Bahrain: UNESCO ICT in Education Prize

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In today’s rapidly changing and interconnected societies, technologies have a great potential to enhance teaching, learning and expand access to quality education. According to International Telecommunication Union about 95% of the global population live in regions with at least a basic 2G mobile-cellular network. It means that almost anyone with a connected device can benefit from education programmes based on technology solutions.

The UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize for the Use of ICT in Education recognizes innovative approaches in leveraging new technologies to expand educational and lifelong learning opportunities for all, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Goal 4 on education.

Established in 2005 with the support of the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Prize rewards individuals and organizations that are implementing outstanding projects and promoting the creative use of technologies to enhance learning, teaching and overall educational performance in the digital age.

An international Jury selects two best projects annually. Each prizewinner receives US$ 25,000, a medal and a diploma during a ceremony at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.

National Commissions of the Member States of UNESCO and international non-governmental organizations maintaining official relations with UNESCO are invited to elicit, nominate and submit candidates for the Prize, thus contributing to a greater diversity of the projects.

Every year the Prize has a specific theme, which, while being in line with UNESCO’s mandate and values, advocates for responsible and ethical use of information and communication technologies.

Nomination process for the ICT in Education Prize

The 2021 call for nomination is now open

Each year the Prize has a specific theme to be taken into account by nomination proposals.

The theme of the 2021 edition of the Prize is the use of technology to enable inclusive crisis-resilient learning systems.

The disruptive effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have revealed the urgent need for governments to reimagine the future of schooling models and leverage technology to build crisis-resilient learning systems. Inclusive and crisis-resilient learning systems not only include connectivity and access to digital devices, but also the provision of age-appropriate digital content and digital skills training for teachers, students, and caregivers. In addition, the digitalization of learning systems must be guided by humanistic principles to ensure that technology protects human rights, and ensures inclusion and equity. Technology should be in the service of human interactions and capacity development. 
During the pandemic, successful learning systems, built on progressive adoption of continuously upgraded technology in education have emerged, which have allowed countries to minimize the scale and scope of educational disruption during the crisis. 

The 2021 edition of the Prize will award projects that have built and implemented technology-enabled public learning systems and programmes that effectively ensured the continuity and quality of learning for all. The projects must ensure the data privacy and well-being of students, teachers, and caregivers. They should also consider the adoption of greening strategies to mitigate or neutralize the negative impacts of the technological solutions to internet connectivity and digital devices in education.

Who can apply?

Individuals, institutions, non-governmental organizations or other entities.

Eligibility criteria

  • The project should be ongoing for at least for 1 year
  • The project and its organization should not be affiliated to UNESCO or receive any funding from UNESCO
  • The technology tools used by the project should be open and free

Selection criteria

  • Relevance to the Thematic Focus: The project is in line with the objectives of the Prize and is relevant to the specific theme of the year
  • Innovation: The project applies innovative technologies to provide affordable and inclusive tools
  • Evidence of Impact: The project should provide evidence of impact
  • Potential for Replicability and Scalability: The project should show evidence that it can be replicated in other contexts or have the potential to further optimize and scale its impact
  • Inclusion and Equity: The project should use innovative technologies to advance inclusion and equity in education, while taking into account marginalized groups, leaners in crises and emergencies contexts and learners with disabilities.

2021 documents

International jury of the ICT in Education Prize

The International Jury consists of five independent members who are recognized figures in the field of ICTs in education selected also with a view to equitable geographical distribution and gender equality. They have been appointed by the Director-General for a period of two years.

At their annual meeting, they assess the submitted applications and recommend two prize-winners to the Director-General.

2020 laureates of the ICT in Education Prize

One College Student Per Village, Open University of China

The “One College Student Per Village” programme implemented by the Open University of China (OUC) uses AI to provide learners from rural and remote areas with quality learning opportunities. The programme works through a smart learning platform using voice and semantic analysis, automatic feedback, automated essay scoring, and big data analysis, which allows an increasing number of learners from rural and remote areas to benefit from quality learning experiences.As of 2020, more than 800,000 learners enrolled in 3,735 learning centers nationwide have benefited from the programme. 

Centre for Learning Analytics, University of Turku, Finland

The collaborative education platform “ViLLE” developed by the Centre for Learning Analytics (University of Turku) offers a personalized set of exercises based on students’ performance and provides teachers with detailed reports on their students’ progress. The strong academic foundation of the project ensures evidence-based data utilization and learning analytics drawing on AI. More than 300,000 students use the platform and 14,000 registered teachers have collaboratively created over 4,000 courses and 130,000 exercises.

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