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Pilot

Assignment of students to educational institutions

Ecuador.
Assignment of students to educational institutions

In general, the project aims to improve the allocation of students to educational institutions, solving the problem of enrollment imbalance (e.g. congestion or underused infrastructure) and improving the matching between families and schools. 

Problem to be solved:

In the case of Ecuador, the specific objective is to include the preferences of families in the admission process to educational institutions. Currently, the system is centralized and based solely on the distance from homes to schools. Some families, not satisfied with their assignment, request transfers, which represent 25% in Costa and 18% in Sierra - Amazonia (2019-2020 data). These transfer requests consume government resources, so this proposal is expected to reduce them.

Populations that are affected by the problem

The population affected by the problem corresponds to all those families who wish to enroll their children in an educational institution to start or continue their school studies. Considering that the project aims to modify the admission to educational institutions that depend on the State, the affected population corresponds to those families that, in particular, are seeking educational opportunities in the public or fiscal system. This population is mainly made up of middle class families and a vulnerable population. 

Current response to this problem, considering related institutions.

In the case of Ecuador, the assignment of students to educational institutions is carried out centrally. There is a self-service mode (online registration, 67% for 2019-2020) and a face-to-face mode (registration at traditional venues, 33% for 2019-2020). Each family provides basic identification information and also information about their address through the electrical energy form (unique national electrical code). Students are assigned to schools taking into account the criteria of distance from home.

Proposal to solve this problem using AI:

The proposal consists of the design, implementation, and evaluation of an online platform that allows assigning students to educational institutions in a centralized manner. The platform will provide information on the educational offer available and families will be able to select their preferences from a prioritized list. The assignment will be made through an algorithm that will operate under certain prioritization criteria defined by the authority, assigning vacancies randomly in the event that demand exceeds supply. Additionally, in a later stage of the project (probably in 2020), the platform is expected to incorporate some functionalities that use AI. For example, that the platform warns applicant families about a potential congestion in certain schools based on simulations that use data from previous years; or that the platform recommends schools based on the searches and interests declared by families during the school selection process. 

What security considerations, national laws or standards have to be taken into account to use each source of information? 

The proposal takes into consideration the security of the personal data of students and their families throughout the entire process. For this, the project only uses masked information from the system and provides a user-friendly experience on the platform only using first names and encrypted information for the developers. For greater security and for Ecuadorian regulations, the project is hosted on local servers within the national territory. 

Main AI challenges identified:

The main challenge is to implement an AI that allows meeting the project's efficiency objectives and delivers a good user experience.

Hub

Sector

Education

Location

National level, Ecuador

Executing Entity

Ministry of Education

State

Contact

fairlac@iadb.org

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