The maker of ChatGPT is trying to curb its reputation as a freewheeling cheating machine with a new tool that can help teachers detect if a student or artificial intelligence wrote that homework. The new AI Text Classifier launched Tuesday (January 31, 2023) by OpenAI follows a weeks-long discussion at schools and colleges over fears that ChatGPT’s ability to write just about anything on command could fuel academic dishonesty and hinder learning. OpenAI cautions that its new tool – like others already available – is not foolproof. The method for detecting AI-written text “is imperfect and it will be wrong sometimes,” said Jan Leike, head of OpenAI’s alignment team tasked to make its systems safer. Read More: What is ChatGPT, why are schools blocking it? “Because of that, it shouldn’t be solely relied upon when making decisions,” Leike said. Teenagers and college students were among the millions of people who began experimenting with ChatGPT after it launched Nov. 30 as a free application on OpenAI’s website. And while many found ways to use it creatively and harmlessly, the ease with which it could answer take-home test questions and assist with other assignments sparked a panic among some educators. By the time schools opened for the new year, New York City, Los Angeles and other big public school districts began to block its use in classrooms and on school devices. Read More: CES 2023: Walton's smart AI products get huge response The Seattle Public Schools district initially blocked ChatGPT on all school devices in December but then opened access to educators who want to use it as a teaching tool, said Tim Robinson, the district spokesman. “We can’t afford to ignore it,” Robinson said. The district is also discussing possibly expanding the use of ChatGPT into classrooms to let teachers use it to train students to be better critical thinkers and to let students use the application as a “personal tutor” or to help generate new ideas when working on an assignment, Robinson said. Read More: AI & Future of Jobs: Will Artificial Intelligence or Robots Take Your Job? School districts around the country say they are seeing the conversation around ChatGPT evolve quickly. “The initial reaction was ‘OMG, how are we going to stem the tide of all the cheating that will happen with ChatGPT,’” said Devin Page, a technology specialist with the Calvert County Public School District in Maryland. Now there is a growing realization that “this is the future” and blocking it is not the solution, he said. “I think we would be naïve if we were not aware of the dangers this tool poses, but we also would fail to serve our students if we ban them and us from using it for all its potential power,” said Page, who thinks districts like his own will eventually unblock ChatGPT, especially once the company’s detection service is in place. Read More: How Can Artificial Intelligence Improve Healthcare? OpenAI emphasized the limitations of its detection tool in a blog post Tuesday, but said that in addition to deterring plagiarism, it could help to detect automated disinformation campaigns and other misuse of AI to mimic humans. The longer a passage of text, the better the tool is at detecting if an AI or human wrote something. Type in any text -- a college admissions essay, or a literary analysis of Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man” --- and the tool will label it as either “very unlikely, unlikely, unclear if it is, possibly, or likely” AI-generated. But much like ChatGPT itself, which was trained on a huge trove of digitized books, newspapers and online writings but often confidently spits out falsehoods or nonsense, it’s not easy to interpret how it came up with a result. Read More: Ai and Future of Content Writing: Will Artificial Intelligence replace writers? “We don’t fundamentally know what kind of pattern it pays attention to, or how it works internally,” Leike said. “There’s really not much we could say at this point about how the classifier actually works.” Higher education institutions around the world also have begun debating responsible use of AI technology. Sciences Po, one of France’s most prestigious universities, prohibited its use last week and warned that anyone found surreptitiously using ChatGPT and other AI tools to produce written or oral work could be banned from Sciences Po and other institutions. In response to the backlash, OpenAI said it has been working for several weeks to craft new guidelines to help educators. Read More: Ameca: World’s Most Realistic Advanced Humanoid Robot AI Platform “Like many other technologies, it may be that one district decides that it’s inappropriate for use in their classrooms,” said OpenAI policy researcher Lama Ahmad. “We don’t really push them one way or another. We just want to give them the information that they need to be able to make the right decisions for them.” It’s an unusually public role for the research-oriented San Francisco startup, now backed by billions of dollars in investment from its partner Microsoft and facing growing interest from the public and governments. France’s digital economy minister Jean-Noël Barrot recently met in California