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2020 WISE Award winners express hope for a better education for all

2020 WISE Award winners express hope for a better education for all

Ailyn Agonia
DOHA
The World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) celebrated the six winning projects of the 2020 WISE Awards in the presence of Qatar Foundation Chairperson Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser during a virtual event held on Wednesday.
Titled ‘Building the Future of Education: Conversations with Resilient Innovators’, the event heard from the WISE Awards winners who all expressed hope for a better future of education and learning for all as well as for their respective beneficiaries that include women in remote communities in India, Kenyan and Ugandan inmates, children, caregivers and coaches in China, and children and teachers from marginalised communities from across the globe.
The 2020 WISE Awards winners are Barefoot College Solar Electrification with Enriched Education with headquarters in Barefoot College in Tilonia, India; Education for Sharing based in Mexico; UK-based Justice Defenders (formerly African Prisons Project); Parenting the Future based in Hangzhou, China; Stawisha Instructional Leadership Institute with headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya; and Think Equal based in the UK.
In his remarks, WISE CEO Stavros N. Yiannouka underlined the vision of WISE of not only recognising and celebrating innovation in education but also sending out a clear and consistent message that even in the most difficult conditions solutions to education challenges exist and are being applied on a daily basis by educationist, entrepreneurs and innovators from around the world.
He said, “Since 2009, WISE has recognised 72 such innovations. They, and the teams that are behind them, together with dozens of finalists form the core of the global community of real change makers in education. Their work gives us hope that despite the setbacks brought by conflicts, natural and man-made disasters and now the pandemic, we can and will recover and continue striving towards the sustainable development goals of quality education for all.”
UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education Stefania Giannini, who delivered the keynote speech, described the WISE Awards as a “bright spot” in this year when education is among the hardest hit by the global crisis.
“Looking at the awardees, I am reminded that many talented people and committed orgnisations are bringing us closer to the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4) and the commitment to leave no one behind,” said the UNESCO official.
She added, “I wish to end my remarks by encouraging innovators to confront the severity of our emergency while simultaneously constructing new horizons, possibilities and options for the future in education and pulling us all as a community in the future we want.”
Upon accepting the award, Meagan Fallone, former CEO Barefoot College International, said: “Every woman deserves to learn and prosper even if she cannot read or write.”
Dina Buchbinder Auron, Education for Sharing founder and president, said hope for the future is that all teachers, parents and students use a ‘play-reflect-take action approach’ to learn and address real world issues with strong and civic values.
Alexander McLean, Justice Defender founder and director-general, said: “Education transforms individuals. It also transforms our community. But it can only flourish when every member of a community is able to participate and serve their community.”
For her part, Leslee Udwin, CEO of Think Equal, said: “I hope that classrooms and policymakers will start implementing social and emotional learning (SEL) programmes which provide the answer to the mental health crisis we are facing now. SEL, the missing third dimension to education, should be the focus of early childhood education.”
Deborah Kimathi of Dignitas Project said, “I truly believe that we are stronger together. In a world that so often pushes us to compete with other actors, our approach was to collaborate.”
Sabrina Peng of Hupan Modou Foundation said, “My hope for the future is that 80 million children under three years old in China’s rural areas can have access to equal opportunities and no one is left behind.”

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