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CBSE’s approach to GenAI is progressive and inclusive ethos, aligning with NEP: Antriksh Johri, Director IT & CTO, CBSE

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The wave of digitalisation has given a makeover to governments and industries transforming their operations completely, and the education sector is no different. From the deployment of digital labs to experience-based learning with AR and VR technologies; from gamified lessons to AI-powered educational programmes, the education sector has witnessed the induction of a plethora of innovations in a short span of time. Dr. Antriksh Johri, Chief Data Officer (CDO), Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), and Director IT at CBSE, opened up on innovations and initiatives by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to make education in India future-ready. 

We see a major uprise in the likes of Generative AI, in your opinion, how Generative AI can be pivotal in transforming education in India?

Generative AI indeed holds great potential to transform education, particularly in the creation of customised learning material and assessment tasks fitted to each student’s unique learning curve. As an illustrative example, imagine a GenAI tool accurately producing chapter summaries fitted to each student’s comprehension level or generating practice problems based on areas where the student needs improvement. This smart and adaptive approach can significantly enhance overall learning outcomes.

However, as we advance in using this technology, it is of utmost importance that we do so responsibly. Implementing concepts such as fairness, interpretability, privacy, and robustness tenets of Responsible AI is paramount. Especially, when dealing with students in formative years, who are still shaping their understanding of the world.

Ethical missteps, if unchecked, could be harmful. Bias in AI could lead to unfairly favouring some students over others or privacy breaches could exploit children’s vulnerability. To prevent such undesired consequences, we should develop a framework grounded in Responsible AI principles to ensure that we do not just pursue AI for its sake, but do so considering the social, ethical, and legal implications.

The usage of Generative AI in CBSE’s approach aligns with the progressive and inclusive ethos of our National Education Policy (NEP), and the government’s wider goal of empowering every child with quality education. By cautiously navigating challenges and leveraging the possibilities of GenAI, we can affirm our commitment to a future where every child in India, regardless of their geographic, economic, or social status, has access to the very best educational resources.

Considering CBSE’s extensive track record in developing secure yet user-friendly applications over the years, what robust security measures are implemented to safeguard sensitive educational information and ensure the privacy and integrity of user data?

Thank you for acknowledging CBSE’s long-standing commitment to data security and user-friendliness. We understand the importance of safeguarding sensitive educational information, and we have taken several robust measures to ensure the privacy and integrity of user data within all our applications.

Here are some of the key security features we have implemented:

Secure data storage and transmission:

  • All data is stored in authorised access format and transmitted in encrypted format. We use industry-standard encryption algorithms and protocols to protect against unauthorised access. The application ensures protection against any cross-site reference forgery.
  • Access to the platforms is restricted through a combination of authentication and role-based access controls. This ensures that only authorised personnel have access to sensitive information.
  • Regular data backups are performed and stored securely offsite in case of any unforeseen circumstances.

Continuous monitoring and security audits:

  • We have implemented a comprehensive security monitoring system that continuously tracks and logs all activity within the platform. This allows us to detect any suspicious activity and take immediate action if necessary.
  • We conduct regular security audits by Cert-In-certified third-party organisations to identify and address any potential vulnerabilities in the system.

Staff and user training:

  • CBSE is committed to providing regular training to all staff and users on data security best practices. This includes training on how to identify and avoid phishing attempts, how to create strong passwords, and how to report suspicious activity.

CCMP compliance:

All CBSE applications strictly adhere to the CBSE’s CCMP (Cyber Crisis Management Plan), which outlines a comprehensive approach to managing cybersecurity incidents. This includes staying up-to-date on the latest cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities and implementing new security controls as needed. This plan includes procedures for incident response, communication strategy, and quick recovery.

We believe that these security measures, coupled with CBSE’s track record of developing secure applications, make all our applications a safe and reliable platform for educational data analytics and visualisation. We are committed to protecting the privacy and integrity of user data and will continue to invest in making them even more secure in the future.

Looking at the active adoption of emerging technologies in redefining education in India, what plans do you have for the year ahead?

On the lines of mandates by NEP, CBSE is continuously launching one after the other educational reform and upliftment initiatives. However, running multiple schemes brings challenges in effective implementation due to the lack of visibility of impact in real-time, making insights out of it, and then driving a coordinated action for improvements.

Therefore, CBSE’s IT team has recently developed and launched its own Vidya Samiksha Software, Sqube, to grant seamless access to critical board data and insights. It is geared towards empowering CBSE stakeholders with comprehensive As-is and To-be analytics, empowering them for astute decision-making.

It helps in the assimilation of data from various departments, working in silos, at one platform to remove redundancy making it the single source of truth for all kinds of data related to various programs, initiatives, schools, teachers, students, etc.

Further, it aids in identifying KPIs that are directly linked with a student’s performance in Board examinations. Sqube also enables interactive visualisation for actionable insights to trigger responses across all the levels/departments and provide personalised recommendations to schools for performance enhancement.

Some modern tech features that Sqube offers include: Real-time update and processing; role-based access; automated insight generation; Open standards; fully interactive with drill-down capabilities; utilises existing datasets; data integration capabilities; analytics and visualisation capabilities; fully scalable; responsive, device friendly and browser compatible.

To put forth a brief idea of the impact, Sqube consists of over 1200 crore data points, covers over 450 KPIs with more than 600 analytical visualisations plotted and around 21 types of charts utilised to suit analytical needs. Sqube stakeholders include over 29000 schools catering to more than 12.5 lakhs teachers and 2.65 plus crore students.

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