Reimagine Education Awards Announced: 2021’s educational ‘Oscar’ winners Tata Steel Foundation wins an award for lockdown learning project

Reimagine Education Awards

London 14th December: 2021’s most exciting, effective new approaches to teaching and learning have been announced by QS Quacquarelli Symonds and The Wharton School, after a grueling competition comprising eight months, 1350 applicants, and five rounds of close expert scrutiny: the Reimagine Education Awards.

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Reimagine Education 2021 shed light on the excellence of innovative solutions enhancing learning outcomes and employability for a future billion learners. In addition to the three overall awards, it rewarded innovation in sixteen main award categories (including AI, VR/AR, e-learning, educational apps, and more), six disciplines (arts & humanities, business education, engineering & IT, life sciences, natural sciences, and social sciences) and regional awards.

The complete list of winners includes links to the 2’ video summary for each project. The Reimagine Education Awards are open to edtech companies, universities, schools, and educational non-profits worldwide. Contested by applicants from all over the world, they seek to offer global higher education a platform through which outstanding pedagogical innovation can be identified and rewarded. Six Indian projects were shortlisted in this edition and two received awards.

Rhapsody – Creative Intelligence Delivered receives two Gold Awards. It wins the Regional Award (Asia) and the Discipline Award for Arts & Humanities. Rhapsody is one of India’s first initiatives to successfully integrate ART with STEM education, primarily using Music and then expanding to Visual Art. Founded in 2013 it has now grown to embrace nearly 406 primary schools. Of these, 358 schools (almost 90%) comprise children from resource-deprived backgrounds in Tier- II, III, and villages of Southern India. The program has been highly successful in revolutionizing educational outcomes in the schools it has reached.

The Lockdown Learning project by Tata Steel Foundation received the Bronze Award in Asia. Covid profoundly impacted learning among children, resulting in an increased dropout rate among rural government schools across India. To address this, Tata Steel Foundation implemented the Lockdown Learning module in the digitally dark villages of Jharkhand and Odisha. It combines the curated physical presence of teachers and freshly designed material, which reached 35,000 children across 2,653 villages. It enabled 170 government schoolteachers to voluntarily join this effort for continued education. By November, with no visibility of schools reopening, Lockdown Learning was expanded for deeper penetration. Today, 1263 trained teachers across 4539 villages and >135,000 children are part of this programme.

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Nunzio Quacquarelli, CEO, QS and co-founder of Reimagine Education, said: “At the end of the second consecutive disruptive year for global higher education, it has been a pleasure and a privilege to offer a platform to the projects, pedagogies, and solutions that represent the future of educational provision. With over 300 independent judges participating in the evaluation process, plus a distinguished 20 persons Grand Jury, our winners have received the unequivocal backing of expert educationalists across the world. They should take exceptional pride in their achievement.”  Quacquarelli continued: “Insofar, only one Indian innovative solution BYJU, won one of our two overall prizes, receiving the Global EdTech Award in 2016. With the tremendous transformation happening in India, both among the edtech community and the higher education community, we look forward to receiving excellent submissions for our 2022 awards.”

Following last year’s success with the University of Sydney Business School winning the overall prize with their initiative Job Smart, the top university achiever is again an Australian university.

The Queensland University of Technology, QUT Design for Impact winning solution, selected by the Reimagine Education Grand Jury to win the Global Education Award (worth $25,000 in cash funding, sponsored by QS), delivers an innovative interdisciplinary approach. Transdisciplinary ‘Impact Labs’ were introduced across the QUT Bachelor of Design curriculum in 2019. Drawing on stakeholder feedback reflecting shifting employer and global needs, the four units, ‘Place’, ‘People’, ‘Planet’ and ‘Purpose’, aim to future-proof design students’ careers. Labs facilitate the development of students’ theoretical understandings of societal and global issues.

Ubongo was selected for the Global EdTech Award, proudly sponsored by Google Cloud, and worth $25,000 in Google Cloud credits. Ubongo is a Pan-African social enterprise that leverages the power of entertainment, mass media, rigorous research, and kid-centered design to bring effective, localized learning to African families at low cost through the technology they already have. As Africa’s largest classroom, Ubongo provides free edutainment programs on TV, radio, and digital. The educational shows are available in 11 languages in 40 countries, reaching 24.6 million families. The content improves cognitive development, learning outcomes, and social-emotional skills while ensuring every child can experience fun in learning. Next year’s Reimagine Education Award Competition will open on Monday 21st March 2022.

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