The use of artificial intelligence (AI) systems to search, sort, and analyze data has become increasingly common among governments looking to improve the delivery of financial, health, and education services to their citizens. In the case of the Secretariat of Education of the State of Guanajuato (SEG) in Mexico, a digital approach was particularly urgent as the community continues to grapple with increasing student drop-out rates — over 40,000 students every year.

In partnership with the World Bank via the Educational Trajectories initiative, the Secretariat created an AI-based early alert system, the Early Action System for School Permanence (SATPE), aimed at improving school retention and graduation rates by identifying and then supporting at-risk students. While SATPE serves as a meaningful use case of how government agencies can use AI to address pressing social challenges, such AI-based tools are vulnerable to entrenching existing biases and producing discriminatory outcomes.

With a grant from USAID’s Equitable AI Challenge, a consortium of partners turned to innovation to identify and mitigate gender-inequitable outcomes within this complex, wide-reaching, and influential education tool.