Frequently asked questions

Khalifa International Award for Early Learning Field for Research and Special Field Initiatives

1. WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE KHALIFA INTERNATIONAL AWARD FOR EARLY LEARNING FIELD?

Almost every country in the world now realizes the importance of early learning and its vital role in ensuring children’s optimal growth and later schooling and lifelong success. The Khalifa International Award for Early Learning originates from the principled directives of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Court, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Khalifa Award for Education. The directives called for establishing an international award for early learning that would enrich the culture of excellence and innovation in education and promote research and development in this field.

The award is intended to discover and recognize research, programs, methodologies, and advanced teaching practices, acknowledge distinguished teachers, and activate the role of educational centers, institutions, and companies specialized in the field of early childhood education. In addition, this new award aims to raise awareness and focus attention on serving young children with disabilities in early childhood education. It will promote the publication of distinguished studies, successful practices, and methodologies to improve early learning policy and practice.

2. WHAT ARE THE CATEGORIES OF THE FIELD?

Currently, applications will be accepted in only two categories. The first category encompasses the best initiatives in early learning care and education and their impact on the children and communities served. The second category is best-specialized research and distinguished studies that support scientific enrichment and development of the education and care of young children.

3. IS THIS FIELD RESTRICTED TO LOCAL INITIATIVES ONLY?

No, these awards are to recognize initiatives and research internationally and domestically.

4. WHAT AGE LEVEL IS CONSIDERED "EARLY LEARNING?"

We adopt the standard definition of early childhood from birth to eight years of age. Programs and research applicable to children anywhere in the age range are eligible to apply.

5. WHAT WILL KHALIFA AWARD WINNERS RECEIVE?

The Khalifa Award offers a cash prize of US$50,000 to each winner. The Award winners also receive a certificate of appreciation and the Award emblem shield.

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6. WHAT IS THE NUMBER OF AWARD WINNERS EACH YEAR?

The Awarding Committee will select two winners for each award. Award winners can be individuals, teams, or organizations. If the winner is a team, the monetary prize will be shared equally among the team members.

7. WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO APPLY FOR THE KHALIFA INTERNATIONAL AWARD FOR EARLY LEARNING FIELD?

Applicants may be individuals, teams, or organizations from any country. A nominated candidate for the Khalifa International Award for Early Learning shall not apply for a similar Award in or outside the UAE in the same field in the same year. Applicants shall not have received another award in the same field with a similar moral and material value within two (2) years, including the year of nomination.

8. WHO SELECTS THE WINNERS OF THE KHALIFA INTERNATIONAL AWARD FOR EARLY LEARNING?

The Awarding Committee is Chaired by Dr. Steven Barnett, founding Co-Director of the National Institute for Early Education and Board of Governors Professor of Education at Rutgers University, who is joined on the Committee by Mrs. Fatma Ahmad Abdulla Al Bastaki, Project Manager – Chinese Expansion Project in UAE, Cluster Manager – Ministry of Education; Dr. Jana Fleming, Director, Early Childhood Development, Salama Bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation; Dr. Iram Siraj, OBE, Professor of Child Development and Education, University of Oxford; and Dr. Nirmala Rao, Serena H C Yang Professor in Early Childhood Development and Education, Chair Professor of Child Development and Education, and Director of the Consortium for Research on Early Childhood Development and Education (CORE), Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong (HKU). The list of those chosen for the award is given to the Board of Trustees for approval and endorsement.

9. HOW CAN I APPLY FOR THE KHALIFA INTERNATIONAL EARLY LEARNING FIELD?

All applications must be submitted through the online systems at the website, following the instructions provided there.

10. WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR A VALID APPLICATION?

For an application to be valid, it must be submitted through the online application system at https://www.el.khaward.ae before the application deadline. Additionally,

  • Applicants shall comply with the general instructions, provide all documentation required for the electronic applications, and agree to all conditions after reviewing the relevant information on the Award website.
  • The submission shall be in the English language.
  • If the candidate is an institution or team, the team leader must be authorized to receive the award at the official ceremony.
  • In the field of educational research, the research material must not have been prepared as part of acquiring a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Ph.D. degree or equivalent.
11. ARE HARD COPY APPLICATIONS ( NON-ONLINE FORMATS ) PERMITTED?

No, Only applications submitted through the online application system are accepted.

