UNESCO Opens Application for ICT in Education Prize 2020

Photo by Christophe Petit Tesson/Epa/REX/Shutterstock (8452196a) View of the Unesco's Great Conference Room During the 38th Session of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (unesco) General Conference at the Unesco Headquarters in Paris France 09 November 2015 the 38th Session of the Unesco General Conference Runs From 03 to 18 November 2015 France Paris France Unesco Bolivia - Nov 2015

By Adedapo Adesanya

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)-partnered King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize for the use of ICT in education has opened and is accepting applications.

The theme of the 2020 edition is the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to enhance the continuity and quality of learning.

The recent crisis in the education sector as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has made the focus of this year’s event very important.

Technology innovations fueled by AI have the potential to locate and reach excluded and marginalized groups and provide quality learning programmes for learners in emergency contexts or learners with physical and cognitive disabilities.

AI technologies can also help accurately analyse the difficulties faced by students studying in a language other than their mother tongue. At the same time, they can support teachers with a better diagnosis of learning problems and personally adaptive feedback to improve pedagogical responses.


Two winners will be selected by the Director-General of UNESCO based on the recommendations of an international Jury and each winner will receive a reward of $25,000 and a diploma.

The prize is not a grant scheme aimed at supporting new projects or organisation. It is aimed at recognising already implemented projects and activities.

Who can Apply?

Individuals, institutions, non-governmental organizations or other entities.

Eligibility Criteria

The project should be ongoing for at least one year. It should not be affiliated with UNESCO or receive any funding from the global agency.

The technology solutions used by the project should be designed completely for the public good or for charitable purposes, meaning that they should not be the free parts of commercial applications or application packages that only offer limited functions free of charge while requesting users to pay for advanced functions.

Selection Criteria

Relevance to the thematic focus: The project is in line with the objectives of the prize and is relevant to the specific theme of the year.

Innovation: The project applies innovative technologies and Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enhanced solutions or blends AI and conventional technologies in a new innovative way.

Evidence of Impact: The project should provide evidence of improved learning outcomes of the targeted beneficiaries.

Potential for Replicability and Scalability: The project should show evidence that it can be replicated in other contexts or have the potential to further optimize and scale its impact.

Inclusion and Equity: The project should use AI or innovative technologies to advance inclusion and equity in education while taking into account marginalized groups, leaners in crisis and emergency contexts, and learners with physical or cognitive disabilities.

All projects should be nominated by a National Commission for UNESCO or a NGO in official partnership with UNESCO. Self-nominations will not be accepted.

How to Apply?

The applicants should first request access to the online platform and then fill in an online form.

For the application to be considered, it should be nominated by either the National Commission of the UNESCO Member State or an NGO in official partnership with UNESCO.

All applicants are encouraged to get in touch with the NGO or National Commission ahead of the application process. Self-nominations will not be accepted.

Governments of UNESCO member states, as well as NGOs in official partnership with UNESCO, are invited to elicit and nominate up to three projects, which are in line with the 2020 theme and meet the selection criteria.

The deadline for nominations is December 18, 2020 (midnight, Paris time)

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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