The Transforming Education Summit convened by the United Nations in September 2022 mobilized over 130 countries to explore all options and innovations in response to the major challenges in education, including the catastrophic learning losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and other crises.
The coronavirus has disrupted education systems all over the world, with more than 1.6 billion learners affected by school closures. The Asia-Pacific is one of the most hit regions. Approximately 1.2 billion students across the region have in total lost about 1.1 trillion hours of in-person learning as a result of school closures during COVID-19 outbreaks.
The pandemic has exacerbated inequalities in education, with the disadvantaged groups suffering more, including girls, children with disabilities, and students from low-income families, ethnic minorities and remote rural areas.
COVID-19 has also deepened the pre-existing learning crisis. The learning poverty rate – the share of children who cannot read a simple text with comprehension by age 10 – has significantly risen in low- and middle-income countries, with South Asia seeing one of the highest increases.
Such severe learning losses have devastating socio-economic implications. The productivity and lifetime earnings of affected students are projected to decrease, and the unemployment rate in many societies is estimated to increase, which will aggravate poverty and backslash the long-term economic growth. Besides, disproportional learning loss has further widened income inequalities between and within countries.
Apart from COVID-19, other types of crises and emergencies – violence, armed conflict, diseases, refugee and internal displacement, natural hazards including climate-induced disasters, food shortage and poverty – also contribute to learning losses. Even prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the global number of crisis-impacted school-aged children requiring educational support had grown significantly.
Learning recovery from different crises has been placed on the high agenda of the international community. It means not only bringing all learners back to school and achieving effective remedial learning, but also improving and sustaining the wellbeing and development of students and teachers, filling divides, and equipping youth with the competences and skills for life, work, and sustainable development.
A powerful engine for learning recovery is education innovation, which is critical for inclusive, equitable, and quality education as well. In its broadened sense, educational innovation involves all dimensions of the education ecosystem, including but not limited to 1) innovations for inclusive, equitable, safe, and healthy schools; 2) teaching innovations to cultivate competences and skills for life, work, and sustainable development; 3) innovations in digital learning; 4) innovations for the development of the teaching profession; 5) innovations in education financing; and 6) innovations in education partnerships.
Globally and in the Asia-Pacific region in particular, various innovative education policies and practices have emerged and accelerated learning recovery. However, despite the existing efforts and achievements, many societies are still suffering lingering learning losses. Concerted endeavours are needed to invigorate education innovations for effective learning recovery across the world.
About Wenhui Award
Against the above background, this year’s Wenhui Award is themed “Educational Innovations for Learning Recovery”, with the objective to identify, acknowledge and encourage innovative policies and practices in various dimensions of the education system in the Asia-Pacific region.
The Award shall be conferred on two individuals or institutions in the Asia-Pacific region for their outstanding efforts and achievements in educational innovation about this year’s theme. The two winners will each receive a Certificate of Excellence and a prize of USD20,000. Apart from the winners, Honourable Mentions will 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. Since the inception of the Wenhui Award, there have been 22 Winners and 34 Honourable Mentions from 19 different countries.
Eligibility and Assessment Criteria
Eligibility of Applicants:
• Be individuals or institutions from UNESCO Member States in the Asia-Pacific region ;
• Have initiated, developed and implemented innovative practices that are in line with the latest developments in education in the 21st century and that help to improve access, equity and quality of education in the Asia-Pacific region;
• Have proved that their innovations have exerted positive impacts on education opportunities and quality in the Asia-Pacific region;
• Be persistently dedicated to popularization of education, enhancement of education quality, and promotion of lifelong learning.
Assessment Criteria for the Innovations:
All the educational innovations submitted for the Wenhui Award will be assessed equally against the following criteria:
1. Relevance (to the latest developments in education in the 21st century; to Sustainable Development Goal 4 aiming to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all; to the Asia-Pacific region; AND to the specific theme of the Award of the year);
2. Timeliness (started within the recent 3 years, with the key part completed by the time of application);
3. Effectiveness (in tackling specific challenges/issues in education);
4. Scale of benefits and impacts (evidenced by 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);
5. Engagement of stakeholders and partners from different sectors (public and non-public), if applicable;
6. Originality (how creative and unique the innovation is);
7. Sustainability (of the good practices, benefits and positive impacts of the innovation), scalability (the capacity to expand in coverage and grow in impact without much extra resources), and replicability (to other educational institutions, stakeholder groups, and even possibly other countries and regions).
Application Procedure and Required Materials
Applications for Wenhui Award can be submitted in the following two alternative channels:
Channel A. Direct Application
Applicants directly submit the required materials (listed below) to the Wenhui Award Secretariat at the email address Wenhui.Award(at)unesco.org by 27 January 2023, 23:59 Bangkok time (UTC+7).
Channel B. Nominator-Initiated Application
The National Commissions for UNESCO or UNESCO Field Offices in the Asia-Pacific Member States identify potentially qualified applicants and innovations, invite them to submit all the required materials to the nominator by a specific date, and then nominate them to the Wenhui Award Secretariat. Nominators shall send all the required materials (listed below) and the nomination letter (signed and stamped) by email to the Wenhui Award Secretariat by 24 February 2023, 23:59 Bangkok time (UTC+7).
Information on National Commissions for UNESCO: https://en.unesco.org/countries/national-commissions.
Information on UNESCO Field Offices: https://en.unesco.org/countries/field-offices.
*Only UNESCO National Commissions and Field Offices can be nominators for the Wenhui Award, and applicants from Channel A need to indicate their preferred nominator in the application form.
*Such nominations should be initiated by UNESCO National Commissions or Field Offices in the Asia-Pacific region. Applicants do not need to contact the potential nominators.
1. A fully completed application form (https://bit.ly/Wenhui22AFA) or nomination form (https://bit.ly/Wenhui22NFB);
2. Detailed introduction of the innovation, using the given template (https://bit.ly/Wenhui22TDS);
3. Supporting materials, including at least one of the following:
a) brochure of the innovation (no more than 12 pages, in PDF format);
b) link to photos (no more than 5, in JPG or PDF format) or a video (within 5 minutes) about the innovation;
c) link to the website of the innovation;
d) link(s) to the social media platform(s) of the innovation;
e) media coverage on the innovation (either the web link or PDF version).
*The above list is for both direct applications and nominator-initiated applications; for nominator-initiated applications, the nominators need to collect all the required materials from the nominees and then submit them to the Wenhui Award Secretariat.
*All the links should be put on the application/nomination form, while the PDF documents need to be sent by email to the Wenhui Award Secretariat together with all the other application/nomination documents.
Step 1: Pre-Screening
The Wenhui Award Secretariat will pre-screen all applications received by the deadline based on the eligibility and assessment criteria.
Step 2: Selection by Nominators
*This step is only for applications directly submitted to the Wenhui Award Secretariat (Channel A), and applicants do not need to initiate contact with any potential nominator.
The Wenhui Award Secretariat will send the applications that have passed prescreening to the nominators chosen by the applicants themselves, either UNESCO National Commissions or Field Offices. The nominators will review and decide whether to nominate the applicants for further selection.
The nominators shall directly send the nomination letters by email to the Wenhui Award Secretariat. The letter should comment on the applicant’s eligibility for the Award and provide additional information if deemed necessary by the nominator.
Step 3: Shortlisting
Upon receiving the nomination letters for direct applications (Channel A), the Wenhui Award Secretariat will further review and shortlist based on the eligibility and assessment criteria. For those nominations initiated directly by UNESCO National Commissions and Field Offices (Channel B), the Secretariat will also conduct prescreening and shortlisting based on the same criteria.
Step 4: Final Assessment
The final assessment of shortlisted applications is conducted by a Jury consisting of multiple members who are from different countries and organizations in the Asia-Pacific region and have extensive expertise and experience in education.
Step 5: Result Announcement
The winners of the Award and the recipients of the Honourable Mentions will be notified by email shortly after the Jury has made its final decisions, and upon written confirmation of acceptance, the results will be officially announced online in due course. The winners will be invited to the Award Ceremony to be held virtually or in person in China.
Inquiries & Contact
For inquiries about Wenhui Award application, nomination, and selection process, please check the above information and Frequently Asked Questions at https://bit.ly/Wenhui22FAQ. If you have any further inquiries, please contact the Wenhui Award Secretariat at Wenhui.Award(at)unesco.org.
Flow Chart for Wenhui Award Application and Selection
• Concept Note
• Application Form (Channel A – Direct Submission to the Wenhui Award Secretariat)
• Nomination Form (Channel B – For Nominators Only)
• Template for the Detailed Summary of the Innovation
• Frequently Asked Questions