Artificial Intelligence in Primary Education in Spain

It is well known that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a relevant topic for society and, in particular, for education. AI offers new opportunities in the field of education to make it more efficient, and to adapt content according to individual characteristics. In Spain, however, studies reveal that almost half of young people have never received training in technology, including AI. It is therefore important to establish pedagogical frameworks to include this education in the curriculum. 

In 2018, Artificial Intelligence contributed €1.76 billion to global GDP (Huffpost, 2020) and experts claim that by 2030 this contribution will be more than €14 billion per year. AI is therefore a positive opportunity to improve the positioning of countries in technology sectors and, above all, in education. 
The school curriculum for primary education in Spain does not contain a specific section on teaching the fundamentals of Artificial Intelligence. Although it depends on the Autonomous Communities and on each school depending on its infrastructure (whether it is private or public), at the national level this type of teaching is not required.

The low representation of this sector in the curricula is reflected in the results obtained in a study carried out by IBM in 2020. The study shows that almost half of the respondents (48%) have never received technology training, including AI. However, the same study (2020) shows that, in Spain, 8 out of 10 young people have some knowledge of Artificial Intelligence. Furthermore, 85.2% (out of a sample of more than 1,000 people) believe that AI is transforming the way we work. Perhaps the most worrying statistic is the low female participation in technology and AI. Only 23.1% would be interested in working in sectors such as technology, compared to 46.8% of men with an interest in these sectors (IBM, 2020).

The current situation of Artificial Intelligence in Spain starts from a positive situation to be able to tackle the technological and scientific revolution, with the necessary quality infrastructures to develop AI activities. However, the implementation of AI in the classroom is still a long-term task for Spain, as it has large social deficits in terms of digital infrastructures, little investment in public schools and large differences in terms of digital training and qualifications. In other words, there is a large digital divide that has been seen, above all, with the onset of the pandemic and the obligation of virtual classrooms.