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Wenhui Award 2020 - Educational Innovation in Response to Pandemic and Other Emergencies

Wenhui Award 2020 - Educational Innovation in Response to Pandemic and Other Emergencies

Innovation is vital for the survival and progress of almost all industries and fields, and education is not an exception. Innovative approaches are indispensable for achieving equity and quality of education in all contexts, particularly in emergencies and crises. COVID-19 has become a catalyst for innovations in different sectors, including education, in a very short period of time. In the Asia-Pacific region in particular, innovative technologies and techniques have been widely utilized in different educational systems and at all levels during the pandemic outbreak; new platforms and creative measures have been employed to deliver distance learning, conduct assessments, support teachers and families, and work towards the safe return to schools. Many such innovative solutions involve diverse stakeholders such as governments, education professionals, technology providers, and communities. This emerging trend makes educational institutions, educators and learners more adaptable and resilient to crises and exerts far-reaching impacts on future education.

Against the background of the COVID-19 pandemic and in view of the crucial importance of innovation for education in emergencies and crises, this year’s Wenhui Award is themed “Educational Innovation in Response to Pandemic and Other Emergencies”.

The Award shall be conferred on two individuals or institutions in the Asia-Pacific region for their outstanding efforts and achievements in educational innovation with regard to this year’s theme. The two winners will receive a Certificate of Excellence and a prize of US$ 20,000 each. Apart from the winners, honourable commendations may be granted to individuals or institutions that have demonstrated commendable innovative educational practices.

The Wenhui (文晖) Award was jointly created by the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Programme of Educational Innovation for Development (APEID) and the National Commission of the People’s Republic of China for UNESCO in 2010, to recognize and reward individuals or institutions that have made outstanding contributions to educational innovation in the Asia-Pacific region. Wen (文) in Chinese encompasses the meaning of culture, knowledge, wisdom, moral and ethics, and the desire for learning. Hui (晖) symbolizes the creative and radiant force of education that enables civilization and culture to flourish. Taken together, the name of the Award personifies the power of educational innovation in enabling individuals, institutions, societies and cultures to thrive. Over the past decade, 51 Awards and Honourable Commendations have been granted to individuals and institutions from 17 countries.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

Individuals or institutions from UNESCO Member States in the Asia-Pacific region that meet the following conditions are eligible to apply for the Wenhui Award:

  • Have demonstrated their ability to initiate innovative practices that help to increase access to information, promote learning and generate new knowledge in the education sector;
  • Have verified the positive impact of their contributions to improving the access to education and the quality of teaching and learning processes;
  • Have proven their commitment to enhancing the popularity and quality of education, and promoting the concept of inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning; AND
  • Have confirmed that their innovative practices are current and relevant to the key trends of education in the 21st century.

All applications for the Wenhui Award will be assessed equally against the following criteria:

  • Relevance (to Sustainable Development Goal 4 aiming to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all; to the key trends of education in the 21st century; to the Asia-Pacific region; AND to the specific theme of this year’s Award)
  • Timeliness (initiated within the last 3 years, completed or ongoing by the time of application)
  • Scale of benefit and impact (evidenced on the basis of specific indicators such as number of beneficiary countries in the Asia-Pacific region, number of beneficiary schools, number of beneficiary students, teachers, school leaders, and community members)
  • Originality (how unique the innovation is)
  • Engagement of partners from different sectors (public and private), if applicable
  • Sustainability (i.e. the benefits and impacts can be sustained beyond the completion of the innovation project) and replicability (to other countries, educational institutions, and/or relevant stakeholder groups)

Application Procedure and Supporting Documents

Applications for the Wenhui Award are open to governments, educational institutions, international organizations (IOs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and individuals in the Asia-Pacific region. All applicants need to follow the procedures stated below:

Step 1: Express interest by submitting the online registration form <click the link here> by 11 October 2020; the registered applicants will receive a link to the online application form (if the link above is not accessible, please use https://rb.gy/piejwu).

Step 2: Complete the online application form and submit all the required supporting documents as listed below by 25 October 2020:

1) Summary of the Innovation Project
The Summary should use the template provided below:

2) CV (for individual applicants) or organizational profile (for institutional applicants)

Step 3: Nomination
All applications need to be supported by a Nomination Letter commenting on the applicant’s eligibility for the Award and other relevant information. The letter should be provided by the Nominator directly to the Wenhui Award Secretariat no later than 30 October 2020

The Nominator must be one of the following three types: 1) the National Commission for UNESCO in the applicant’s country; 2) UNESCO Field Office operating in the applicant’s country; OR 3) other international organizations relevant to UNESCO and particularly active in the field of education. Applicants need to choose their preferred type of Nominator in the online registration form (Step 1) and indicate the specific Nominator in the online application form (Step 2).

If an applicant opts for a National Commission for UNESCO or UNESCO Field Office as the Nominator, the online application system will automatically send the applicant’s application package to the selected National Commission or Field Office, who will review and decide whether to nominate the applicant for further selection. The Nominator will directly upload the Nomination Letter for the Nominees to the online system. 

Information on National Commissions for UNESCO:

Information on UNESCO Field Offices:

Applicants who choose another international organization (IO) as the Nominator need to provide the contact details of the IO in the online application form. After the form is completed and submitted, the system will automatically send the IO an email about the nomination letter, which is to be sent by the Nominator directly to the email address of the Wenhui Award Secretariat: wenhui.award@unesco.org. It is the applicants’ responsibility to make sure that their selected IO Nominator submits the letter before the deadline.

Kindly note that applications sent by email will NOT be accepted.

Assessment of Applications

The final assessment of nominated applications is conducted by a Jury of multiple members who come from different countries in the Asia-Pacific region and have extensive expertise and experience in the education sector.

The winners of the Award and the recipients of the Honourable Commendations will be announced in due course after the Jury Meeting, and the winners will be invited to the Award Ceremony to be held virtually or in China.

Contact Information

For inquiries about Wenhui Award and/or the application, please contact the Secretariat at wenhui.award@unesco.org.