GLOBAL TEACHER PRIZE WINNER PETER TABICHI CALLS ON AFRICA’S “TRAILBLAZING” EDUCATION INNOVATORS TO APPLY FOR JACOBS FOUNDATION’S 2022 BEST PRACTICE PRIZES AS DEADLINE APPROACHES

Kenyan maths and physics teacher Peter Tabichi, winner of the 2019 Global Teacher Prize, said African entrepreneurs, non-profits, and research organisations deserve huge recognition for the innovative solutions they have brought forward to rebuild the continent’s education systems in the age of COVID-19. 

Peter Tabichi, who won the Global Teacher Prize in 2019, today called on Africa’s “trailblazing” entrepreneurs, non-profits and research organisations to apply for the 2022 Klaus J. Jacobs Best Practice Prizes – so that educators around the world learn about the innovative solutions they have developed to help transform education for the better as the sector recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Three Best Practice Prizes will be awarded in September 2022, each worth CHF 200,000 (over US$200,000).

Awarded every other year, the Klaus J. Jacobs Best Practice Prizes honour outstanding achievement and practice in advancing quality education. Applications for this year’s awards close on 10 February.

Peter Tabichi, who hails from Pwani Village, Nakuru, Kenya, said:

“I strongly encourage Africa’s trailblazing education innovators to apply for the Klaus J. Jacobs Best Practice Prizes. Now more than ever, in the age of COVID, we need examples of what education practices work on the ground. The pandemic disrupted learning for over 1.6 billion students, including more than 250 million primary and secondary school children throughout Africa who were affected by school closures. We need visionaries to help us face up to the challenges posed by COVID-19, but it is equally important to make sure that groundbreaking ideas can be applied to benefit as many children as possible.

“Africa is ripe with talent. Its education community understands first-hand the difficulties that children face when accessing learning, and this fuels its creativity to come up with innovative, transposable solutions that could help rebuild education the world over.” 

Fabio Segura and Simon Sommer, Co-CEOs of the Jacobs Foundation, said:

“By showcasing examples of best practice on the ground, we can help to shift policy and ensure that all children have access to quality education. As education systems adapt to a new and unfamiliar terrain, there is not a moment to lose. We must bring to light the evidence of what works and use it to implement solutions that can be tailored to learners’ diverse individual needs – both here in Africa and globally.

“We’d like to thank Peter for his call to action. Supporting teachers as they continue to inspire, even as the world shifts under their feet, isn’t just the right thing to do – it’s the wellspring of our future. This way, we can help all children to thrive, and become socially responsible and productive members of society.”

The Best Practice Prizes have a track record of recognising exceptional African organisations. Two of the three most recent winners, announced in December 2020, are based in Africa. PEAS (Promoting Equality in African Schools) specialises in building and operating low-cost secondary schools for marginalised students in Uganda and Zambia. Ubongo, based in Tanzania, produces ‘edutainment’ for children across Africa, providing free access to educational cartoons via radio, TV, print, and smartphones. The third recipient of a 2020 Best Practice Prize was Dybuster, a Swiss-based edtech company that develops AI-based software for children with learning disabilities.

The aim of the prizes is to find the next generation of collaborative projects that advance education across four core areas. First, the Jacobs Foundation seeks to identify groundbreaking projects that generate robust research evidence, which can then feed into child learning and development policy and practice. Second, it is looking for applicants that foster partnerships between researchers, governments, companies and schools. A third area focuses on developing entrepreneurial solutions to strengthen education policy-making. Finally, contenders can present innovative catalytic investment solutions that draw on a wide range of financial mechanisms to make the most of their resources and amplify their impact.

The Prizes are open to non-profits, public and private research institutions, businesses and entrepreneurs who are bringing forth innovative solutions to some of education’s biggest challenges. Candidates must have secured funding for at least six months. Applications, which opened on 6 January 2022, can be made at https://jacobs.awardsplatform.com/. The closing date is 10 February 2022.

Winners will be selected by the Jacobs Foundation Board of Trustees. Selection is based on outstanding achievement, alignment with the Jacobs Foundation strategy (centred on generating evidence to transform how children learn from a young age), and willingness to engage in the Jacobs Foundation’s regions of focus. Further criteria include the integration of lessons learnt from research and best practice; whether the project can be successfully replicated elsewhere; and how an organisation manages both its resources and the data it collects. Finally, contenders will be assessed on their organisational management, leadership culture, and financial viability.

In memory of its founder, the entrepreneur Klaus J. Jacobs, who passed away in 2008, the Jacobs Foundation presents two awards – for outstanding achievements in research and for practice in the field of child and youth development. The Best Practice Prizes alternate with the Klaus J. Jacobs Research Prize, which recognises pioneering, socially relevant research into youth development.

The Jacobs Foundation is active worldwide in promoting child and youth development and learning. The Foundation was founded in Zurich by entrepreneur Klaus J. Jacobs in 1989. As part of its Strategy 2030, it has committed 500 million Swiss francs to advance evidence-based ideas for learning, to support schools in offering quality education, and to transform education ecosystems around the world.

The Varkey Foundation founded the Global Teacher Prize to shine a spotlight on the incredible work teachers do all over the world. It believes every child deserves a vibrant, stimulating learning environment that awakens and supports their full potential. It believes nothing is more important to achieving this than the passion and quality of teachers. It supports global teaching capacity and seed excellence and innovation in the next generation of educators.

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