with OpenAI executives, including CEO Sam Altman, and a week later told an audience at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland that he was optimistic about the technology. But the government minister — a former professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the French business school HEC in Paris — said there are also difficult ethical questions that will need to be addressed. Read More: ChatGPT by Open AI: All you need to know “So if you’re in the law faculty, there is room for concern because obviously ChatGPT, among other tools, will be able to deliver exams that are relatively impressive,” he said. “If you are in the economics faculty, then you’re fine because ChatGPT will have a hard time finding or delivering something that is expected when you are in a graduate-level economics faculty.” He said it will be increasingly important for users to understand the basics of how these systems work so they know what biases might exist.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology on Wednesday recommended the government to incorporate oceanography in the curricula from grade-I to higher secondary level. The recommendation came from the 15th meeting of the committee, held at Parliament Building with its chairman AFM Ruhal Haque in the chair, said a press release. In the meeting, the committee of the 11th parliament reviewed the implementation progress of its previous decisions. Read more: Parliamentary Committee suggests reopening of Sonamasjid land port for immigration The parliamentary watchdog asked the government to implement its recommendations made in the previous meetings. Science and Technology Minister Architect Yeafesh Osman joined the meeting on an invitation of the committee’s chief. Committee members Iqbalur Rahim, Shafiqul Azam Khan, Mozaffar Hossain, Sherin Ahmed and Selima Ahmad attended the meeting. Read more: Parliamentary body for increasing DNA, dope test labs
It has been more than seven years since the prime minister directed the authorities to install rooftop solar power system in all schools across the country. The order is yet to see the light. An official document, obtained by the UNB, shows that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued an order on April 9 in 2015 to the power authorities to bring country’s all schools under solar power system Following the order, the Power Division of the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources asked all the 6 power distribution companies to take initiative to implement the order. Read: Climate Smart Solar Irrigation to meet challenges of climate change: Researchers urged As per the order, Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB), Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board (BREB), Dhaka Power Distribution Company Limited (DPDC), Dhaka Electric Supply Company (Desco), West Zone Power Distribution Company Limited (WZPDCL), and Northern Electric Supply Company (Nesco) conducted their own surveys under a certain category and selected 92,513 schools across the country to install the rooftop solar power system. According to the surveys, the total rooftop solar power plants' length was calculated to be 20.031 million square meters which would generate 1,185 MW of electricity. Officials said the main idea behind the PM's order was to promote green energy and reduce carbon emission as part of Bangladesh's Global Climate Change commitment. Sources said though the surveys were conducted by the distribution companies, there was no follow-up either from the ministry, or from the distribution companies to implement the highest official directive. About five years later, the Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (Sreda) and Power Cell, the technical wing of the Power Division, prepared a report fixing some criteria and also the process that would apply in implementation of a project in this regard. Sources said the report was sent to the Power Division on May 26 last year. But the Power Division found the report a bit incomplete as it didn't mention which ministry would bear a huge cost that would be required to executive the project. Secondly, they said, it was also not clear as to whether the ministry concerned should implement such a project on Capex Model or on Opex Model. Read: Govt exploring rooftop, floating solar power for scarcity of lands: Nasrul In the Capex Model, the beneficiary ministry or an organisation would install the solar plant at its own cost and get the ownership. On the other hand, under the Opex Model, a third party would install the plant at its own cost as an independent power producer (IPP) and sell the electricity to the beneficiary organisation. Official sources said that recently the Sreda and the Power Cell recast their joint report on the issue and re-sent the report to the Power Division. They said the report was prepared considering the country's achievement of completing 100 per cent electricity coverage. A source at Power Division, wishing not to be named, informed that a high level meeting of the decision recently decided to send an executive summary on the subject to the prime minister for further instruction.
