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

Visiting Fellow, Brookings, and Global Lead for Innovation in Education, World Bank

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