The 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.
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.
Related UNESCO ICT/education news:
- To stay up to date on what UNESCO is doing related to ICT use in education, your best source of information is the UNESCO-Bangkok web site. The ICT/education team at the regional UNESCO office in Bangkok has been a global leader for almost a decade in its investigation and promotion of the use of ICTs in education in developing countries. (If you are struggling to get an overview of what UNESCO is doing on this topic globally, infoDev's Quick guide to ICT and Education at UNESCO may be helpful).
- Subscribing to UNESCO's regular "ICT in Education Announcement e-Newsletter" and/or visiting the ICT/education database on the UNESCO-Bangkok web site is highly recommended. (Sorry, there are no official RSS or Twitter feeds that I know about ... although perhaps someone from UNESCO may correct me on this.) One highlight from this month's newsletter is the announcement that UNESCO's popular e-learning CD on ICT in education is now available on-line as well.
- Those of you regularly contact this blog seeking job opportunities may be interested to know that there are two open positions currently posted with UNESCO related to ICT use in education: one in Paris (link is to a PDF), and one in Bangkok. (A side note: the best way to stay in-the-loop on opportunities like these is not to contact us by email -- to be frank, we receive far too many such unsolicited approaches to be able to respond to them individually -- but rather to subscribe to the RSS feed for this blog and/or the World Bank EduTech Twitter feed).
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.