UNESCO Wenhui Award for Educational Innovation: XL Future Leaders Shortlisted

Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Chris Henderson

UNESCO's Wenhui Award aims to recognize the contributions of educators and institutions which have optimized the potential of education and the human innovative spirit to address and resolve pressing issues and problems facing our world today.

In 2015 the award's thematic focus was "Innovations for Skills Development for the Future". As such UNESCO sought innovative approaches that have helped to develop the different types of skills needed for the 21st century, demonstrated effective re-skilling and adjustment to skills mismatch, and contributed to productive and sustainable development.

XL Future Leaders, Cognition's flagship project in Indonesia, submitted an application representing the outcomes XL and Cognition have achieved with nearly 400 young community leaders and entrepreneurs across the country. Although XL Future Leaders did not win, being shortlisted as an example of global excellence in educational innovation is nevertheless rewarding. The XL Future Leaders application was based around three key factors: project pedagogy, project technology, and project partnerships.

Project Pedagogy: XL Future Leaders is designed to suit the immediate and long term needs of young Indonesians and the rapidly evolving Indonesian economy. As such, the project’s pedagogy is based on a blended e-learning inquiry approach. Students attend a number of dynamic workshops each year, and then participate in seamless learning opportunities online. These experiences are facilitated by a team of skilled and dedicated Indonesian facilitators who have become both advocates and leaders in learner centred education. Workshops are focused on real world opportunities and competency development in the areas of entrepreneurship, change management, and communication.

Project Technology: From the outset this project has integrated leading educational technology into both face-2-face and online learning modes. Project facilitators have established inclusive online spaces through which students from over 25 cities across Indonesia collaborate in online and community based projects. This project was one of the first in Indonesia to fully appropriate Google Apps for Education as a learning and development platform.

Partnerships: A standout feature of the XL Future Leaders project has been the extent to which students and project facilitators alike have been encouraged to enhance their reach and impact through partnerships. These partnerships have been community partnerships, corporate partnerships (Google and Acer), and partnerships with international NGOs (such as UNICEF). Using a collective impact model, the partnerships have served two purposes: Firstly, students have been able to extend the ways in which they are able to apply new learning in entrepreneurship or change management across new and unfamiliar contexts. This has developed their leadership capabilities significantly. Secondly, these partnerships – and particularly those with NGOs and the corporate sector – have introduced new perspectives and expertise to the program.

Cognition wishes to congratulate the winners and other shortlisted projects. The joint 2015 winners of the UNESCO Wenhui Award for Educational Innovation were The Afghanistan National Institute of Music, Afghanistan, and the Innovations in 3D Applied Technologies for Skills Development project from the Institute of Technical Education / Central College, Singapore. Full results and descriptions of the winning projects can be read here