AI: Benefits, concerns in the education sector

As a disruptive technology, AI has the potential to transform various industries, particularly the educational sector.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has emerged as a transformative technology that is reshaping industries and societies around the world. The rapid advancements in AI have opened up a plethora of opportunities for businesses to innovate, improve efficiency, and create new value propositions for customers.

As a disruptive technology, AI has the potential to transform various industries, particularly the educational sector.

In the educational sector, AI is being leveraged to enhance teaching and learning experiences, personalize education, support administrative tasks, and improve educational outcomes.

This instalment explores the benefits and concerns of integrating AI in the educational sector, examining how AI technologies are reshaping the way education is delivered and received.

Benefits of AI in education sector

Personalized learning and equitable: The challenge with our current educational system is to have a “one-size-fits-all” approach to education, at all levels. As a result many learners have either been left behind of fallen out of the school system altogether. One of the key benefits of AI in education is its ability to personalize learning experiences for students. AI-powered adaptive learning platforms can analyse students' learning styles, preferences, and performance data to deliver customized learning materials, exercises, and assessments tailored to each student's individual needs. By adapting content and pacing based on students' strengths and weaknesses, AI technologies can help students learn at their own pace and achieve better learning outcomes. That is what a good educational system should be — inclusive and equitable.

Enhanced teaching and learning experiences: AI technologies such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and intelligent tutoring systems are revolutionizing the way teachers deliver instruction and students engage with course materials. VR and AR technologies enable immersive and interactive learning experiences, allowing students to explore complex concepts, conduct virtual experiments, and engage in simulations that enhance their understanding and retention of information. Intelligent tutoring systems provide real-time feedback, guidance, and support to students, helping them master challenging topics and improve their academic performance. This is fast, efficient and real-time, benefitting both the learner and the facilitator/educator.

Automation of Administrative Tasks: AI can streamline administrative tasks in educational institutions, freeing up time and resources for educators to focus on teaching and student engagement. AI-powered systems can automate routine tasks such as grading assignments, scheduling classes, managing student records, and generating reports, saving educators valuable time and reducing administrative burdens. By automating repetitive tasks, AI technologies can increase efficiency, accuracy, and productivity in educational institutions. Many educational institutions around the globe embracing AI are already benefitting from these developments.

Data-driven decision-making: AI enables educators and administrators to analyse vast amounts of data to identify trends, patterns, and insights that can inform decision-making and improve educational outcomes. By leveraging AI algorithms, educational institutions can track student performance, monitor attendance, predict student success, and identify areas for improvement. Data-driven insights generated by AI technologies can help educators tailor instruction, interventions, and support services to meet the diverse needs of students and enhance their learning experiences.

Accessibility and inclusivity: AI technologies have the potential to make education more accessible and inclusive for students with diverse learning needs and abilities. AI-powered tools such as speech recognition software, text-to-speech applications, and language translation services can support students with disabilities, language barriers, or learning differences, enabling them to access educational content and participate in learning activities. By removing barriers to learning, AI promotes inclusivity.

Concerns of AI

Equity and bias: One of the primary concerns associated with AI in education is the potential for perpetuating biases and inequalities. Those who develop AI algorithms may inadvertently reflect and amplify biases present in training data, leading to unfair outcomes, discrimination, and inequities in educational opportunities. This is currently being witnessed in other sectors where global opportunities for conducting business online is not available to certain locations in the south because of biased and restrictive algorithms. Educators and developers must be vigilant in addressing biases, ensuring transparency, and promoting fairness in AI systems to prevent negative consequences for marginalized and underrepresented student populations.

Privacy and data security: The integration of AI in education raises concerns about the privacy and security of student data. AI technologies collect, analyse, and store vast amounts of sensitive information about students, including academic performance, behaviour, and personal details.

Educational institutions must implement robust data protection policies, encryption protocols, and access controls to safeguard student data from unauthorized access, breaches, and misuse. Ensuring data privacy and security is essential to building trust and maintaining the integrity of AI-driven educational systems.

Ethical use of AI: Ethical considerations surrounding the use of AI in education are paramount, as AI technologies raise complex ethical dilemmas related to autonomy, accountability, and transparency.

