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Abu Dhabi charter schools to be made safer with artificial intelligence, smart technology

Abu Dhabi: A series of advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and smart school technology multi-systems will soon help make Abu Dhabi’s 15 charter schools safer for children.

The emirate’s education regulator, the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (Adek) announced plans to implement the artificial intelligence and smart technology system, in partnership with Hong Kong-based AI firm SenseTime.

Once implemented, the smart school technology will use advanced motion sensors, facial recognition technology, crowd management monitoring and augmented reality features to make the school premises safer and healthier.

Charter schools are public schools in Abu Dhabi, offering an American curriculum to students. These schools are run by private education providers as part of a project that aims to boost education standards.

The technology will be piloted at the start of the 2021-2022 academic year in September in Al Ain’s Jabel Hafeet School.
Image Credit: Supplied

Early alerts of disruptive behaviour or bullying

According to Adek, the new suite of AI-powered solutions will be able to provide early alerts of disruptive behaviour or bullying. It will also track compliance with health standards and COVID-19 precautionary measures.

The technology will be piloted at the start of the 2021-2022 academic year in September in Al Ain’s Jabel Hafeet School, which enrols kindergarten students and students enrolled up to Grade 5. Based on the results of the pilot project, the technology could be deployed gradually across all charter schools.

“With the Charter Schools mandate focused on student centricity, our goal is to constantly enhance and positively impact school environments and operations. Schools are inherently complex environments due to multiple sub-environments co-existing in one setting. We also cannot afford to be complacent when it comes to the wellbeing, health and safety of our students. So the integration and implementation of AI-driven smart technology is an obvious choice due to its cost-effectiveness and availability,” said Khuloud Al Dhaheri, Adek’s executive director for education partnerships.

Motion sensors

The tailored technology multi-system will be delivered by a sophisticated network of advanced internet protocol motion sensors integrated across Jabel Hafeet Charter School’s existing CCTV infrastructure. In addition to negating unlawful entry to schools, the technology will also manage attendance of registered students, teachers and staff when they enter and leave the school. In addition, by utilising advanced facial recognition technology, the technology will help ensure adherence to social distancing protocols: it will monitor the number of people in restricted areas such as labs, the dining hall, corridors, children’s waiting areas and the auditorium.

Custom-designed features

The new system is also expected to heighten the speed and efficiency of the school’s response following the detect of a COVID-19 case through the use of people tracking, companion analysis, crowd management and heat-mapping.

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Finally, custom-designed features will help Adek identify problematic student behaviour and bullying, and gauge student responses to various initiatives and teaching methodologies.

“The potential applications we could develop as we progress this technology are extensive. We will actively monitor the pilot project and its phased implementation and anticipated outcomes, as we continue to look to deliver standards of excellence in the provision of ever safer and healthier learning environments for all,” Al Dhaheri said.

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