Japan trials AI and robots to boost English skills in schools

The education ministry will place English-speaking robots in 500 schools.

Under pressure to improve English skills among both teachers and students, Japan's Ministry of Education is turning to robots, according to NHK. Beginning in April, the ministry will launch a trial that will put English-speaking AI robots in around 500 schools throughout the country. The ministry will also reportedly make study apps and online conversation sessions with native English speakers available to students, and those efforts along with the robot initiative are all aimed at improving students' English communication skills.

Robots have become an ever-growing presence in classrooms over the years. Japan tried out a robot named Saya in 2009, programming the robot to give a lesson to fifth-graders. And a number of schools around the world have explored whether robots can be a help in the classroom, both for providing lessons and assisting long-distance education.