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.
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.
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)
JAMB Shifts Registration Deadline, 2021 UTME
By Dipo Olowookere
The registration deadline for the 2021 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) has been shifted by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB).
The Registrar of JAMB, Prof Ishaq Oloyede, disclosed on Saturday that intending candidates for the examination have till May 29 to register.
Addressing reporters after a two-day meeting with stakeholders in Abuja, Mr Oloyede said the deadline was pushed forward due to the challenges faced by candidates.
“Field reports showed a huge improvement in the processes. As of today, 1,134,424 candidates have so far registered.
“Stakeholders undertook on the spot assessment of the CBT centres and discovered lapses which warranted the extension.
“The challenges among others include candidates’ non-compliance with registration requirements, using the wrong format to generate profile code and using multiple phone numbers, among others,” the JAMB boss informed newsmen today.
He said, as a result, the dates for the mock exam and exam proper have been moved shifted forward.
According to him, the 2021 mock earlier scheduled for May 20 would now hold on June 3, while the UTME will now take place from June 19 to July 3.
Mr Oloyede said the exam body will continue to monitor the situation, assuring that logistics to allow the smooth conduct of the exercise have been put in place.
He said JAMB will not tolerate examination malpractices, warning that those caught involved in such would be punished in line with laws of the land.
Registrations for InterswitchSPAK 3.0 Commence
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Registrations for the 2021 edition of a prestigious science competition organised by Interswitch Group called InterswitchSPAK 3.0 have commenced.
With this development, secondary schools can visit the InterswitchSPAK portal, https://www.interswitchspak.com/, to register their best science students in Grade 11 or Senior Secondary 2 (SS2) for the competition. The registration portal will close on Thursday, May 27, 2021.
Each school is required to present its best science students in SSS2 and can register a minimum of six and a maximum of 10 students.
However, for mixed schools, at least two female students must be among the selected students.
Every registered student will participate in the qualifying examination online, from their schools, homes or any convenient space. The top 81 students will proceed to the finale to battle for the crown of Nigeria’s Best Science Student.
For the qualifying examination, there are two choices of days to pick from between Friday, May 28 and Saturday, May 29, 2021, any time between 8am-6pm.
The InterswitchSPAK national science competition is an annual Pan-African contest aimed at re-igniting and incentivizing the study of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) subjects among secondary school students.
The Group Chief Marketing and Communication Officer at Interswitch, Ms Cherry Eromosele, expressed her excitement about the new edition.
She stated that the competition was back, bigger and better after the one-year hiatus occasioned by the disruptive impact of the global pandemic. She also encouraged more girls to participate in this third edition of the on-going registration.
“At Interswitch, we are committed to inculcating knowledge, aptitude and confidence, with a focus on improving the standard of education in Nigeria.
“We are very passionate about encouraging more students, especially girls, to take up STEM subjects. The good news is that we have seen an increase in the number of girls participating in the competition.
“We encourage teachers, school administrators, parents and guardians to ensure their students are registered. I also want to encourage the students to take hold of this opportunity to pursue their dreams. It is our belief that the year ahead will be very exciting,” she stated.
The coveted prize is N12.5 million worth of university scholarship for the top three winners. The first prize winner gets N7.5 million tertiary scholarship spread over 5 years, a laptop and monthly stipends. The second prize is N4 million spread over 3 years and a laptop and the third prize is N1 million for 1 year.
The last edition saw Oyindamola Aje, a 16-year-old student of Jesuit Memorial College, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, emerging as winner, while the duo of 15-year-old Oluwatobi Ojo and Onyekachi Madumere (both of Apt Scholar Universal College, Ogun State) came second and third, respectively.
CRUTECH, FUTO Qualify for NCDMB Science Competition
By Adedapo Adesanya
Cross River State University of Technology (CRUTECH) and the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, (FUTO) will represent the Eastern region at the national level in the upcoming Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board’s Science and Technology Innovation Challenge (STIC).
The two universities progressed to represent the region after beating other schools, namely, Alex Ekweme Federal University, Abakiliki; Niger Delta University, Bayelsa State; and the University of Calabar, at the regional level.
The STIC competition, organized by the NCDMB, is an upshoot of the agency’s interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
Speaking, NCDMB Manager, Capacity Building Division, Mr Ama Ikuru, explained that the innovations demonstrated by the schools, will go a long way in helping to domiciled capacity and also improve lives.
Mr Ikuru noted that the board was also supporting vocational secondary schools, in a bid to promote skill acquisitions even at an early age.
He presented certificates of participation and congratulated all the contending universities from the South-South and South-East region, explaining that they were already winners, having gotten to the regional stage of the competition.
The STIC is a novel entrepreneurship development programme of the NDCMB and implemented by Enactus Nigeria, intended to challenge all students of accredited Nigerian tertiary institutions to apply science, technology and innovation to find home-grown solutions to everyday problems across all sectors of the economy.
The programme, according to the organisers, will challenge the next generation of Nigerians to think of innovative ways to apply science and technology to solve the deep problems experienced in every sector of the Nigerian economy.
Winners of the competition will not only get prizes but will gain exposure to industry experts who will mentor them to scale their innovation into business ideas that will remain profitable while providing more jobs and creating wealth.
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