlation between education and poverty as education provides the skills and knowledge essential for accessing well-paying, skilled employment opportunities to break cycles of poverty. Because of this, access to good quality education is an antidote to poverty. Ecuador’s use of AI to address gaps in learning stands as a step toward the nation’s future economic prosperity.

– Frema Mensah
Photo: WikiCommons

Quotes On Education
The power of education is undeniable all across the world, both socially and personally, in both developing and developed countries. It has even been referred to by the U.N. as the universal “passport to human development.”

With that in mind, here are some of the most thought-provoking and inspiring quotes on education, from several well-known and important figures across time, helping to articulate the true value that can come from receiving one:

  1. “It is in fact a part of the function of education to help us escape, not from our own time — for we are bound by that — but from the intellectual and emotional limitations of our time.
    – T.S. Eliot
  2. “The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.”
    – B.B. King
  3. “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”
    – Frederick Douglas
  4. “Learning is the only thing the mind never exhausts, never fears, and never regrets.”
    – Leonardo da Vinci
  5. “It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.”
    – Maya Angelou
  6. “So let us wage a global struggle against illiteracy, poverty, and terrorism, and let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons.”
    – Malala Yousafzai
  7. “Slavery is one of the worst forms of violence – as is the denial of education. Education is key to liberating children from slavery.”
    – Kailash Satyarthi
  8. “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.”
    John Dewey
  9. “The purpose of education is to replace an empty mind with an open one.”
    – Malcolm Forbes
  10. “Education is learning what you didn’t even know you didn’t know.”
    Daniel J. Boorstin

Mayra Vega

Sources: Better World, Brainy Quote, Good Housekeeping, Inspirational Quotes, Learning Revolution, Positivity Blog, Rasmussen College, U.N., UN Foundation Blog
Photo: Globalization 101

Kazakhstan‘s rapidly growing economy has laid the groundwork for the introduction of several economic, social, and political reforms that have improved the quality of life and spurred the development of a strengthened system of education in Kazakhstan.

Under Article 30 of the 1995 Constitution, Kazakh citizens have the right to free secondary education as well as free higher education in state institutions on a competitive basis. The state has implemented several measures of education reform in recent years. Kazakhstan adopted an updated version of the Law on Education in 2007, with components focused on strengthening national regulation of education and improving upon the nation’s existing education system. One particularly significant component of the new law increases the years of compulsory education to 12. The law also improves upon existing vocational training structures and creates a three-stage model of higher graduate and post-graduate education.

Reform targeting education spending has also been introduced, with total expenditure on education jumping from 2.5 percent to 3 percent in 2006. This commendable improvement nevertheless remains one of the lowest figures of education spending in the CEE/CIS region. The Kazakh government has also indicated its commitment to establishing more educational institutions— it opened 80 new schools in 2008 and is scheduled to establish 245 more within the next five years.

Access to primary and secondary schools across different genders, regions, and income levels is impressively high in Kazakhstan. The total student enrollment rate within primary schools was 91 percent in 2005, with an attendance rate of 98 percent. These figures remain similarly high in secondary schools, with 2005 figures of 92 percent for net enrollment and 95 percent for net attendance. Kazakhstan boasts the lowest number of children lacking access to education levels than any other country in the region. However, Kazakhs benefit far less from access to early childhood education—a mere 33 percent of Kazakh children attend preschool, a disadvantage that leaves many children without regular health checks and immunizations while also making the task of identifying learning disabilities far more difficult.

Access to schooling for children with special learning needs continues to pose a daunting problem to education in Kazakhstan. Disabled children have yet to be fully incorporated into the public education system; a dire lack of resources coupled with few trained professionals in this particular field prevents such needs from being adequately addressed.

Girls enjoy equal access to primary and secondary schooling as do their male counterparts, with a disparity in attendance ratios comprising less than one percentage point. Similar parity applies to children of different regions and income groups, with only a small gap prevailing between students from the wealthiest and poorest income groups upon reaching secondary school.

Kazakhstan has succeeded in keeping a relatively low student-teacher ratio of about 11-to-1. However, several important problems relating to quality continue to pervade the structure of education in Kazakhstan. The country currently lacks a viable method with which to measure learning outcomes, an insufficient supply of teachers remains grossly overworked and underpaid, and the large shortage of schools serves as a persistent disadvantage. The national curriculum and instructional materials, largely remnants of the Soviet era, also need updating along with a reliable set of uniform standards, which must be developed in order to ensure accountability and equality from one school district to another.

– Shenel Ozisik

Sources: UNICEF, IBE
Photo: Flickr

Human Rights Education
Amnesty International and Shinyalu Central and West Self-help Group have been working together to organize a Human Rights Education micro-project to help people in Africa who don’t realize that they have more rights than they think, such as Alice.

Alice and her two children almost lost their home when her husband died and his family attempted to take away all of the property he had owned and evict them from their house. But Alice went to a local meeting that discussed human rights, and she had learned that under Kenyan law, she had a right to take back some of that property because she inherited it. She took proper actions and ultimately won back the property she had thought she lost.

There are too many cases of people who don’t realize all of the rights they have, and therefore they accept what’s given to them because they haven’t been educated properly about what they can do. The Human Rights Education project has trained people in various countries, including Mali, Benin, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Togo, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya and Uganda, to teach citizens about the law and give them confidence to come forward with their case.

An interesting aspect of the project is that each community gets to decide what topics should be covered based on the problems of that particular area. The workshops are then specially designed to reflect those issues, and the training consists of using art, music, theater, and other participatory methods to get people involved in creating their own solutions and learning about their rights.

One topic that has been focused on in particular is women’s rights and ending abusive behavior. Along with educating the citizens about the problems, the teachers of the workshop also discuss the issue with the community’s leaders to try to find a mutual solution to end the abuse.

Katie Brockman

Source: Amnesty International