The “Apps for Good” Portuguese technology education programme, in which secondary school students create applications to solve society’s problems, announced those responsible for the initiative on Tuesday.
In a statement, the NGO CDI Portugal, which launched the programme, explains that in this way, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) has internationally recognised “Apps for Good’s innovative approach to improving teacher performance and effectiveness for quality education for all. The award ceremony, which Portugal won for the first time, took place on Monday – World Teacher’s Day – in Paris, with UNESCO honouring Apps for Good Portugal for being “a programme that drives all the principles for technological and inclusive education that are upheld by all organisations that want a better education model for the future”.
Created in 2008 and awarded every two years, the UNESCO Hamdan Prize aims to support the improvement of the quality of teaching and learning around the world, giving priority to developing countries and marginalised and disadvantaged communities.
The Prize is supported by the Sheikh of the United Arab Emirates and awarded by an international jury of five professionals chosen for their level of knowledge and experience in teacher-related issues.
Apps for Good Portugal is recognised by UNESCO “for its innovative approach to teachers, innovative training and teaching materials, and thus for being able to promote the progress of their pupils’ learning,” says CDI.
The educational programme, which has the support of the Ministry of Education, has already reached 1,133 Portuguese teachers and continues to grow a new generation of “social and technological entrepreneurs”, thus reducing “the digital divide between teachers and students”.
“We are very happy and proud to receive this award from an institution like UNESCO. It is the international recognition not only of our work, but above all of the work, resilience and intelligence of Portuguese teachers and students, especially at this extremely complicated time. This award is also for them”, says João Baracho, executive director of CDI Portugal, quoted in the statement.
Apps for Good is a programme that aims to seduce young people (aged between 10 and 18) and teachers to use technology as a way of solving their problems, proposing a new educational model that is more intuitive, collaborative and practical.
The aim of the programme is to develop applications (apps) for smartphones and tablets that can contribute to the resolution of problems related to sustainability.
“Although it is already internationally recognised as a leading programme in the digital inclusion of students and teachers and in contributing to the evolution of the current educational model, the reality provoked by the pandemic has further highlighted its importance in contributing to equal access to education and knowledge in general,” stresses the organisation.
The programme runs throughout the school year, during which teachers (from all subject areas) and students have access to online content. To support the development of the project, participants have access to a network of online experts to provide all the support they need.
The non-governmental organization CDI (Center of Digital Inclusion) was born in Brazil 25 years ago and is one of the most recognized NGOs in the world. In Portugal, it is responsible for Apps for Good, the Center for Digital Citizenship and Switch to Innovation.