WISE winners

Under the theme ‘Transforming Education’, the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) has announced six groundbreaking projects from around the world as winners of the 2012 WISE Awards. Now in their fourth year, the WISE Awards identify, showcase and promote innovative educational projects from all sectors and regions of the world in order to inspire change in education.

This year’s winning projects, which have been selected for their concrete, positive impact upon society, will receive global visibility and a monetary prize to help them continue their work. Hailing from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Chile, Denmark, India and the United States, the winning initiatives were selected by a jury of leading education experts following a pre-selection of 24 WISE Awards finalists from 14 countries. Winning projects were selected for their tangible, positive impact upon society and their innovative approach to solving important global problems.

His Excellency Sheikh Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani, PhD, President, Hamad bin Khalifa University and Vice President, Education, Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development; and Chairman of WISE and Chairman of the WISE Awards Jury, said: “Since 2009, the WISE Awards have recognized successful, transformative projects in education in order to generate a pool of sound practices and to inspire their adoption and adaptation elsewhere.

“When determining the best projects, we look at what is being achieved as well as how it is done. The winning initiatives were selected because they are successful, but also because of their innovative approach. These are not ordinary education efforts.”

The diverse projects offer unique solutions to today’s most important challenges, from poverty to climate change.

Award-winning projects include one from Bangladesh, where solar-powered floating schools ensure year-round primary education to students in flood-prone areas, even during the height of the monsoon period.

Mohammed Rezwan, Executive Director of Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha, said: “The floating school project has great potential for replication as there are millions of children living in flood-prone areas around the world. The WISE Awards will help other organizations learn about us, particularly our innovations for adapting to climate change-induced flooding. This recognition for the project will also encourage international organizations to join partnerships in order to scale up the project within Bangladesh.”

The Cambodian winning project, Transforming Steung Meanchey Through Education (Cambodia), helps the children who reside and work in the Steung Meanchey landfill district on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, one of the most impoverished regions of the world.

Scott Neeson, Executive Director of the Cambodian Children’s Fund, said: “Being recognized by WISE, a leading international initiative that understands and values education as a means of creating change, is truly an honor, especially because we share with WISE the belief that we can make a difference through education.This WISE Award will help us ensure every child in our care receives the highest-quality education, and the opportunity to go to college and beyond.”

In Denmark, RaboBraille is another project to be selected as a WISE winner. The project is an email and web-based service that transforms documents into alternative formats for the blind and partially sighted, and for others with special needs.

Lars Balieu Christensen, Project Manager of RoboBraille, said: “Being a WISE Awards winner represents an important moment of recognition within our organization and within the entire education community. We were first interested in applying for this award because of the efforts made by WISE to encourage innovation in education, and because of the global platform it offers for communicating best practices and replicating them around the world.

“As a winner of a WISE Award, we hope to use this platform to further disseminate the RoboBraille service to parts of the world where it can dramatically improve the opportunities of those with special needs.”

The other WISE Awards winners for 2012 include; PSU Educarchile in Chile, Cristo Rey Network Corporate Work Study Program in the United States, and Satya Bharti School Program in India.