Director-General announces laureates of UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa PrizeThe Cyber Home Learning System for Primary and Secondary Students (Republic of Korea) and the eDegree Programme in Lapland (Finland) are the first laureates of the UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize for the Use of Information and Communication Technologies in Education. An honourable mention also goes to the project Dedicated Civil Law-Teaching Website for Arab Law Students (Kuwait).
The awards will be presented to the laureates on 12 January 2007 at UNESCO Headquarters, in a ceremony under the patronage of His Majesty King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa of the Kingdom of Bahrain and of the Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura.
Launched in 2005, the new US $50,000 prize (to be shared between the two laureates) rewards projects and best practices using information and communication technologies (ICTs) to enhance learning, teaching and overall educational performance. It is funded by the Kingdom of Bahrain.
In all, 35 projects were submitted to an independent five-member jury, appointed by Mr Matsuura. Paul Resta, Director of the Learning Technology Center at the University of Texas at Austin (United States), chaired the jury.
The Cyber Home Learning System for Primary and Secondary Students is a project of the Korean Ministry of Education and Human Resources and the Korea Education and Research Information Service (KERIS). It represents an innovative national model for collaborative educational planning by governmental agencies, legislative bodies, educational institutions, parents and communities. It is aimed at bridging the digital divide and attaining the goals of Education For All (EFA). Facilitating students’ access to knowledge through ICT both at home and at school, the model can serve as an example to other countries, the jury concluded.
The eDegree Programme in Lapland focuses on the needs of unemployed adults in rural, remote and depopulated areas. Developed by Kemi-Tornio Polytechnic, a pioneer in distance education in Finland, the project initially targeted Lapland but rapidly spread throughout the country. The number of people who have succeeded in completing their studies and finding employment is evidence of its effectiveness.
The Dedicated Civil Law-Teaching Website for Arab Law Students from the School of Law at Kuwait University receives an honourable mention. A model of Internet use to enhance the learning of law, it has proved highly effective. It has encouraged a number of law schools in Arab countries to make high-quality learning resources available to their students via the internet. Developed over 18 months with minimum funding, the project demonstrates that using ICT in education need not necessarily be a costly venture.