Khalifa Award of Education

UK early years professionals are being encouraged to submit entries for the new Khalifa International Award for Early Learning (KIAEL), funded by the United Arab Emirates.

The new Khalifa International Award for Early Learning (KIAEL), funded by the United Arab Emirates, is seeking submissions from UK academics, projects, schools, and nurseries displaying brilliance and innovation in the early education sector.

Two winners in each of the categories – “Best Research & Studies” and “Best Programmes & Teaching Practices” – will receive $50,000 (£40,935). The recipients will be announced in June 2023.

The KIAEL Awarding Committee, which features Professor Iram Siraj, professor of child development and education, University of Oxford, is looking for high-quality, evidence-based research and impactful programmes, methodologies, and advanced teaching practices. Early education is defined as anything aimed at children aged eight and under. Initiatives for children with disabilities are particularly welcome.

Improving the standard of early education worldwide

The prize, founded by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE deputy prime minister, aims to improve the standard of early childhood education around the world. It is open to entrants from any country, including developing nations.

The award will promote the publication of distinguished studies, successful practices, and methodologies to improve early learning policy and practice in this area.

There have already been more than 40 prize registrations from the UK – the third highest number of submissions already – but the organisers are still accepting submissions through January and February.

‘Our mission is to identify and reward research on early-childhood education’

Professor Iram Siraj said: ‘Our mission is to identify and reward research on early-childhood education, care that supports improvements in practice, and exemplary programmes or teaching practices demonstrated to improve quality and/or the learning and development of young children.’

Professor Siraj is one of five internationally renowned early learning experts who make up the KIAEL Awarding Committee. The committee also includes: Dr Steven Barnett, founding co-director of the National Institute for Early Education and board of governors professor of education at Rutgers University in the US; Dr Nirmala Rao, a chair professor at the Faculty of Education at the University of Hong Kong and a Serena H C Yang professor in early childhood development and education; Fatma Ahmad Abdulla Al Bastaki, cluster manager, Emirates Schools Establishment, Ministry of Education, UAE, and Dr Jana Fleming, director, early childhood development, Salama Bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation, Abu Dhabi.

Judging will place an emphasis on rigorous evaluation and impact to recognise initiatives and research in early childhood that can be globally inspirational due to measurable positive results.

‘All programmes submitted for consideration should have been subject to an evaluation of implementation or outcomes that provide strong evidence of current or potential impact,’ said Professor Siraj.

The deadline for entries is the 28 February 2023. Applications need to be submitted online at Winners will be announced in June 2023.

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