The "One College Student Per Village" program, implemented by the Open University of China, has won the 2020 edition of the UNESCO prize for the use of ICT in education, the Paris-based United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced on Tuesday.
Launched in 2004 in response to the shortage of higher education resources and slow economic development in China's rural and remote areas, the program uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to provide learners from rural and remote areas with quality learning opportunities.
The program has not only improved local educational infrastructure and put in place distance learning programs, but also integrated AI and Virtual Reality (VR) techniques, which significantly enhanced learners' experiences and engagement, said UNESCO.
The Chinese program works through a smart learning platform using voice and semantic analysis, automatic feedback, automated essay scoring and big data analysis. As of 2020, more than 800,000 learners nationwide have benefited from the program, it added.
The Center for Learning Analytics at the University of Turku in Finland was the other laureate. The collaborative education platform "ViLLE" developed by the center offers a personalized set of exercises based on students' performance and provides teachers with detailed reports on their students' progress.
Established in 2005, UNESCO's ICT in Education Prize rewards individuals and organizations that are implementing outstanding projects and promoting the creative use of technologies to enhance learning, teaching and overall educational performance in the digital age.
An international Jury selects two best projects annually. The theme of the 2020 edition is the use of AI to enhance the continuity and quality of learning.