Innovative projects from China and Finland to receive UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize for enhancing learning through Artificial Intelligence


Paris: The 2020 UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize for the Use of Information and Communication Technologies in Education will be awarded to the “One College Student Per Village” programme from the People’s Republic of China and the collaborative education platform “ViLLE“ from Finland. Each laureate will be awarded $25,000 for their use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to enhance the continuity and quality of learning.

Through the 2020 edition of the Prize, UNESCO encourages the use of inclusive and human-centered AI applications to support the continuity of quality learning as schooling in many parts of the world is disrupted by COVID-19. Since the early stages of the pandemic, countries around the world have been introducing distance-learning solutions drawing on various technologies. Nevertheless, the disruption in schooling has exacerbated a pre-existing learning crisis and caused a massive new loss in learning.

The “One College Student Per Village” programme implemented by the Open University of China (OUC) uses AI to provide learners from rural and remote areas with quality learning opportunities. The programme works through a smart learning platform using voice and semantic analysis, automatic feedback, automated essay scoring, and big data analysis, which allows an increasing number of learners from rural and remote areas to benefit from quality learning experiences.As of 2020, more than 800,000 learners enrolled in 3,735 learning centers nationwide have benefited from the programme.

The collaborative education platform “ViLLE” developed by the Centre for Learning Analytics (University of Turku) offers a personalized set of exercises based on students’ performance and provides teachers with detailed reports on their students’ progress. The strong academic foundation of the project ensures evidence-based data utilization and learning analytics drawing on AI. More than 300,000 students use the platform and 14,000 registered teachers have collaboratively created over 4,000 courses and 130,000 exercises.

The two prizewinners were chosen on the recommendation of an International Jury of educational experts from nominations submitted by UNESCO’s Member States and UNESCO partner organizations.

Established in 2005 and supported by the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Prize annually rewards individuals and organizations that use digital technologies to enhance teaching, learning and overall education performance. Alongside the monetary award, the winners gain international recognition for their innovative use of digital technologies in education.


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