Cash-strapped Sri Lanka on Sunday extended school closures for one week because there isn't enough fuel for teachers and parents to get children to classrooms, and the energy minister appealed to the country's expatriates to send money home through banks to finance new oil purchases. A huge foreign debt has left the Indian Ocean island with none of the suppliers willing to sell fuel on credit. The available stocks, sufficient for only several days, will be provided for essential services, including health and port workers, public transport and food distribution, officials said. ”Finding money is a challenge. It’s a huge challenge,” Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera told reporters. Read: Gas lines and scuffles: Sri Lanka faces humanitarian crisis He said the government has ordered new fuel stocks and the first ship with 40,000 metric tons of diesel is expected to arrive on Friday while the first ship carrying gasoline would come on July 22. Several other fuel shipments are in the pipeline. But he said authorities are struggling to find $587 million to pay for the fuel. Wijesekera said that Sri Lanka owed about $800 million to seven fuel suppliers. Last month, schools were closed nationwide for a day due to fuel shortages and had remained closed for the last two weeks in urban areas. Schools will remain shut until Friday. Authorities also announced countrywide power cuts of up to three hours a day from Monday because they can’t supply enough fuel to power generating stations. Sweeping power cuts have been a blight on Sri Lanka's economy for months, along with severe shortages of essentials including cooking gas, medicine and food imports. Wijesekera said the main problem is the lack of dollars and appealed to some 2 million Sri Lankans working abroad to send their foreign exchange earnings home through banks instead of informal channels. He said workers’ remittances, which usually stood at $600 million per month, had declined to $318 million in June. According to the Central Bank, the remittances — the nation’s main foreign exchange earner — dropped from $2.8 billion in the first six months of 2021 to $1.3 billion in the same period this year for a decline of 53%. Read: Senior US officials visit Sri Lanka to help resolve crisis The drop came after the government last year ordered the mandatory conversion of foreign currency. It said that black-market premiums have led people to hoard foreign currency. Sri Lanka's has been getting most of its fuel needs from neighboring India, which provided it with a credit line. The government said it was also negotiating with suppliers in Russia and Malaysia. Sri Lanka has suspended repayment of about $7 billion in foreign loans due this year out of $25 billion to be repaid by 2026. The country’s total foreign debt is $51 billion. The economic meltdown has triggered a political crisis with widespread anti-government protests erupting across the country. Protesters have blocked main roads to demand gas and fuel, and television stations showed people in some areas fighting over limited stocks. In the capital, Colombo, protesters have been occupying the entrance to the president’s office for more than two months to demand President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's resignation. They accuse him and his powerful family that included several siblings holding top government positions of plunging the country into the crisis through corruption and misrule.
Sri Lankan authorities on Friday closed schools and asked public officials not to come to work in a desperate move to prepare for an acute fuel shortage that is expected to last days amid the nation's worst economic crisis in decades. The Public Administration Ministry asked the public officials — except for those who maintain essential services — not to come to work on Friday “in a view of current fuel shortage and issues in transport facilities” across the country. Also read: Sri Lankan power family falls from grace as economy tanks State- and government-approved private schools also closed Friday amid the worsening fuel shortage, with thousands of people waiting in queues at fuel stations across the country for days at a time. Sri Lanka is now almost without gasoline and faces an acute shortage of other fuels as well. The government has been struggling to find money to pay for the importation of fuel, gas and other essentials in recent months as the Indian Ocean island nation is on the brink of bankruptcy. Its economic woes have brought on a political crisis, with the government facing widespread protests and unrest. For months, Sri Lankans have endured long lines to buy those essentials, most of which come from abroad. Shortages of hard currency have also hindered imports of raw materials for manufacturing and worsened inflation. Protesters blocked main roads to demand gas and fuel, and television stations showed people in some areas fighting over limited stocks. Authorities have announced countrywide power cuts of up to four hours a day because they can’t supply enough fuel to power generating stations. Sri Lanka has suspended repayment of about $7 billion in foreign loans due this year out of $25 billion to be repaid by 2026. The country’s total foreign debt is $51 billion. The finance ministry says the country currently has only $25 million in usable foreign reserves. Also read: Ranil Wickremesinghe takes oath as Sri Lanka's PM Protesters have occupied the entrance to the president’s office for more than a month, calling for President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to resign. Months of anti-government rallies have led to the near-dismantling of the once-powerful ruling family, with one of the president’s brothers resigning as prime minister, and other siblings and a nephew leaving their Cabinet posts. Protesters accuse the Rajapaksas of triggering the crisis through corruption and misrule. Sri Lanka's new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said Monday that about $75 billion is needed urgently to help provide essential items, but the country’s treasury is struggling to find even $1 billion. Attacks by Rajapaksa’s supporters on protesters last week sparked nationwide violence that left nine people — including a lawmaker — dead, and more than 200 injured. Homes of lawmakers and their supporters were burned down.
