Prospects and challenges of applying artificial intelligence systems for higher education quality improvement in Tanzania.

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University of Dar es Salaam
The purpose of this study was to analyze the prospects and challenges of applying Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems in the improvement of higher education quality in Tanzania so as to generate an understanding on the utility of AI systems in education. The study targeted to identify initiatives taken to introduce AI systems in the country’s higher learning institutions, potential academic areas in which AI systems can be used, their contributions to the improvement of higher education quality, possible challenges that will come along with their use and solutions to such challenges in the selected two universities; University of Dar es Salaam and Sokoine University of Agriculture. Literature had shown that AI is real, exists and has made remarkable contributions to education quality despite the challenges it has been facing worldwide. The study used a qualitative approach while the research design was multiple-embedded case study. A sample of 37 participants constituted by students, academic and non-academic staff from respective universities was selected for the study through purposive sampling. Data were collected through interviews and documentary review. Later, an analysis of data was conducted by using Thematic and Content analysis. It was found out that, in the selected higher education institutions (UDSM and SUA) there exist some initiatives to introduce AI systems, and those initiatives are mainly engineered by Academic staff (Information and Communication Technology experts) with less support from respective institutions management. From the institutions it was also found out that there exist systems with some elements of AI but the systems are not AI per se. However, several potential areas were highlighted by participants to have a need for AI systems. Such areas include students’ assessment, research, lab experiments, teaching, decision making, addressing students’ disability and invigilation of examinations. Moreover, the study found out that AI systems play the role of internationalizing Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and contribute to quality improvement. Besides, there are numerous current and anticipated challenges which are likely to happen once AI systems are used fully in HEIs. Such challenges are resource scarcity, infrastructure inadequacy, students’ laziness in learning, failure to mark subjective questions, marginalization of impaired students, and technical problems of AI systems. In addressing these challenges, the study identified several measures which are; training more experts, giving financial support, cascading AI knowledge, participation of stakeholders, seeking alternative sources of power, employing affordable technology, setting legal and policy framework and continuous innovation. The study recommends that University management should prioritize the initiatives to use AI systems in their institutions given the existing need for AI systems. The government should assist in financial allocation support for AI systems from reliable sources. Lastly, there is a need for policy reforms to include sections about AI systems. It is also recommended that further studies should use quantitative approach to cover a large area and sample size, assess the utility of AI systems in lower levels of education and assess efficiency of current National Examination Council of Tanzania (NECTA) AI marking system.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF LB2835.T34M377)
Teachers, Personnel management, Selection and appointment, Secondary schools, Dodoma municipality, Tanzania
Mrema, D. (2018). Prospects and challenges of applying artificial intelligence systems for higher education quality improvement in Tanzania. Master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Dar es Salaam.