The Prize rewards outstanding projects that employ ICTs to enhance teaching, learning and overall educational performance. It consists of a US$50,000 award that is divided equally between two laureates, individuals or institutions.
His Majesty was represented at the ceremony by His Highness Sheikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al-Khalifa. Also present were Dr Majed Bin Ali Al Noaimi, the Minister of Education of the Kingdom of Bahrain and Chairman of the Bahrain National Commission for UNESCO, and Dr Hashim Hasan Albash, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain to UNESCO.
In his address, the Director-General paid tribute to the Prize as “just one of the many examples of His Majesty’s commitment to making quality education accessible and affordable to all”. He also took the occasion to express his “deep satisfaction” at the recent proposal by the Government of Bahrain to establish a regional centre for ICTs under the auspices of UNESCO, which Mr Matsuura said would “serve as a hub for knowledge and innovation in the application of ICTs for capacity building and sustainable development”.
The Director-General highlighted the important timing of the prize-giving ceremony, at the midway point towards the 2015 target date for achieving Education for All. He emphasized the vital role ICTs can play in helping countries achieve the six EFA goals, in particular through expanding access to learning, especially for remote and vulnerable populations, and enhancing education outcomes by creating a more interactive and learner-centred environment. “Of course, we have to proceed strategically. But with good planning, and a long-term vision, ICTs can make a real difference to education”, he said.
In total, 68 projects from 51 countries were submitted for this second edition of the Prize, focused on the theme of Open Access to Education. On the basis of the recommendations of an independent jury, the Director-General selected two prize-winners and two honourable mentions.
The two prize-winners were: the Belgium-based Claroline Consortium, which provides an open-source platform reaching 900 institutions in 84 countries and in 35 languages; and the USA-based project Curriki: the Global Education and Learning Community, a comprehensive online, open and collaborative repository of educational resources. Present at the ceremony to accept the awards were Professors Marcel Lebrun and Philippe Mercenier, President and Secretary General respectively of the Claroline Consortium and Dr Barbara Kurshan, Executive Director of Curriki.
The two honourable mentions went to: the Sésamath Project, from France, which offers a comprehensive freely available mathematics curriculum; and the Enciclomedia Project of the Instituto Latinoamericano de la Communicación Educativa (ILCE), which is helping to expand access to basic education and train teachers in Mexico and 13 other Latin American countries. Accepting the diplomas were Professor Benjamin Clerc, President of Sésamath, and, on behalf of ICLE, Mr Alfredo Miranda Ortiz, Deputy Permanent Delegate of Mexico to UNESCO.
The Director-General stated that together, these projects “indicate the emergence of a vibrant global community of practice in open and free access to, and use of, ICTs in education. They demonstrate the great potential of such technologies to foster collaboration and solidarity between institutions and countries in the development and sharing of high-quality digital content, resources and good practices for the benefit of everyone”.
Author(s): Office of the Spokeswoman - Source: Flash Info N° 202-2007 - Publication Date: 19-12-2007