The five World’s Best School Prizes, created this year by T4 Education in partnership with Templeton World Charity Foundation, Accenture and American Express, are the most prestigious education awards in the world and are valued at US$250,000
The Shelter Wakadogo project in Uganda, which was established after the war and now educates over 450 children with one of the highest student retention rates in the country, was today named the winner of the world’s best school for overcoming adversity first prize. The five World’s Best School Prizes, created this year by T4 Education in partnership with Templeton World Charity Foundation, Accenture and American Express, are the most prestigious education awards in the world and see award-winning schools worth US$250,000.
The top five school awards in the world – for community collaboration, environmental action, innovation, overcoming adversity and supporting healthy living – recognize schools everywhere for the central role they play in developing the next generation of learners and for their tremendous contribution to society Progress, especially in the wake of COVID.
The Shelter Wakadogo project was selected as the winner of the World’s Best School Prize for Overcoming Adversity from among the top three finalists for the award, which also included Pinelands North Primary School in South Africa and Escola Evandro Ferreira Dos Santos in Brazil.
The awards were created by T4 Education in partnership with Templeton World Charity Foundation, Accenture, American Express, Yayasan Hasanah and the Lemann Foundation to share best practices from schools that are making a difference in the lives of their students and making a real difference effect their communities.
Vikas Pota, Founder of T4 Education and the World’s Best School Prizes said: “Congratulations to Project Shelter Wakadogo on winning the World’s Best School Prize for Overcoming Adversity. It is time that world leaders took notice and that institutions like this outstanding Ugandan school listened.
“Far too many children will continue to be left behind in the wake of COVID unless governments take urgent action to address the education crisis. As a first step, they must turn to the knowledge and experience of our schools, because those on the front lines of education know better than anyone what changes we need to see.
“We created the World’s Best School Prizes to highlight the expertise of groundbreaking schools from every corner of the world so leaders can learn from their incredible stories.”
About the school:
The Shelter Wakadogo project in Gulu, Uganda has grown from a two-classroom school established after the war to one that now educates over 450 children with one of the highest student retention rates in the country.
After two decades of civil war and the violence of the Lord’s Resistance Army, which displaced over a million people in northern Uganda, families in the village of Pece Acoyo in Gulu have been slowly returning to their homes. Under the rubble left by the war, the call for a safe, quality school began to grow. Through a great community effort, the Shelter Wakadogo project was born—land was procured, roads leading to the school were graded, and vegetables were planted for school meals. The school opened in 2009. The name Wakadogo reflects the school’s mission to extend a duty of care to those who walk through its doors, which means “to the little ones” in Swahili.
Her commitment to providing free school meals, health care and a quality education for the surrounding community has resulted in the school becoming a second home for many.
As Uganda imposed a long lockdown during the pandemic, Project Shelter Wakadogo quickly realized that online classes would not be possible for its students. In Uganda, only 2% of the population has access to personal computers and less than 9% of the rural population has access to the Internet. Instead, Project Shelter Wakadogo conducted 36,000 homeschooling hours during the pandemic. This commitment to continue providing education to its students was vital as school closures across Uganda resulted in children being forced into the labor market, increasing rates of teenage pregnancy and gender-based violence.
Project Shelter Wakadogo will use the award funds to offer more scholarships to marginalized and underprivileged children in the community. It will also use the funds to set up an online learning platform to facilitate hybrid and catch-up learning should schools ever close again, sharing its approach and technology with schools in the region where possible. It will also use the funds to continue providing morning porridge and midday meals to its students, as most in the wider community live on one meal a day.
The five prizes:
The winners of the five Best Schools in the World awards were selected by an assessment academy composed of respected leaders from around the world, including academics, educators, non-governmental organizations, social entrepreneurs, governments, civil society and the private sector, based on a series of rigorous Criteria . The judges were informed by a public advisory vote in which nearly 50,000 people from around the world voted for their favorite schools.
At the same time, Dunoon Grammar School in the UK won the World’s Best School Prize for Community Collaboration. Escuela Emilia Lascar in Chile won the Best School in the World award for innovation. Bonuan Buquig National High School in the Philippines won the World’s Best School Prize for Environmental Action. And Curie Metropolitan High School in the US won the World’s Best School Prize for Supporting Healthy Lives.
A prize of US$250,000 will be split equally among the winners of the five prizes, with each receiving a prize of US$50,000.
All shortlisted schools from the five awards will share their best practices through School Transformation Toolkits, showcasing their “secret sauce” for innovative approaches and step-by-step guides on how others can replicate their methods to transform education everywhere to improve. These will be available in the new T4 Communities app launched at World Education Week.