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‘Museum School’ and Community Learning Centre Network win Wenhui Awards for Educational Innovation

Indian initiative to use museums to educate disadvantaged urban youth and largest provider of non-formal education in South-East Asia win top honours

Wenhui Award winners and award sponsors. From left: Mr Du Yue, Secretary-General of the Chinese National Commission for UNESCO; Ms. Shibani Ghosh, Founder and Coordinator of Parvarish – The Museum School; Mr. Raj Ridvan Singh, Founder and CEO of SOLS 24/7; and Prof. Zhong Binglin, President of the Chinese Society of Education.

22 NOVEMBER, 2016 – BANGKOK – A programme that brings Indian slum children off the streets and into museums to learn, and one of the region’s top providers of non-formal education have been honoured in this year’s Wenhui Awards for Educational Innovation.

Parvarish – The Museum School, an initiative of the Organization for Awareness of Integrated Social Security (OASiS) in India and the community centres of Science of Life Studies 24/7 (SOLS 24/7) in Malaysia received top honours in this year’s awards, the theme of which was “partnerships for quality inclusive education.”

The awards were presented at a special ceremony in Beijing on 20 November.

“When it comes to helping the most disadvantaged and marginalized among us, it is clear that acting alone is not an option. We must form forge and foster bonds of cooperation among all potential partners – governments, academia, community members and the private sector – toward this common goal,” said Libing Wang, Chief of Section for Educational Innovation and Skills Development in UNESCO Bangkok. “The theme of this year’s Wenhui awards was partnerships for quality inclusive education and the projects recognized this year are testament to how the spirit of collaboration is alive and well in the Asia-Pacific region.”

Parvarish – The Museum School is an initiative of the Organization for Awareness of Integrated Social Security (OASiS). The organization identified how museums were a major untapped learning resource for urban poor and underprivileged children. OASiS built on the idea by contacting teacher training institutions in urban areas, which are often unable to place trainees in schools due to large enrolment numbers. Trainee teachers now gain valuable practical experience facilitating the Museum School programme.

The Science and Life Studies 24/7 (SOLS 24/7) programme in Malaysia, the other main winner in this year’s awards, is the largest non-formal education provider serving poor and rural communities across South-East Asia, with more than 220 training and boarding centres in Cambodia, East Timor, Lao PDR, India, Malaysia and Thailand. Like the Museum School, the programme also leverages under-utilised facilities (such as local community halls) and builds community involvement and ownership early on into each of its projects.

The winning projects received a certificate of their accomplishment and US$20,000.

Along with the two main winners, this year’s Wenhui Awards also awarded Honourable Commendations to four projects.

The Youth Leading the World (YLTW) initiative of the Oz Green Global Rivers Environmental Education Network Australia Inc (OzGreen) was recognized for its efforts to promote entrepreneurial efforts in environmental initiatives. YLTW is a leadership programme in which youth between the ages of 15-25 design projects to improve the environment. Innovative partnerships have been a staple of the YLTW initiative, with partners including local community organisations, business, government, schools and universities as well as environmental and youth organisations.

Another Honourable Commendation was awarded to the Educational Innovations for Quality Inclusive Education programme of the Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM) in Bangladesh. The programme is aimed at addressing the country’s high number of dropouts and out-of-school children by providing them with “community-based multi-dimensional quality education programmes for children include multi-grade classes, remedial and preventive education services for slow learners of targeted government and registered primary schools, early childhood development and pre-primary education programmes.” The programme has benefited some 24 million people in 46 out of Bangladesh’s 64 districts.

The Specialised Schools for Students at Risk of Dropping Out initiative of Singapore’s Institute of Technical Education was also recognized for its programme which seeks to provide an alternative pathway focused on skills training for students. Previously those who did not meet the requirements for secondary school would have to retake the examination until they passed, causing many to drop out of formal schooling altogether.

Plan International in Asia’s Thailand-based Youth Employment Solutions (YES) Digital Ecosystem, also received an Honourable Commendation for its efforts to improve skills development programmes in the region. The YES suite of tools includes a platform for the educational resource needs of employment professionals; a learning management system for education and skills building for youth employment initiatives as well as a monitoring system to monitor beneficiaries’ progress and the project’s impact. The project’s successful rollout is due in large part to the efforts of partners, including Accenture, Save the Children, Asian Development Bank as well as Plan’s national offices and their respective partners.

For further details on this year’s winners and honourable commendations, please visit:

Mr. Libing Wang, Chief of Educational Innovation and Skills Development, UNESCO Asia-Pacific Regional Bureau for Education, at this year’s ceremony.


Award partners, sponsors and winners gather at the close of the Wenhui Awards presentation ceremony.