Hundreds of students have been hit hard as flooding forced authorities to close educational institutions in Sylhet district. According to the district primary education office, floodwaters have entered some 550 educational institutions in the district. Also read:No improvement in Sylhet's flood situation Besides, 200 educational institutions have been designated as shelters for the flood-hit residents of the district, forcing students to stay away from their academic activities. All the rivers of the district are full to the brim due to the onrush of hilly waters from the upstream and incessant rains over the past several days, according to officials. The low-lying areas of the district have already been flooded, rendering nearly one lakh people marooned. There are 1,477 primary schools in the district and 400 schools were affected till Wednesday. Goainghat, Kanaighat, Jointapur, Jakiganj and Companiganj upazilas are the worst hit. District education officer Shakhawat Ershad feared that new areas in the district could be flooded soon due to the rise in water levels of all the rivers in the district. Besides, sources said that 150 secondary schools and madrasas have been inundated due to flooding. Flood situation in Sylhet The overall flood situation in Sylhet district worsened further Thursday morning, with some rivers still flowing above the danger level due to the onrush of hilly waters from India. Although the showers have subsided in the district in the last two days, the water levels in rivers and haors of Sylhet rose two more inches due to the onrush this morning. According to the administration, at least 30 areas of Sylhet city have been flooded. Also read: Flood situation worsens in Sylhet; low-lying areas in city inundated The flood situation has also worse in 13 upazilas of the district -- Companiganj, Gowainghat, Kanaighat, Zakiganj, Jaintapur and Sylhet Sadar upazilas to name a few. The floods have affected 20 lakh people in Sylhet district and city. Meanwhile, the floods have triggered power cuts in different upazilas and Sylhet city, hitting hard some 11.5 lakh consumers of Bangladesh Power Development Board and Palli Bidyut Samiti.
The rate of attendance among girls is higher than that of boys as schools reopen after a long hiatus from the Covid pandemic, according to a recent study. It finds that absenteeism was 16 percent to 37 percent for boys and 14 percent to 35 percent for girls in the primary schools, and 34 percent to 45 percent for boys and 28 percent to 41 percent for girls in the secondary schools. The research conducted under the "Safe Back to School Campaign" by 21 national and international organisations was unveiled at a programme in Dhaka Wednesday. It was carried out to capture school attendance, maintenance of health safety measures and mental well-being of the students after the long closures of the schools. The report identified school-goers' involvement in economic activities, child marriage, migration of families to other places, shifting to other educational institutes – especially Qawmi madrasah, and loss of interest in the study as the primary reasons for absenteeism. READ: Decisive steps needed to keep boys in school: Unesco The students felt irritated, lonely, isolated and under mental pressure during the lockdown. The causes explained by the parents, teachers and education officers include financial crisis, uncertain future, risk of child marriage, risk of discontinuing education, increase in problems in the family, not being able to attend online classes, and difficulties in understanding lessons. After the reopening of the school, these problems have reduced, but some new issues have arisen, such as learning difficulties, difficulties in understanding lessons and challenges in mingling with others. The report also found that 74 percent of students wear masks in school and 72 percent overall maintain social distance in the classroom. Speaking at the programme, Education Minister Dipu Moni said, “We need to have a long-term plan to make up for the losses in the primary and secondary schools. This study coincides with the results of the government studies.” “We have to work at the grassroots level to bring back the victims of child marriage. We have started training 200,000 teachers to work on mental health. Each educational institution will have at least two trained counselling teachers and a professional counsellor in each district.” The Safe Back to School Campaign was launched on February 10, 2021 to bring children back to the classroom safely. Since then, the campaign has been doing advocacy at the local and national levels while also raising public awareness.
