ProFuturo, as winner of the WISE 2021 Award for educational innovation, becomes the first Spanish project to win this prestigious award in the global education sector.
The six WISE Award winning projects were presented during the WISE Summit held on 7-9 December in Doha, Qatar. On 8 December, representatives from the various winning projects took part in the awards ceremony. Through their speeches and video presentations, those in attendance were able to learn more about the award-winning initiatives.
“Receiving such a prestigious award in the field of education is a great honour and a dream come true. When technology and innovation is made available to the service of education, great things can be achieved”, said ProFuturo CEO Magdalena Brier upon learning of the Qatar Foundation decision.
What does WISE award?
Since its creation in 2009, WISE has awarded six prizes to the most innovative educational projects of the year. In the history of the WISE Awards, to date no Spanish project has received an award. Since its founding, WISE has received more than 4,200 applications from 150 countries. Of these, 78 initiatives have been awarded for their innovation, positive contribution to society and their ability to be scaled up and replicated.
The 2021 edition has selected the finalists based on projects that propose innovative solutions to some of the challenges that the educational sector already faced and which have been accentuated in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dropping out of school, the digital gap, low enrolment of girls in schools, access to education for refugee children, and low levels of reading and numeracy among primary school pupils are some of these challenges.
“The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the extent to which quality digital education is key to ensuring school enrolment and reducing inequalities. In this sense, ProFuturo has established itself as a tool to facilitate access to education and close the digital gap in the most vulnerable environments“, emphasised ProFuturo’s deputy director general, Xavier Bertolin.
ProFuturo has been selected for its innovative digital education programme that aims to narrow the global education gap by bringing quality digital education to vulnerable environments in 40 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia. To do so, it relies on innovative teaching-learning methodologies and technology, with which it seeks to encourage the development of 21st-century skills in teachers and students.
To fight the digital divide and ensure that no one was left behind during the months when schools were closed, as well as opening our educational resources free of charge to the world, at ProFuturo we transform our digital content into alternative formats to reach those with no connectivity. Thus, workbooks were developed, printed and physically delivered from house to house, and podcasts and videos of the classes were produced to be broadcast on radio and television, and to send via messaging platforms such as WhatsApp.
Despite the enormous difficulties faced by the educational sector and the high percentage of schools that remained closed, in 2020 ProFuturo managed to train 535,223 teachers and contribute to a better education for 9,520,920 children, 175% more than it had in 2019.
“Digital education has been a great ally for the continuity of education in 2020 and will continue to bring quality education to all corners of the world and facilitating equal opportunities”, explained Ms Brier.
The winning projects at the WISE 2021 Awards
Together with ProFuturo, the other winners of the 2021 edition are:
- The Happiness Curriculum, a project from the New Delhi Government and the Indian NGO Dream a Dream to introduce social-emotional competencies into the educational curriculum.
- The edtech solution to promote reading and numeracy from the UK organisation, Onebillion Children.
- The Trauma Informed Schools initiative through which the Turkish foundation Maya Vakfi seeks to transform Turkish public school classrooms into safe learning spaces for children who have suffered traumatic experiences.
- Aprendamos todos a leer (Let’s all learn to read), a programme from the Colombian Luker Foundation to teach reading and writing through the development of phonological awareness in Spanish.
- The Taleemabad educational series from the Pakistani organisation, the Orenda Project, which is broadcast on national television as well as through a mobile application with the aim of teaching children English, Urdu, Maths and Science.
WISE 2021 Summit
The WISE 2021 Summit brought together representatives of the different winning projects in Doha, Qatar. Magdalena Brier, Director General of ProFuturo, upon receiving the award, gave a speech in which she affirmed: “I joined the ProFuturo team two and a half years ago. At the time, some saw the programme as too “idealistic” or, in other words, “naïve”.” But the COVID-19 pandemic and the sudden closure of schools around the world put digital education at the centre of the global education debate. Technology was suddenly seen as the answer to the crisis.
This year’s WISE Awards also featured the social media campaign “#UnMute Generation”. The initiative aims to raise the profile of diverse views on education, debunking myths and offering different voices on the same topic. At ProFuturo we wanted to highlight the importance of collaborative work with our partners, essential pillars of our educational project. In this way, we joined the campaign through the following claim that was shared by many of our global allies: “UnMute the power of joint collaboration and partnerships in education”.