Building peace in the minds of men and women

Award ceremony celebrates the use of technology for addressing the educational gap

20 March 2019

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© UNESCO/Christelle Alix

The ThingLink visual learning technology from Finland and the Can’t Wait to Learn programme from the Netherlands were awarded the 2018 UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize, which recognizes the innovative use of technology in education.

The founder and CEO of ThingLink Ulla Maaria Koivula and the Programme director of Can’t Wait to Learn Kate Radford each received a certificate from the UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay and the Minister of Education of the Kingdom of Bahrain, H. E. Majid Bin Ali Al-Noaimi, as well as a USD 25,000 reward for their innovative projects. The ceremony took place at the UNESCO headquarters on Tuesday, 12 March 2019 and was preceded by a Seminar given by the prize laureates to present their projects.

In her speech, the Director-General congratulated the two prize winners and thanked the Kingdom of Bahrain for the creation of the Prize in 2005. She also recognized the importance of the Prize in contributing to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 4 on Education and saluted the high number of nominations, 139, fourteen years after the creation of the Prize, a sign of its strong recognition among Member States.

In 2018, the Prize focused on the use of innovative technologies to ensure education for the most vulnerable groups. The theme was designed to address major challenges that modern societies are facing in providing universal and equal access to inclusive and equitable quality education for all. As mentioned by the Director-General, globally, 65.6 million individuals have been forcibly displaced. Over 262 million children are currently out of school. In Sub-Saharan Africa only, less than 40% of girls complete 9 years of education. This is why special attention should be given to the most marginalized and vulnerable groups who are often deprived of their right to education.

The Jury of the Prize recognized, for their high quality, eight more nominated projects from India, Ghana, Canada, Togo, United Arab Emirates, Cameroon, Belgium and Jordan. One of the shortlisted projects, the KA Technologies group from Togo, presented its digital and renewable energy solution in education during the exhibition organized alongside the Award Ceremony.

This year also marked the 100 years of formal education in the Kingdom of Bahrain, which was celebrated with a film on the history of public education in Bahrain and a photo exhibition.