Institutions in APAC see close to 4 times increased of funding by 2021 through implementing AI in their processes, however only 32% of higher education institutions have embarked on their AI journey.

Microsoft Asia and IDC Asia/Pacific released findings specific to the education sector for the study, Future Ready Skills: Assessing APAC Education Sector’s Use of AI, where it found that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will help double the rate of innovation improvements for higher education institutions.

With student outcomes being a key performance metric for higher education institutes, many are turning to leverage data to glean insights and drive improved outcomes.

“For many institutions, student performance has a direct impact on rankings. AI can be a tool to help better manage outcomes and ensure continued innovation to optimize operations and enhance student engagements, as it reduces resource intensive work among faculty and administrative staff,” said Larry Nelson, regional general manager — education, Microsoft Asia.

“In fact, we found that 3 out 4 education leaders agree that AI will be able to drive competitiveness in the next 3 years. However, only 32% of education institutions in Asia Pacific have embarked on their AI journey,” added Nelson.

Based on the study, the top business drivers for education leaders to adopt AI include better student engagement, higher funding, and accelerated innovation. For institutions that have adopted AI, they are already seeing improvements in the range of 11% to 28% today in areas such as higher funding, accelerated innovation, higher competitiveness, improve efficiency and better student engagement.

By 2021, education institutions with AI stand to experience the biggest jump in higher funding, which is expected to increase by 3.7x, higher than most industry sectors in Asia Pacific.

Fig 1: AI improves business today and in three years
Fig 1: AI improves business today and in three years

Developing a globally engaged citizenry is of utmost importance for all countries and is also one of Japan’s key priorities. However, many students would avoid these opportunities as doing so can delay them from taking the classes they need for graduation.  As one of the top universities in Japan serving over 17,000 students, the Faculty of Engineering at Hokkaido University has embarked on its AI journey as part of its mission to encourage students to study abroad.

In a bid to remove this obstacle and contribute to a better abroad experience, the university developed a Microsoft Azure-based e-learning system that enables students to keep up with coursework back home. Leveraging AI and automation capabilities, the system helped the university broaden student access, expand capacity, streamline course prep from days to hours, and enhance security — transforming the abroad learning experience.

“Our Azure-based e-learning system far better meets the needs of our students, who can access courses from PC, Android, iOS, and other devices. This gives them a more enjoyable and convenient educational experience,” said Professor Yukinori Kobayashi, graduate school of engineering director, Hokkaido University.