The emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI)-generated material has presented challenges for various universities around the world, including Rwanda. AI-powered technologies, including OpenAI’s ChatGPT, are being used to create content that is identical to human-written content, which causes a number of challenges for colleges, including the potential for plagiarism, cheating, and the spread of false information. ALSO READ: Artificial Intelligence: A direction for future growth According to Ignace Gatare, Principal of the University of Rwanda’s College of Science and Technology (UR-CST), generative AI will impact education, much like the internet has transformed the way people learn. “I don’t see it as a threat. Considering it a threat indicates a conservative mindset, and the danger with that is falling behind and becoming outdated,” he stated. As an educator, Gatare believes that AI tools, including OpenAI’s ChatGPT, are not detrimental to education. Instead, “they broaden knowledge horizons and provide greater access to information.” He emphasised the importance of educators deeply analysing these tools, becoming involved with them, and rethinking their approach to delivering education. “The relationship between students and lecturers will change to the extent that we may even question the need for lecturers,” said Gatare, adding that the tools will enhance a learner-centred teaching model, and educators should learn how to effectively utilise and integrate them into the educational curriculum while also assisting students in avoiding plagiarism. One concern is that students might rely too heavily on generated knowledge rather than exerting effort to produce their own. On this, Gatare said that it would put them at a disadvantage since effective communication skills and empathy are essential in daily human interactions. Addressing those apprehensive about AI potentially replacing their jobs, Gatare advised embracing adaptation, as the world and its nature are constantly evolving. He acknowledged that this applies to educators as well, who should prepare learners to understand and adapt to this dynamic environment. ALSO READ: Rwanda needs $76m to implement new AI policy Laurent Maniraho, an ICT lecturer at the Adventist University of Central Africa (AUCA), said the university is still in the process of determining whether the use of generative AI tools like ChatGPT will be beneficial for students. While Maniraho expresses optimism about ChatGPT and acknowledges its value as an ICT educator, he points out that it may not be as beneficial for students as it is for educators, emphasising the importance of students conducting in-depth research, which goes beyond what the tool can provide. Regarding IT students, Maniraho believes that the AI tool’s ability to generate code could make them reliant and less inclined to conduct thorough research. “We are still considering whether it is necessary to impose limitations in advance. When students are faced with a practical exam, they can easily obtain answers without having to engage in critical thinking. We have yet to determine if this can be beneficial,” he states. Maniraho also advised against encouraging individuals to rely on ChatGPT right from the beginning, suggesting utilising it only when traditional methods fail to yield the desired results. ALSO READ: Is Rwanda ready to integrate AI into public services? Festus Irungu, a Mass Communication lecturer at Mount Kenya University Rwanda, emphasised that the ethical implications of using AI tools depend on the specific tools involved. He believes that if a student uses tools like ChatGPT to cheat on an assignment, it constitutes academic misconduct and falls under the umbrella of plagiarism. “Unless the student is utilising such tools for personal knowledge acquisition. But if, maybe a journalism student uses ChatGPT or similar AI tools to write an article, that would be deemed unethical,” he added. Irungu urged educational institutions to adhere to the existing education system, maintaining a traditional approach, not because they should shun technology but to ensure academic integrity. “Lecturers should be careful, especially on research. Students are not using AI tools like ChatGPT to add knowledge; they are using them to make their work easier and do their assignments quickly. So, it’s all about cheating. There should be a framework to curtail. With some systems, they can still check if the students have used, maybe ChatGPT, to do their assignment,” he said.