UK projects scoop top prize in global awards

Three UK education projects have scooped the top prize in a major global award.

Micro:bit, Street Child and United World Schools have been crowned winners in the 2019 World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) awards for their work providing “innovative learning and education to children in remote and underprivileged parts of the world”.

Stavros Yiannouka, WISE chief executive, said the awards “demonstrate once again how global organisations and governments can tackle pressing education challenges with innovative solutions in sustainable and scalable ways”.

Winning projects must be established, innovative education projects that can show transformative impact on youngsters, communities and society. They also need to be financially sound and scalable.

The not-for-profit Micro:bit Educational Foundation won for its work on the micro:bit – a pocket-sized computer used for coding and originally developed by the BBC.

It’s now used in over 60 countries. Gareth Stockdale, CEO of the foundation, said he was “proud” of the award adding: “We are committed to broadening children’s participation in technology globally and this award recognises the work of the foundation and our amazing partners all over the world to achieve this.”

Schools Week reported in 2016 that the UK roll-out of the micro:bit was initially delayed for teachers.

Then education secretary Nicky Morgan (pictured above at the Bett Show in 2016 with a Micro:bit) said at the time the devices were a “fantastic way to spark an initial interesting in technology”.

Family Business for Education by Street Child won for its work supporting youngsters in the “toughest and remotest places” to go to school and provide children protection and livelihood support.

United World Schools (UWS): Teaching the Unreached partners with local communities and supporters around the world to establish primary schools and “teach the unreached” in remote areas of South Asia. They have over 150 schools open across Cambodia, Myanmar and Nepal, and have enrolled over 30,000 students.

WISE, an initiative of the Qatar Foundation, received 481 project submissions, with 15 finalists shortlisted.

With just six projects awarded, the UK makes up half of the winners. Each project wins $20,000.

The projects will be celebrated during the WISE Global Summit in Doha, Qatar, in November.

Schools Week is media partner of the Wise summit.