The sixth World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) once again reinforced the dedication by Qatar Foundation to encourage innovation in education, particularly among young people.
The annual event, which recently concluded in Qatar’s capital city of Doha, tackled a number of education issues on a global level. Through a series of unique programs that address key areas in education, WISE has grown in stature to help prepare students to become leaders within their communities.
An initiative of Qatar Foundation under the leadership of its Chairperson Her Highness Sheikha Moza bin Nasser, WISE has demonstrated over the past few years how it has played a pivotal role in bringing together global thought leaders and educational practitioners with one aim of creating a better education environment for all.
In recent years, WISE has established itself as a global reference in new approaches to education through a series of on-going initiatives, including the Learners’ Voice Program. Launched in 2010, it is designed to equip young people aged 18 to 25 with the relevant soft skills, tools, and know-how to address global education issues. In addition, it provides students with opportunities to explore barriers to education, and create innovative, yet realistic and achievable, solutions.
An integral part of the year-long Learners’ Voice Program is bringing together people from different backgrounds and cultures to tackle a universal issue, an element which proved popular among all the participants.
“The Learners’ Voice Program has been a life-changing experience,” said Khalid Al-Saegh, a Qatari student at Texas A&M University at Qatar. His locally-targeted project, ‘iSTEAM,’ aims to bring 3D printers to the classroom.
Pakistani born Ahwaz Akhtar is a student at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Qatar. His group’s project, ‘Orenda,’ is designed to help people who have been displaced from their homes due to natural disasters or war, specifically Afghans in Islamabad.
This year, 34 young men and women were chosen from hundreds of promising applicants to take part in the 2014-2015 Learners’ Voice Program, launched at WISE 2014 with a series of workshops. The students had opportunities to meet with previous years’ participants to seek knowledge and advice, and share ideas.
Now in its fifth year, the Learners’ Voice community comprises of over 100 Learners. The students are from diverse backgrounds and disciplines, from around the world. They share a passion for education, and together they represent a unique perspective within the WISE community.
In addition to the Learners’ Voice, WISE aims to provide opportunities to individuals of all ages involved with established projects’ in an early stage of development. This year, the Summit served as the official launch of the WISE Accelerator, a tailor-made mentorship program to support high potential, scalable projects that address education challenges through innovative technology.
In its inaugural year, five projects were selected to take part in the program, including ‘Ustad Mobile.’ Based in the United Arab Emirates, Ustad Mobile is an application that enables educators to make their own mobile learning content, including audio, video, quizzes, and games. It is a learning platform that targets emerging or low-income countries.
Among the other projects chosen for the inaugural WISE Accelerator were ‘Ideas Box’ and ‘Kytabu’. Based in France, ‘Ideas Box’ is a portable media center that provides an enhanced learning environment that can be adapted to any situation. ‘Kytabu’, created by a team in Kenya, is a mobile textbook subscription application on Android and Windows platforms that aims to provide students with access to affordable learning content.
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