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Saudi to train 300,000 school students in AI
300,000 students to receive training in advance of National Olympiad
#Saudi #education - The Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA) will provide digital training courses in AI and coding for 300,000 middle and high school students, selected from 3 million school children. Organised in partnership with the Saudi Ministry of Education and Mawhiba (the King Abdulaziz and His Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity), the training initiative is part of the preparation for the National Olympiad for Programming and Artificial Intelligence, which begins in January.
SO WHAT? - Since its formation in 2019, SDAIA has been creating new education and training programmes to upskill the nation at all levels, in AI and data-related disciplines. Although perhaps the most ambitious AI training initiative to-date, this is one of many programmes run by SDAIA and its partners, at all levels from school, through to university graduates and executive leadership. SDAIA's training and education programmes for students and graduates not only build capacity for the Kingdom's AI future, but also inspire youth to play an active role in defining it.
The programme will select 300,000 middle and high school students from 3 million in the Kingdom for training in AI and coding, in preparation for the National Olympiad for Programming and Artificial Intelligence.
The Olympiad will select 35 winning students during its final stage (Scientific Creativity Olympiad) in April 2024, who will go on to represent Saudi Arabia at the ISEF (the International Science and Engineering Fair), organised by Washington DC-based Society for Science.
Registrations for the National Olympiad for Programming and Artificial Intelligence are open until November 28th.
The first round of the Olympiad will take place 26-27 January 2024, with the second round taking place 23-27 April. Following this, ISEF 2024 will take place in Los Angeles, California from 11-17 May, 2024.
ZOOM OUT - SDAIA announced Saudi Arabia's National Strategy for Data and Artificial Intelligence (NSDAI) in 2020, with ambitious goals for skilling-up Saudi talent, growing the nation’s startup ecosystem and attaining global leadership in the AI space. Aiming to rank among the top countries for AI globally, the authority set out to train 20,000 data and AI specialists and experts by 2030. These goals were revised the next year to train 25,000 specialists in data and AI, teach 100,000 Saudi youth in core digital skills and train one in every 100 Saudi nationals in coding by the end of the decade.
Since then the authority has signed agreements with a long list of technology partners to create training programmes including Alibaba, Amazon, Cisco, Coursera, Google, Huawei, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Philips, Trend Micro, plus Saudi telecom giant 'stc'. SDAIA also has agreements with leading Saudi universities such as King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM), Majmaah University and others.
The authorities list of education and training initiatives grows each quarter. Last month SDAIA ran its first 10-day Future Intelligence Programmer for thousands of school students, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, teaching AI principles. The full programme aims to train 30,000 students.
Next week, the SDAIA will start the first of its 32 planned large language model (LLM) training camps. The four-week camps have been created with a goal of training 800 Saudi technology graduates in generative AI, neural networks, deep learning, and data analysis. Meanwhile, the first phase of SDAIA Camps is currently running 12 intensive training sessions, ending in December, to empower over 240 young Saudi's with new technological competencies.
IMO - Although many of Saudi Arabia's future plans draw outside criticism for being too ambitious - the national AI strategy being one of them - one could also view that the training of hundreds of thousands of students and graduates in AI and data as simply pragmatic! Saudi business and government leaders know that not everyone is cut out to be an AI coder or a technology strategist, but creating an environment where your whole workforce has a basic understanding of AI and data principles will ultimately make rapid change easier. And from those hundreds of thousands of trainees, tomorrow's top AI and data experts will also surely emerge.
Saudi national AI strategy sets $20 billion investment target (CarringtonMalin.com)
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