AI to empower distance learning for Chinese schools affected by coronavirus closures

CENTURY Tech is granting them access to its AI-powered teaching and learning platform

Chinese schools impacted by the coronavirus outbreak are leaning on the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to ensure students can still learn through periods of school closure and isolation.

UK social enterprise CENTURY Tech has given affected schools access to its AI-powered teaching and learning platform. Twenty-five schools have already signed up on the very first day of the product’s launch, with leading educationalist Sir Anthony Seldon giving it his seal of approval as an “innovative use of technology”.

CENTURY’s AI engine enables flexible, tailored learning that means students can learn from anywhere with a good enough network connection. With many students in China and across the wider Asia region now working in isolation – with both schools and workplaces remaining deserted in most of China’s major cities – the company has stepped in to support continued access to the curriculum through its AI capabilities.

Many fear that Chinese schools could remain closed until the end of the academic year.

Mark Steed, principal of Kellett School in Hong Kong, said the move would ensure students “continue to progress throughout the disruption”, while headteacher Oliver Wells of Rong Qiao Sedbergh School in Fuzhou, China, said the tool would help learners make “tremendous progress” during “weeks of isolation”.


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The personalised nature of AI will empower students to build their strengths and identify their weaknesses across a diverse range of subjects. Teachers will receive detailed data regarding their students’ performance, improving their ability to help them learn regardless of geographical distance.

To stop the spread of coronavirus, which causes pneumonia-like systems, all Hong Kong schools will stay closed until at least 16 March, while students across China face school shutdowns until further notice.

CENTURY’s project will initially target closed schools in Hong Kong and China that use the British curriculum, since existing links with partners in the area will support the rollout process. These schools number more than 200, educating 91,000 students. However, CENTURY is asking every impacted British curriculum or English speaking school to get in touch for free logins for students and teachers.

“All those affected by the outbreak of coronavirus are in my thoughts,” said Sir Anthony Seldon. “Here, I hope that these measures will help to keep the young people of Hong Kong safe. Protecting their health takes primacy. It is heartening that, despite the disruption, this innovative use of technology means they will also have genuine opportunities to learn, develop and grow.”

Priya Lakhani OBE, founder of CENTURY Tech, commented: “The health and safety of students and teachers is the utmost priority. We hope that our technology can be of some help while schools are closed.”

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