WISE awardees dedicated to open education

Posted on 2011-11-14

  Since 2009, the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE), sponsored by Qatar Foundation, has rewarded an individual or team for their outstanding contributions to the field of education a cash prize to further develop education projects. The top WISE prize of half a million dollars is so far the first and only international cash prize dedicated to education.

The WISE awards shed light on innovations in education. As such, many of the awardees have made great strides in the field of open education and have worked towards increasing access to educational resources for diverse learning populations. As an expression of QFI's commitment to open education and in honor of these innovators, we have highlighted below the 2009-2011 WISE awardees dedicated to the open education philosophy.


WISE Awardees 2011

Project: Al Jisr School-Business Partnerships (Morocco) Reach: Morocco
About the Project:  The mission of the Al Jisr organization is to improve the quality of education by mobilizing and involving businesses and to move them beyond charity or philanthropy towards true engagement.  Trainers receive IT instruction in partnership with Microsoft and learn about new teaching methodologies in collaboration with the International Baccalaureate Organization. Students receive training from executives on entrepreneurship, financial literacy and life skills in partnership with Injaz, a member of Junior Achievement Worldwide.

ProjectBBC Janala (UK)
 Reach: Bangladesh
About the Project:  BBC Janala uses mobile, web, television and print media to enable millions of people in Bangladesh to learn English in a simple and affordable way. Through mobile phone technology, and at a cost of just 50 paisa (0.004 UK pence) per minute, BBC Janala provides daily three-minute audio lessons to people who wish to improve their English language skills.

ProjectConnexions (USA)
 Reach: Global
About the ProjectConnexions (cnx.org) is a content platform that enables the free and open use of high-quality educational materials by a global community of authors, teachers, and students. Connexions, which is currently used by two million people per month, unbundles traditional textbooks into small modular blocks, like Lego, that each deal with a single conceptual topic.

ProjectCreative Partnerships (UK)Reach: UK
About the Project:  The program works with a range of state schools and uses an inquiry-based approach whereby program stakeholders identify a key challenge and then employ creative thinking and solutions to overcome the challenge. This multi-faceted approach also transfers directly to curriculum subjects and encourages teachers to experiment with creativity in a way that they may not have considered before. It not only injects creativity into everyday school life but also provides teachers and artists with further opportunities to develop professionally.

ProjectSueñaLetras (Chile)
 Reach: Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Uruguay, Costa Rica and Spain
About the ProjectSueñaLetras is a tool that supports the literacy learning process using sign language as a bridge to reach written language. It includes a program, an instruction manual, and a transference manual and video, designed to support teachers in the process of teaching students with hearing disabilities aged 4 -12 to read and write. In addition, the program has been shown to be useful for adults and non-deaf individuals. It is open source and free to download, which extends its scope.

ProjectTeacher Education in Sub Saharan Africa (TESSA) (UK) 
Reach: Sub-Saharan Africa
About the Project:  TESSA is a network of over 20 universities and organizations from 12 African countries led by the Open University, UK. It works through the collaborative creation and supported use of multilingual high-quality resources for teachers and teacher educators. These resources or study units guide teachers in developing their core pedagogical practices whilst remaining in their schools. Crucially, TESSA resources are not copyright-protected and are designed to be easy and cheap to reproduce. As Open Educational Resources they are available to all in a variety of formats, free of charge, to use, adapt and share.

WISE Awardess 2010

ProjectMother Child Education program (MOCEP)
 by ACEV – Mother Child Education Foundation Reach: International
About the Project:  The Mother Child Education Program (MOCEP) is a sustainable early childhood education (ECE) program that aims to educate and support preschool children from under-resourced communities by training the mother in her role as a “first educator” through group discussions and mother-to-child learning exercises for a period of 25 weeks. MOCEP, founded in 1993, is a nationwide project operated in collaboration with the Turkish Ministry of National Education (MoNE). This cost-effective (US$15 per individual) program uses such existing community resources as MoNE facilities and teachers. Trainings are conducted in a participatory, group-learning environment, with trainers acting as group leaders rather than teachers. Trainers also conduct home visits, while ACEV provides an intensive supervision and support system.

