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 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. The initiative was selected by the director-general of UNESCO based on the recommendations of an international jury, which comprised of 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.
Padma Sarangapani, Project Director, CLIx and Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, 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, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 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 honor 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 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 fourIndian 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 HomiBhabha 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.
TISS is India’s premier University for applied social sciences and development. TISS has nurtured a culture of values and commitment to work with the underprivileged sections of India in ways that positively contribute to development. Faculty and students at TISS are encouraged and supported to take up large scale action research studies that can inform policy and to also engage with policy advocacy. Faculty in education are active on the Indian education science—as researchers, teachers and policy advocates. TISS has initiated pioneering programmes in education such as Masters in Elementary Education in blended and face to face form that aim to develop professionals for this sector. TISS is also developing programmes in teacher education.
The mission of MIT is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century. The Institute is an independent, coeducational, privately endowed university, organized into five schools (architecture and planning; engineering; humanities, arts, and social sciences; management; and science). It has some 1,000 faculty members, more than 11,000 students, and more than 130,000 living alumni. At its founding in 1861, MIT was an educational innovation, a community of hands-on problem solvers in love with fundamental science and eager to make the world a better place. Today, that spirit still guides how MIT educates students on campus and how it shapes new digital learning technologies to make MIT teaching accessible to millions of learners around the world. Indeed, in his 2012 inaugural speech, President L. Rafael Reif challenged MIT to become a lab to explore the future of higher education. Since then, MIT’s nonprofit online learning platform, edX, has engaged more than 6 million learners drawn from every country on Earth.
About Tata Trusts
Since inception in 1892, Tata Trusts, India’s oldest philanthropy, has played a pioneering role in bringing about an enduring difference in the lives of the communities it serves. Guided by the principles and the vision of proactive philanthropy of its Founder, Jamsetji Tata, the Trusts’ purpose is to catalyse development in the areas of healthcare and nutrition, water and sanitation, education, energy, rural upliftment, urban poverty alleviation, and arts, craft and culture. Tata Trusts’ programmes, achieved through direct implementation, partnerships and grant making, are marked by innovations, relevant to the country.