The UNESCO Prize on ICT use in education


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UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize for ICT use in Education | image copyright UNESCO, please see bottom of posting for attributionThe UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize is perhaps the highest profile international award given to acknowledge excellence in the use of ICTs in education around the world.  Created in 2005 following a donation made by the Kingdom of Bahrain, it is meant "to reward projects and activities of individuals, institutions, other entities or non-governmental organizations for excellent models, best practice, and creative use of information and communication technologies to enhance learning, teaching and overall educational performance".

The winners for 2009, announced back in December, will receive their awards in a ceremony at UNESCO headquarters in Paris next week. The latest winners are Dr. Alexei Semenov, Rector of the Moscow Institute of Open Education, Russian Federation, and Jordan's Ministry of Information and Communications Technology  (acknowledging its work in leading the Jordan Education Initiative). 

In its short history, the Prize has has done a good job in drawing attention to important work being done related to the use of technologies in the education sector that is, in many cases, largely unknown outside the borders of the host country.

(It is not my place or intention here to discuss the merits of individual prize winners from this or past years, or to peer into my crystal ball and try to divine possible candidates for next year ...  but you are certainly free to do so in the comments section below!)

While we have yet to see a winner based in Sub-Saharan Africa (will 2010, the year of the first FIFA World Cup in Sub-Saharan Africa, also see the first award to an organization or person in the region?), a quick look at current and past awardees provides an interesting tour of notable activities from around the world related to the use of information and communication technologies in education.

Other finalists for the 2009 award were Thailand Cyber University (TCU) and to the Red de Profesores Innovadores (Network of Innovating Teachers) of Fundación Chile.

In 2008, the top prizes went to the project on Turning the Digital Divide into Digital Opportunity: The Project for Building the Digital Lifelong Learning System in Shanghai from Shanghai TV University and Dr. Hoda Baraka for her work with at the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology of Egypt, with honorable mentions awarded to the Schools Online Curriculum Services (SOCS) of Western Australia’s Department of Education and Training and to the One Laptop Per Child Programme of the Ministry of Education of Peru.

2007 saw awards go to Claroline Project / Consortium in Belgium and to the US-based Curriki, pioneers in the open education resources movement, with honorable mentions Mexico's Enciclomedia project and the Sésamath Project /  Association in France.

One of our close collaborators here at the World Bank on initiatives related to the use of ICTs in education, the Korea Education Research & Information service (KERIS) received the initial prize in 2006 for that country's innovative Cyber Home Learning System, shared with the eDegree Programme in Lapland (Finland).  Kuwait University's Dedicated Civil Law-Teaching Website for Arab Law Students received an honorable mention in 2006. 

For more information on these laureates, please see the related yearly prize announcements.

UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize prize announcements:
2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006

Related UNESCO ICT/education news:

Please note: The use of the image of the medal awarded to winners of the UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize used at the top of this blog posts comes courtesy of its copyright holder, UNESCO.



Michael Trucano

Global Lead for Innovation in Education, Sr. Education & Technology Policy Specialist

Join the Conversation

Mariana Patru
March 09, 2010

Hi Michael,

Thank you very much for taking the time to post comments on the UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize for the Use of ICTs in Education and its winners. Since its creation in 2005, we have made great efforts to conduct an intensive publicity campaign to make this Prize better known internationally and increase its prestige. It is not easy since there are many other international ICT in education awards with a longer record than ours. The opinion of UNESCO's major partners means of lot to us. With regard to Sub-Saharan Africa, although we have had applications from the region, we have not come up with any winner so far. As project officer responsible for this Prize, I would like to hope that our shared wish in this respect will be fulfilled for 2010.

I would like to also thank you for all your extremely interesting and comprehensive publications on ICT in education, which provide me with valuable information that I make use of in my professional work.

Mariana Patru
Programme Specialist in ICTs
Teacher Education Section
Division of Higher Education
Education Sector

Michael Trucano
April 04, 2011

Hi Raj,

UNESCO usually releases a call for nominations in the late spring / early summer (northern hemisphere). We'll tweet it out from the World Bank Twitter account, @Wbedutech, when we see it released, and I'll try to mention it on this blog as well.

fyi The 2010 prize went to the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (United Kingdom) and Infocentro Foundation (Venezuela), with honorable mentions given to eSkwela 1.0 (Philippines) and ALISON (Ireland).

You can read the announcements at & (sorry for using a URL shortener, but the addresses are quite long).


Raj Shekhar Chandola
April 03, 2011

Hi Michael

Thanks for the information about the UNESCO Prize for ICT in Education.

Do you know if there is a form or format for applying for this Prize?

Thank you for helping out.


Aysha Murad
March 15, 2012

Hi Michael:

Thanks for mentioning the 2010 Prize on your blog.This is to let you know that the UNESCO has already released a call for nominations.As instructed the nominations files should be forwarded in hard copy and the deadline for submission is April 16th 2012, to the attention of: Ms. Mariana Patru, Project Officer. To those who have been asking about the prize please do not hesitate to contact her directly should you need further information or clarification, (Mariana Pãtru Project Officer, Education Sector, UNESCO, 7, place de Fontenoy, F-75352 Paris 07 SP, France. E-mail: m.patru (and then add Phone: +33 1 45 68 08 07; Fax: +33 1 45 68 56 26/27).

Here it is as taken from the UESCO's website:

ICTs in Education Prize: Call for nominations

UNESCO King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa PrizeUNESCO King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa Prize
Educating Youth for Responsible Global Digital Citizenship is the theme of the 2011 UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize for the Use of ICTs in Education. Funded by the Kingdom of Bahrain, the US$50,000 Prize is divided equally between two winners. The deadline for submission of nominations is 16 April 2012.
Every year, this Prize rewards individuals, institutions or non-governmental organizations for projects and activities that demonstrate best practice as well as creative use of ICTs to enhance learning, teaching and overall educational performance.

Submissions of nominations must reach UNESCO via the governments of Member States, in consultation with their National Commissions for UNESCO, or via international non-governmental organizations that maintain formal relations with the Organization.

The two prizewinners will be selected by the Director-General of UNESCO on the basis of recommendations made to her by an international jury that consists of five independent members of different nationalities. Winners will be celebrated at an award ceremony on 16 May 2012 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.
The 2010 Prize was awarded to the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (United Kingdom) and Infocentro Foundation (Venezuela) for their projects aimed at increasing digital literacy of adults.

By proposing the theme, Educating Youth for Responsible Global Digital Citizenship, for the current edition of the Prize, UNESCO would like to stress the right to education for all as the foundation for building a global human community sharing the same ideals and values of coexistence, equality, peace and tolerance.

Thank you and appreciate it if you help me to announce it.

Aysha Murad
Cultural Counselor
Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain