UNESCO will award the King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize on the innovative use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in education to two projects from Morocco and India.
UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay and Jawad bin Salem Al Arrayed, Bahrain’s Deputy Prime Minister, will open the award ceremony that will be held at the organization’s headquarters in Paris on March 7.
Founded in 2005, the Prize recognizes two outstanding projects that make innovative use of ICTs in education.
This year’s edition is dedicated to the use of ICTs “to increase access to quality education,” with a view to promoting innovations in leveraging ICTs for achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal for education.
Both projects were designated on the recommendation of an international jury. Each winner will receive a monetary award ($25,000) and a diploma.
Morocco’s GENIE, a long-term national policy and initiative developed and implemented by the Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training, Higher Education and Scientific Research, aims to incorporate ICT to improve access to, and quality of, education in primary and secondary schools. It incorporates key pillars for an effective national ICT in education policy such as infrastructure, teacher training, development of digital resources and transformation of teaching and learning practices.
It has provided infrastructure, digital devices and internet connectivity to more than 10,000 schools, and has promoted pedagogical innovations by providing more than 300,000 teachers and school administrators across the country with in-service training. It fosters the creative use of ICT to ensure an inclusive access to quality education in every school in the country and covers the four main languages used in education (Amazigh, Arabic, English and French). It has contributed to the increase of school enrollment in the country to 95% and works to increase its implementation so as to reduce the school dropout rate by 53%.
As for India’s CLIX program developed by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, it leverages ICTs to improve the chances of students from underserved communities to access secondary and higher education. It provides high quality platform-based, blended learning experiences in three languages: Hindi, Telugu and English. So far, the program has reached 478 State high schools, 1,767 teachers and 46,420 students in four Indian States.
Through a multi-stakeholder partnership, the program brings together universities, foundations and local governments to tackle the challenge of improving the quality of education, particularly in STEM education. It has designed a blended teaching and learning process that is accessible with basic digital devices and low internet connectivity. The blended learning is supported by quality open source digital educational materials developed in cooperation with respective partners. Over 15 blended learning modules in mathematics, science, English and digital literacy in three languages are offered. Data on online learning has been tracked and processed to assess the project results and promote evidence-based decision-making for national and local governments. The program also prioritizes teachers’ engagement and professional development with appropriate incentive mechanism.