12. WHAT IS THE GOAL, AND WHAT DO I NEED TO INCLUDE IN MY APPLICATION FOR THE BEST PROGRAMS, CURRICULA, TEACHING METHODOLOGIES, AND PRACTICES CATEGORY?

We seek to identify initiatives that aim to improve early learning in homes, informal care, or formal care and education with demonstrated improvements in quality and/or the learning and development of the young children served. In addition to describing the program, applicants should address all four criteria for judging and awarding the prize. The program or practices should be innovative, creative, and original with the potential to transform or substantively alter early learning experiences from typical practice. The application should make it clear why the program or practice is important. Applicants should present evidence from one or more rigorous evaluations of impacts on one or more of the following: practice, providers of care and education, and the learning, development, or well-being of the children and families served. A rigorous evaluation will have adequate sample size and statistical power, reliable and valid measures, and a design that allows for causal interpretation (simple pre-post studies are unlikely to qualify). As the award is international, we are interested in the potential for programs, curricula, and practices to be widely used but we also recognize that initiatives may have application only to specific populations or contexts. The application should address the potential for scale-up and impacts beyond an initial site or location to similar contexts and similar populations elsewhere. Applicants must provide a complete description of the initiative including information on the inputs and cost in making a case that the program or practices are feasible and sustainable. Program information should be available in sufficient detail to inform others who wish to learn from and replicate the initiative; however, applications can provide such detail by linking to one or more longer documents that expand on the description in the application.

13. WHAT IS THE GOAL? WHAT DO I NEED TO INCLUDE IN MY APPLICATION? FOR THE BEST RESEARCH AND STUDIES CATEGORY?

We seek to identify research on early childhood education and care that supports improvements in practice and policy. In addition to describing the research, its design, methods, and findings, applications should address all four criteria for judging and awarding the prize. The research should be innovative and creative, with the potential to inspire or inform new insights into learning and teaching, and enrich the evidence base for policy and practice in ways that can lead to meaningful improvements in early learning. The application should indicate why the research is important, for example, because it addresses critical issues or populations that have been understudied or socially marginalized or excluded. Research using any systematic methodology is eligible. The application should explain why the methods are appropriate and provide sufficient information for replication (in some cases this may be through reference to a publication). At least one publication from the research or study should have been published. Publications can be in the form of an article in a peer-reviewed journal, a chapter in an academic book, or a technical report to an NGO or government agency. The research must be original, and not adapted from student work including a thesis paper, dissertation, or other requirements for an academic degree. Finally, the application should discuss the potential or documented impacts of the research on practice and/or policy and the specific populations and contexts to which it is relevant.

14. IS THERE AN AGE LIMIT FOR THE AWARD?

There is no age limit for applicants. Research and programs must focus on children whose ages fall into early childhood, defined as birth through age eight.

15. IS THERE A LIMIT ON THE NUMBER OF APPLICATIONS THAT EACH PERSON OR ORGANIZATION CAN SUBMIT?

Yes, Each person or organization can submit only one application for an award in a given year.

16. WHEN IS THE APPLICATION DEADLINE?

The last day to receive the applications is 28th of February 2023

17. WHAT ARE THE JUDGING CRITERIA FOR BEST RESEARCH AWARD?

Applications for the Best Research and Studies Prize be judged on four criteria: innovativeness, importance, methodological rigor, and impact. Each of the criteria will be assigned equal value in judging the applications. To assist in preparing applications, we provide four main questions (with sub-questions under each) that should be addressed in each application. Research should have been published in some form already (for example a government or nongovernmental organization report, a book or book chapter, or a journal article) but such publications should be the basis for an application not the application itself. Each application should include an abstract of no more than 300 words that includes a brief description of the research and addresses all four criteria. Applications should be no more than 10 pages excluding the abstract, references, and an optional appendix of up to 3 pages that may include links to publications and other materials on-line.

