In a first of its kind, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) used artificial intelligence to conduct an online exam for aspiring coaches from India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Malaysia.
The exam was conducted following an extensive 21-day online ‘Coach Education Programme’ amid the COVID-19 enforced lockdown.
The online exam held on June 13 and 14, in association with the National Sporting Federations, was conducted in 22 disciplines by the National Testing Agency, an autonomous body known to conduct nation-wide competitive exams.
To ensure complete transparency and fairness NTA put in place systematic security features in the test where attendees, who were allowed to take the exam from wherever they are, were monitored constantly through an artificial intelligence-enabled system as well as by examiners reviewing them through video camera.
“Developing the skill set of our coaches is a priority for SAI. But what makes this online Coach Education Programme and this exam unique is that an online course and exam of this magnitude has been organised by SAI for the very first time,” Sports Minsiter Kiren Rijiju said.
A total of 4,738 coaches appeared in the discipline-specific exams, while 4476 coaches took the sports science exams, which was common for all disciplines.
Participants in the course and the exam included coaches from SAI, private academies, state federations, as well as international coaches.
“More than 10,000 coaches participated in the programme. Also, NTA conducting the exam shows the professional approach with which the entire programme has been organised,” Riiju said
“This course has not only become popular among coaches in India but also among coaches from neighbouring countries like Nepal, Bangladesh and Malaysia,” he added.
The examinees were required to scan their IDs and click their photographs at the start of the test to ascertain their identity.
Their audio and video was recorded to ensure that there was no second person in the room while the examinee was taking the exam.
The presence of another person in the room, even if not seen on camera, could immediately be identified by the AI-enabled system and a warning was issued to the examinee that protocols of the exam were not being followed.
“There were many firsts in this exam. It was first exam of NTA after the outbreak of COVID-19. It was NTA’s first ‘completely online’ or Internet Based Assesment.
“It was for the first time that the candidates could give this exam from anywhere they liked, including the safe environment of their homes. The exams were for the first time proctored online with the help of Artifical Intelligence as well with human proctoring,” Director General, NTA, Vineet Joshi said.
Parallely, one proctor was overseeing 20 students manually on the screen. All other internet tabs were disabled on the laptop, PC or mobile phone on which the multiple choice 30-minute exam was being taken by a coach.
The Coach Education Programme was launched on April 16 and focussed on two key components, namely, coaching skills for specific sports disciplines and a common sports science programme.
The coaching skill session focussed on coaching principles, safety, basics of sport, training plan, fitness component, strength and conditioning, raw talent identification and long-term athlete development plan.
While the Sports Science module focussed on physiological profiling of athletes, performance assessment and enhancement, use of sports science in talent development, sports injury prevention, recovery and rehabilitation.