Context and Problem
Zhaojue County, located southwestern Sichuan Province, is part of the Liangshan Yi Autonomous Region. For many years, the economy in this region is relatively poorly developed due to geographic and environment limitation. It is not only the largest county of Yi people and the most living in a compact areas of abject poverty. The Mandarin penetration rate is extremely low, failing to communicate and integrate with outside world has become a major obstacle for the development further education and the local economy. Also, Yi people do not have a cultural tradition of lifelong learning. Main issues include:
1. The Yi nationality accounts for 98.1% of the total Zhaojue population. Mandarin levels in this region are relatively low, lacking the language surroundings needed to practice daily. Even if Kids have the opportunity to learn Mandarin at school, the Yi language is still used to communicate at home. No proper condition or environment available to practice Mandarin currently exist.
2. Without effective pre-school exposure, most children cannot begin to become proficient/learn in Mandarin until third grade, which largely influences the absorption of school subjects in general.
3. Prior, teachers in the kindergarten and/or primary school were limited in their Mandarin abilities themselves, unable to provide effective teaching and feedback.
4. The type of group classes offered have more than 30 students in one class, which is not beneficial for teachers or students. Conducting one-on-one correction made it impossible for teachers to complete in a timely manner. In Zhaojue County, these type of pre-schools classes generally have 2 teachers to 30 students per class (1:15 ratio). Typically, these type of the primary school have an average of 1 teacher to every 50 students.
5. Materials used in traditional Mandarin textbooks (pictures and/or contents) are based off the Han Chinese ethnicity, failing to combine learning material with the local lifestyle.
6. Living in deep poverty, local families were unable to pay for the expensive infrastructure, software, and hardware needed to configure ICT education.
In applying AI technology, the issues mentioned above can be solved in a targeted, personalized, efficient, and economic way.