Educators and developers must adhere to ethical guidelines, codes of conduct, and best practices in the design, development, and deployment of AI systems in education. Promoting ethical use of AI entails ensuring transparency, accountability, and informed consent, as well as addressing ethical concerns related to algorithmic decision-making, data privacy, and student well-being.


  1. Teacher Professional Development: While AI technologies offer numerous benefits for teaching and learning, they also pose challenges for educators in terms of adapting to new technologies, acquiring digital skills, and integrating AI into pedagogical practices. Teacher professional development is crucial to equip educators with the knowledge, skills, and competencies needed to effectively use AI tools, leverage data-driven insights, and support student learning in AI-enhanced environments. Educational institutions must invest in training programs, workshops, and resources to empower educators to harness the full potential of AI in education.


  1. Job Displacement and Reskilling: The integration of AI in education raises concerns about the potential impact on the workforce, particularly in terms of job displacement and the need for reskilling and upskilling. AI technologies may automate certain tasks traditionally performed by educators, leading to concerns about job displacement and the need for educators to acquire new skills to remain relevant in the evolving educational landscape. While AI technologies can enhance teaching and learning experiences, they are not intended to replace human educators but rather to augment their capabilities and support their work. Educators must adapt to the changing role of technology in education by embracing lifelong learning, professional development, and continuous upskilling to effectively integrate AI tools and resources into their pedagogical practices.

Educational institutions play a crucial role in facilitating the reskilling and upskilling of educators to harness the potential of AI in education. By offering training programs, workshops, and certifications in AI technologies, educational institutions can empower educators to leverage AI tools, analyse data, personalize instruction, and enhance student learning outcomes. Investing in educator training and development is essential to prepare the workforce for the digital transformation of education and ensure that educators have the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in AI-enhanced environments.

In addition to concerns about job displacement and reskilling, the rapid pace of technological advancement in AI presents challenges for educational institutions in terms of infrastructure, funding, and sustainability. Integrating AI technologies into educational systems requires investment in hardware, software, connectivity, and technical support to ensure smooth implementation and effective utilization of AI tools. Educational institutions must allocate resources, develop strategic plans, and establish partnerships to build a robust infrastructure for AI-enabled education and support long-term sustainability and scalability.

Furthermore, the complexity and interdisciplinary nature of AI technologies pose challenges for educational institutions in terms of curriculum development, pedagogical practices, and assessment methods. Designing and implementing AI curriculum that aligns with educational objectives, standards, and best practices requires collaboration among educators, technologists, curriculum developers, and policymakers to ensure that students receive a well-rounded and future-ready education. Educational institutions must integrate AI education into existing curricula, offer interdisciplinary courses, and promote hands-on learning experiences to prepare students for the AI-driven future workforce.


In conclusion, the integration of artificial intelligence in the educational sector offers numerous benefits and opportunities for enhancing teaching and learning experiences, personalizing education, automating administrative tasks, and improving educational outcomes. AI technologies have the potential to revolutionize education by providing personalized learning experiences, enhancing teaching practices, streamlining administrative tasks, and promoting inclusivity and accessibility. However, the adoption of AI in education also raises concerns related to equity, bias, privacy, ethics, teacher professional development, job displacement, reskilling, infrastructure, and curriculum development.

Educational institutions, policymakers, educators, developers, and stakeholders must collaborate to address these concerns, mitigate risks, and maximize the benefits of AI in education. By promoting ethical use of AI, ensuring data privacy and security, investing in teacher professional development, supporting job reskilling, building infrastructure, and designing interdisciplinary AI curriculum, educational institutions can harness the transformative power of AI to create innovative, inclusive, and future-ready educational experiences for students. Embracing the opportunities and challenges of AI in education can pave the way for a more equitable, effective, and sustainable education system that prepares students for success in the digital age.

  • Ndoro-Mkombachoto is a former academic and banker. She has consulted widely in strategy,entrepreneurship and private sector development for organisations that include Seed Co Africa, Hwange Colliery, RBZ/CGC, Standard Bank of South Africa, Home Loans, IFC/World Bank, UNDP, USAid, Danida, Cida, Kellogg Foundation, among others, as a writer, property investor, developer and manager. — @HeartfeltwithGloria/ +263 772 236 341.

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