Authorities in the Indian capital region Friday reopened schools fully in offline mode after a gap of two years. It is for the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic that physical attendance was made no longer optional. Schools in Delhi were first closed in March 2020 immediately after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent imposition of a countrywide lockdown. The classwork resumed after some time in online mode and students were asked to attend classes sitting at their homes while remaining connected to their school teachers via the Internet. Although the schools reopened for in-person classes multiple times in the past two years, the online mode was never called off. Last year, schools reopened briefly, however, the second wave of the pandemic, the grave air pollution levels in the capital city and then the Omicron wave forced them to shut down again. The decision to phase out online classes was taken during the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) meeting in February this year, following which schools were permitted to fully switch to offline classes from April 1, with the onset of the new academic session. READ: Govt primary schools to remain open till 20th Ramadan: Minister "It's after two years that schools are reopening and students were excited to get back to school," a local news agency quoted Sudha Acharya, chairperson of the National Progressive Schools' Conference (NPSC) as having said. Teachers say the return of in-person classes would allow students to learn properly. According to them, the closure of schools during the past two years has resulted in a significant learning gap. Reports said many schools however stated they will resume classes only from Monday. "Online classes will be completely suspended. Both students and teachers are happy since a return to the familiar routine is less stressful," said Jyoti Arora, principal of Mount Abu Public School, Rohini told a local newspaper.
The government will introduce two-day weekly holiday in all educational institutions in the country from the next year, Education Minister Dipu Moni has said. Dipu Moni came up with the announcement on Saturday while addressing the inauguration program of the new curricula of the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB). “There are already two weekly holidays in universities and in some secondary and higher secondary level education institutions. We proposed two-day weekly holiday for the secondary and the higher secondary level educational institutions to the Prime Minister with the new curriculum plan.” The PM later added the primary educational institutions in the plan, she said. Also read: Covid-19 Advisory Committee to meet tonight to discuss reopening of educational institutions: Dipu Sixty-two educational institutions which have been brought under the new curricula will get two weekly holidays from this year, she said. Piloting of the new curricula will start in these institutions from February 22 with the reopening of the education institutions. Dipu Moni said there might be faults and mistakes in the books inaugurated today as they have been published newly under the curricula. “As the piloting begins, we will get feedback every week to determine success of our efforts with the new curriculum,” she said. Also read: Educational institutions may be reopened at Feb-end: Hasina About introducing technical education in all educational institutions, the minister said,” It will need a huge investment in the education sector as newn infrastructures like workshops, laboratories, tools will be needed to introduce technical education in all educational institutions. “Already technical education has been initiated in 600 educational institutions. This will need to be done in phases as we have included the subjects of life and livelihoods in the new curricula,” Dipu Moni added.
The government on Wednesday extended the closure of secondary and higher secondary-level educational institutions by two weeks until February 20, taking the worsening Covid-19 situation in the country. “The closure of schools and colleges has been extended by two weeks,” MA Khair, public relations officer of the Education Ministry, told UNB. Read: Keep schools open to avert learning catastrophe: UNICEF On January 21, the government announced that all the schools and colleges of the country will remain closed from January 21 to February 6 in an effort to curb the spread of Covid-19 pandemic. The following day, the Ministry of Education issued an 11-point directive, including resuming online classes, for schools and colleges during the closure. Besides, the vaccination of students aged between 12 to 17 years against Covid-19 was directed to be continued following the health guidelines in coordination with the zonal offices of the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education, District Education Office, Upazila Secondary Education Offices, local administration and Civil Surgeons. After a long closure due to the pandemic, the students of schools and colleges in Bangladesh returned to their classrooms on September 12 last year. Read:Schools, colleges to return to online classes: Ministry The government shut the educational institutions on March 17, 2020, after the country reported its first Covid-19 cases on March 8 and later the closure was extended several times.