On 15 August 2020, at the AI + Education Development Sub-forum of AIEXPO2020 jointly organised by the Open University of China (OUC), Baidu, and Baizhi Tiantuo Co., Ltd, Baidu and its cooperative partner Baizhi Tiantuo signed a cooperation agreement with the OUC on the establishment of the New Generation Information Technology College to boost the OUC’s vocational education for AI professionals
and the joint development of a market for social education related to the new generation of information technology. Baidu and the OUC also published the White Paper on the Development and Application of AI + Higher Education, contributing practical experience to AI education in China. The cooperation between Baidu and the OUC will help to further empower the education industry using AI, accelerate the intelligent transformation of the education industry, and achieve the goal of training 5 million AI professionals in five years.
Ju Chuanjin, vice president of the OUC; Qian Weining, dean of the School of Data Science and Engineering, East China Normal University; Liu Yawen, vice president and general manager of the ACG Smart City Division of Baidu; and Zhang Jiansheng, chairman of Baizhi Tiantuo, attended the AI + Education Development Sub-forum and agreement signing ceremony.
Ju Chuanjin said that AI + Education is the most effective way to achieve educational equality and also represents an inevitable trend in achieving the high-quality development of education. The OUC is committed to promoting the deep integration of the new generation of information technology, including AI, with education and teaching, and making education more equitable by expanding the coverage of high-quality resources through information technology. It will also remain committed to the goal of serving economic and social development through education, and the cultivation of a large number of multi-levelled AI talents with innovative abilities and a cooperative spirit destined for the new era of university-enterprise cooperation and the integration of industry and teaching.
Liu Yawen said that Baidu, which has always called for greater training of AI professionals in China, has created a new model for training AI professionals in the government, enterprises, and universities. To date, Baidu has trained more than 1 million AI professionals and announced the strategic goal of training 5 million AI talents. The comprehensive cooperation between Baidu, the OUC, and Baizhi Tiantuo will help with the OUC’s AI capacity, consolidate the leading position of the OUC intelligent online education team, promote the social training ability and effects of AI, and give impetus to and help realise the strategic goal of training 5 million AI talents in five years.
Along with the development of AI, Cloud Computing, 5G, Internet of Things and other new technologies and applications, there is a new trend of combining online and offline operations in the education industry. Meanwhile, the "No Suspension of Classes during School Closure" measures adopted during the fight against COVID-19 have accelerated the popularisation of online education. The informatisation and intelligent upgrading of the education industry has become an important development goal. The establishment of the New Generation of Information Technology College, which is built on a foundation of the OUC’s students and Baidu’s AI training strength, is not only adapted to current development trends but also, represents a new long-term model and platform for AI enabled vocational education and the integration of industry and teaching. It is an important measure to accelerate the construction of the information infrastructure in the context of the construction of new national infrastructure, which will create new impetus fpr the education industry.
The White Paper on the Development and Application of AI + Higher Education jointly written by Baidu and the OUC was released at the forum. The white paper discusses the development status of AI + higher education, identifies opportunities for “AI + higher education,” and describes case studies of Baidu brain enabled higher education and the future prospects of AI + education, offering important practical experiences for the deep integration of AI and education.
Thanks to the development of information technology, the OUC has established a school running network covering both urban and rural areas throughout China, and has trained more than 15 million college graduates. In terms of technology-assisted education methods, the OUC boasts the largest multi-functional Cloud Classroom in China, cover 31 provinces including remote areas in the west. With the support of modern information technology, the OUC will continue to build a new university with the goal of promoting fair access to education, sharing high-quality educational resources, and continuously improving the quality of the Chinese people.
Baidu was one of the earliest investors in AI and boasts the most advanced AI technology and the most complete AI layout in China. It is the only Chinese company among the four global AI giants selected by Fortune Magazine. Baidu is building a new AI technology infrastructure based on its full stack, leading AI technology capabilities. At the same time, as a company with a strong sense of social responsibility, Baidu is committed to cultivating AI professionals and promoting the integration of AI and education. Baidu hopes that AI will eventually help promote greater education equality and provide better higher quality education resources.
AI is an important driving force for a new round of industrial transformation and scientific and technological revolution. It is profoundly changing production, life, and learning while also helping society to usher in an intelligent era of human-computer cooperation, transboundary integration, and joint creation and sharing. This cooperation between Baidu and the OUC will provide a model for the intelligent upgrading of education.