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Connected Learning Initiative by TISS, MIT, Tata Trusts wins UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize

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The Connected Learning Initiative (CLIx), a tripartite initiative of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Tata Trusts, has won UNESCO’s prestigious King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize, an international recognition, for the Use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the field of Education.
 
CLIx, which leverages technology to improve learning levels in Mathematis, English and Science, was chosen out of 143 applications from 79 countries, and the only Indian initiative to have been honoured, since 2006 when this award was instituted, a press release from Tata Trusts said.
 
The initiative was selected by the director-general of UNESCO based on the recommendations of an international jury, which comprised eminent education experts, bureaucrats and academicians working ICT in education, drawn from five countries.
 
"The Connected Learning Initiative (CLIx), a bold and innovative experiment, offers quality teaching and learning through the use of modern technology to improve the academic prospects of high school students from underserved communities of India. With a four-pronged approach that includes Classroom Activities, Lab Activities, IT enabled Activities and Review and Assessment to deliver learning outcomes, CLIx aims to provide high quality learning experiences in Hindi, Telugu and English. CLIx focuses on authentic, hands-on, conceptual learning and development of values, skills and competencies. 
 
"CLIx has helped improve the education outcomes in a total of 478 government secondary schools; covering 2,130 teachers and 32,437 students in the states of Chhattisgarh, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Telangana. Currently CLIx offers over 15 modules in Mathematics, Science, English and Digital Literacy in three languages in these schools in which ICT labs have been activated, 1767 teachers who have participated in Teacher Professional Development workshops and are on mobile-phone enabled Communities of Practice," the release said.
 
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Padma Sarangapani, Project Director, CLIx and Professor, TISS, said, “We have designed to harness technology to enhance constructivist learning—getting students to think, solve problems, explore, interact and collaborate and involving teachers in developing their pedagogy for active learning.  This is the curriculum transformation that our education system needs, at scale, envisioned in the National Curriculum Framework 2005.  The enthusiasm of students to learn through exploration and of teachers who are learning to integrate ICT into their subject teaching, and of the State governments of Mizoram, Rajasthan, Telangana and Chhattisgarh who are happy to see the ICT@School labs being maintained and used by students, has been a great source of motivation for us.”
 
M S Vijay Kumar,   Associate Dean for Open Learning. Executive Director, J-WEL, MIT, said, “We hope that the project's commitment to openness, connectedness, and pedagogical principles will serve as useful model for educational change at scale, in India and elsewhere. It is at once humbling, gratifying and energizing to receive the King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa prize from UNESCO. This honour is not only a recognition of the collaborative effort so far in each aspect of this project (curriculum design, technology applications, teacher preparation) but also incentive to continue to look for innovative solutions to address the important goal of providing universal quality education”.
 
R Venkataramanan, Managing Trustee, Tata Trusts, said, “UNESCO's award to Connected Learning Initiative (CLIx), reaffirms Tata Trust’s vision of building lasting solutions to complex educational challenges. This is only possible through national and international collaborations and meaningful use of technology. CLIx exemplifies principles of innovation, collaboration and openness. We remain committed to working with multiple stakeholders to implement CLIx at scale to foster quality and equity in education.”
 
The release said the initiative draws on MIT’s leadership in platform-based blended-learning and interactive technologies in Education, TISS’s experience of impactful field action programmes in school and teacher education, and Tata Trusts’ commitment to serve disadvantaged communities in India. The Initiative has partnered with four Indian States to work in government high schools with students and teachers. It has also worked with a number Indian non-profits such as Eklavya, Centre for Education Research and Practice and academic institutions such as Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education and University of Mizoram for curriculum development and implementation.
 
The theme of this year’s edition was “Use of ICT to Increase Access to Quality Education” with a view to promote innovations in leveraging ICTs for achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4. 
 
Since 2006, the Prize is dedicated to reward innovative ICT practices in education that aim to develop education systems worldwide and to foster high quality and inclusive lifelong opportunities for all. 
 
The national Programme on Mainstreaming ICTs for Education (Programme de Généralisation des Technologies de l´Information et de la Communication pour l´Enseignement, Programme GENIE), from Morocco has also won the award, the release said.
 
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