Africa’s leading representative, Nigeria, won two awards in eight categories, at the Grand Finale of the ceremony.
The award ceremony was the climax of the week-long annual assembly of the world’s most innovative e-content initiatives in the following categories: e-Government & Open Data, e-Health & Environment, e-Learning & Science, e-Entertainment & Games, e-Business & Commerce, e-Culture & Tourism, e-Media & Journalism and e-Inclusion & Participation.
The august event was inaugurated by His Excellency, Mahinda Rajapaksa, the President of Sri Lanka.
The winning projects, TRANSPARENT NIGERIA (e-Government & Open Data category), pioneered by Harvard based Mr. Uchechi Iweala (son of Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala), and OPON IMO – Tablet of Knowledge (e-Learning & Science category) from the State of Osun, triumphed over 421 other innovations for the 2013 Awards vetted by the grand jury of global eminent experts.
The World Summit Awards (WSA) is a project of the International Centre for New Media, which is organised among 190 UN-member States and runs within the United Nations (UN) framework of the World Summit on the Information Society. The World Summit Awards has been an on-going activity since 2003 in cooperation with UNIDO, UNESCO, ITU, ISOC, UN GAID and UNDP.
HOW NIGERIA WON ITS AWARD:
Osun’s Tablet of Knowledge, OPON IMO received its award based on the following Grand Jury evaluation)
“The State Government of Osun in Nigeria, as part of its strategic mandate to meet the educational needs of students in Osun, commissioned delivery of 150,000 units custom-based Android tablets (a library of easily navigable text books). The tablets are packed in bear rugged leather to protect from harsh conditions of various remote areas of Nigeria and its schools. What makes the project attractive is the archival availability of content in terms of questions for the last ten years for the Senior Secondary students of all 3 levels. Hoping that the students may not be required to look for physical text books, the tablet is enriched with multimedia contents including video, images, text and referential materials and test questions for practice.”
TRANSPARENT NIGERIA received its award based on the following Grand Jury evaluation)
“Due to the rampant and widespread corruption in the country and the frustration of the people, Transparent Nigeria (a movement to hold the government accountable for its actions) was established. Receiving the data from Ministry of Finance and having an audience of 150,000, which is growing per day, the movement has started to bring to public knowledge the discrepancies which were generally unknown before this spotlight. The jury notes and commends this initiative for helping the citizens of Nigeria and hopefully starting a change in the country which will result in a fairer and less corrupt country. The online database of Transparent Nigeria also lets the public know about the spending of the public money by the public servants in Federal and State Governments. In addition to the infrastructure projects that government has promised, cost of these projects, number of jobs, which will be created and even the public servants compensations are also monitored.”
The grandeur of the closing ceremony obviously sets the tone for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) coming up at the same venue, same city, in the next two weeks in Sri Lanka. Professor Peter Bruck, Chairman of WSA and, the Secretary to the Government of Sri Lanka, Mr. Lalith Weeratunga drew the curtains on this Year’s event. The next event comes up in 2015.
A statement by the Director, Bureau of Communications and Strategy, Office of the Governor, Osogbo, quoted Governor Aregbesola as saying that the Opon Imo is an intelligent solution towards producing smart public school students in the state.
He said: “In the State of Osun in Nigeria, where I am governor, we have taken a giant stride in preparing ourselves for that future.
“This e-learning ‘table of knowledge’ is a practical and radical solution to a very daunting and nagging problem. It is our smart ICT solution to produce smart public school students in the State.
“Like we have made clear, the vision behind Opón-Ìmò is: ‘to democratise access to learning; to complement our overall education reform; to help senior secondary school student better prepare for School Leaving Examinations; and to use technology as a silver bullet to the learning problem in Osun’.”
The governor said the introduction of Opón-Ìmò has not only positively redirected the education but also laid a solid foundation for our children’s ICT future.
According to him, Opón-Ìmò solves the state’s learning problem through ICT asa it equally takes into consideration the local and environmental factors of the state.
He noted that the tablet has provided a level playing field for all students from different social and economic backgrounds to learn under a comfortable atmosphere, saying opon imo has saved for the state huge chunk of cash.
Aregbesola continued: “With Opón-Ìmò, we have not only introduced a game-changer into the landscape of learning in public schools, we have also laid a solid foundation for our children’s ICT future.
“Already, the introduction of this device has saved the State Government a stupendous N8billion that would have gone into the purchase of text books for our free education policy.
“This veritable tablet of knowledge will level the learning playing field for all students from different social and economic backgrounds. It would allow them to learn at their own pace, and in any place they choose. Opón-Ìmò also offers robust and uniform learning content for all students, and provides a feedback mechanism for monitoring their performance.
“While Opón-Ìmò tackles our peculiar learning problem through the instrumentality of ICT, it likewise takes cognisance of our local and environmental factors. For instance, the tablet comes with water and fire proof pouch.
“The Charging adaptor also comes with a fuse to protect the device from the very routine power surges that are the bane of electrical and electronic devices in our country. Its light weight makes for easy mobility that also enhances the ease of getting it charged.”