  1. How innovative and original is the research?
  • Does the research support the development of new policies or practices?
  • Does the research provide new insights into early learning and early childhood education or alter how these are understood?
  1. How important is the research?
  • Does the research address one or more critical issues for early learning policy or practice?
  • Does the research include populations or contexts of particular importance, for example, children who are highly disadvantaged or children or contexts that are understudied, excluded, or underserved?
  1. Does the research employ appropriate, clearly defined, and ethical methods?
  • Are the research methods clearly described, explained, and replicable?
  • Has the research been reported in a publication?
  • Do the methods provide a strong basis for trust and confidence in the findings and conclusions?
  • Does the methodology offer a model to inspire and/or be followed by future studies?
  1. What are the potential and/or demonstrated impacts?
  • What are the implications of the research for practice? These may be for caregivers, teachers, parents, or others who influence young children’s learning and development.
  • Does the research have potential or documented influence on policy or practice?
  • Are findings and insights from the research applicable to similar populations and contexts elsewhere?
18. WHAT ARE THE JUDGING CRITERIA FOR BEST PROGRAMS, CURRICULA, THEACHING METHADOLOGIES AND PRACTICES

Applications for the Best Programs, Curricula, and Teaching Practices Prize will be judged on four criteria: innovativeness, importance, impact, and feasibility/sustainability. Each of the criteria will be assigned equal value in judging the applications. To assist in preparing applications, we provide four main questions (with sub-questions under each) that should be addressed in each application. Each application should include an abstract of no more than 300 words briefly describing the program and addressing each of the four criteria. All programs submitted for consideration should have been subject to an evaluation of implementation or outcomes that provides evidence of program implementation and potential or documented impacts on practice in early learning and on early learning outcomes. Applications should be no more than 10 pages excluding the abstract, references, and an optional appendix of up to 3 pages that may include links to videos, publications, and other materials on-line.

  1. How innovative, creative, and groundbreaking is the program?
  • Does the program inspire or offer a model for new, creative approaches to early learning activities in early learning settings (which may include the home, formal and informal childcare, centers, or schools)?
  • Could this approach cultivate skills, knowledge, and self-awareness that will shape society for the better?
  1.   How important is the program?
  • Does the program address one or more critical issues or problems that families, communities, and broader societies encounter in supporting early learning?
  • What are the program’s goals for expanding access, improving the quality of early learning experiences, or producing better outcomes for young children’s learning?
  • How extensive are the intended changes in practice or outcomes of the program from what is typical? 
  1.    What are the impacts of the program?
  • What impacts have been documented by an evaluation (quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods) on access, quality of practice, and/or learning outcomes?
  • To what extent have persistent and sustained changes in practice and outcomes been demonstrated with rigorous evaluation methods?
  • How substantive or transformative is the new program for practice, for those who conduct the program (e.g., parents, care givers, teachers), and for the young children who experience the program?
  1. How feasible and sustainable is the program?
  • To what extent has the program or practice been scaled so far?
  • What is the potential for it to be further scaled-up or adapted to similar populations and contexts elsewhere?
  • How well is the program documented and is sufficient information provided to support replication?
  • How much does the program cost, and what resources are required to implement the program?
19. CAN I RE-SUBMIT AN UNSUCCESSFUL APPLICATION IN A SUBSEQUENT YEAR?

Yes, Applicants are welcome to submit again in the following years.

20. WILL YOU PUBLISH ANY INFORMATION ON APPLICANTS WHO ARE NOT SELECTED FOR AN AWARD?

No, applicants’ information is kept strictly confidential. The Khalifa Foundation, including staff members, the Board of Trustees, and the Awarding Committee, will not disclose such information.

21. WHEN WILL THE AWARD WINNERS BE ANNOUNCED?

The winners will be announced in May 2023

22. ARE THERE ANY OTHER EVENTS OR ACTIVITIES APART FROM THE AWARDS PRESENTATION CEREMONY?

Following the award presentation ceremony, Khalifa Award for Education will host a global forum inviting experts and professionals to share their most relevant research and practices for early childhood education.

23. HOW WILL THE AWARD BE DISTRIBUTED AMONG INSTITUTION(S) AND GROUPS?

If the application was submitted by an Institution or a group of researchers, an elected institute representative or a group leader must apply on behalf of the group. The application sites allow for a listing of the members’ names participating in the submitted work. If the group wins the award, the monetary prize will be handed to the group leader i that it will be on the condition of distributing its value equally to all group members.

24. IF I HAVE ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS REGARDING THE AWARD, TO WHOM SHOULD THEY BE ADDRESSED?

Any questions regarding the award, including the categories, conditions, and application instructions, should be directed to el.info@khaward.ae  For technical inquiries or issues regarding the online application system, please contact el.support@khaward.ae