ProjectThe Smallholder Farmers Rural Radio by The Smallholders Foundation Reach: Nigeria
About the Project:  The Smallholders Farmers Rural Radio broadcasts educational radio programs on crop cultivation, livestock rearing and soil management 10 hours a day in the local Igbo Language to inform and educate its 250,000 small-farmer listeners and improve their agricultural, environmental management and market access capacity. 

The educational radio programs cover erosion and flooding control, farm and household management, food safety, nutrition, HIV/AIDS, agriculture, combating malaria and farm safety. They also deal with such topics as application of fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides; rainwater harvesting; treadle pumps; and small scale irrigation management. Illiterate small farmers learn about methods for accessing hybrid seeds, reaching national and international markets, export documentation, and accessing finance and micro-credit facilities. A question and answer service replies to questions sent in by farmers and allows them to share experiences with one another.

ProjectMIT OpenCourseWareby Massachusetts Institute of Technology Reach: International
About the Project:  MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) is a large-scale, Web-based publication of educational materials from virtually all MIT courses. OCW provides free and open access to core content – syllabi, lecture notes, course calendars, problem sets and solutions, exams, reading lists and assignments – from MIT courses, representing 33 academic disciplines and all five MIT schools. As of August 2010, materials from more than 2,000 courses, virtually the entire curriculum of the Institute, were available.

ProjectNext Einstein Initiative (AIMS-NEI)
 by African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) Reach: International
About the Project: Since 2003, the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) has been training talented students from across Africa in a partnership arrangement between Cape Town’s three local universities and the universities of Cambridge, Oxford and Paris XI. AIMS students study for an innovative, broad-based postgraduate diploma in mathematical sciences, which provides them with the skills, connections and confidence to go on to leadership careers in academics, industry or governance. 

Students benefit from teaching by top academics from around the globe and tutors who are available throughout the year. Courses are designed to emphasise independent thinking, problem solving and use of computational techniques. AIMS has built a 24-hour learning environment where students, lecturers and tutors live, work and eat together, and have constant access to computing and library facilities and resident researchers.

WISE Awardees 2009

ProjectNanhi Kali Organization:
 Mahindra Trust Reach: India
About the ProjectNanhi Kali identifies girls at risk of dropping out of government schools and creates special sponsorship for them, working with 25 NGO implementation partners at grassroots level to provide academic and material support. 

The academic support takes the form of a pedagogically innovative and entertaining class covering maths, science and language, before or after school hours, to bridge gaps in learning. The teaching methodology includes the extensive use of original teaching tools and activities, such as story telling and group games, which make learning not only meaningful but also playful.

ProjectCurriki Reach: International
About the ProjectCurriki builds a web-based platform that provides users with the tools and services necessary to develop, aggregate, evaluate and support Open Educational Resources (OER). It is a collaborative, international workspace that offers educators the opportunity to work together or independently to individualize instruction and create and customize high-quality instructional materials, all at no charge.

ProjectDistance Learning in the Amazon Forest
 by Hughes Brazil Reach: Amazon Forest, Brazil
About the Project:  The project involves transmitting live classes given by teachers, from three studios located at the main office of the Secretariat of Education in Manaus, via a two-way video-conference link to 25,000 students in 300 secondary schools and 700 classrooms, throughout the 62 county districts. A teacher is also located at each classroom to support local activities. The technology kit in each classroom comprises a satellite antenna linked to a satellite router, a radio transmitter, a computer, a printer, a web camera, a microphone, a VoIP phone, a no-break power supply, a 37” LCD television and Internet connection.

The project addresses an urgent social need and was therefore carefully devised with a view to fostering the participation of all students and teachers, allowing the integration of different cultures - often thousands of kilometres apart – and building a sense of belonging and a real group identity.

ProjectThe Self-Sufficient School
 by Fundación Paraguaya Reach: International
About the Project:  At its San Francisco Agricultural School - a co-ed boarding farm/school for youths aged 15-19 in Cerrito, Paraguay - Fundación Paraguaya (FP) developed The Self-Sufficient School from 2003, a new model of technical/vocational education which provides high-quality, affordable education to chronically poor young people, without relying on government subsidies, long-term donor support or costly school fees that exclude the poor. The school transforms young farmers into financially successful “rural entrepreneurs” by integrating the teaching of traditional high school subjects with the running of 17 small-scale, on-campus rural enterprises.

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