Teachers, educators, and research organisations in India deserve recognition for their innovative solutions to rebuild education systems during the pandemic, according to an American educator who made college education accessible to low-income, first-generation Americans, immigrants and refugees.

After being selected from over 8,000 teachers in 121 countries, Keishia Thorpe, an English teacher at International High School Langley Park in Maryland, US, won the USD 1 million Global Teacher Prize in November, 2021. Thorpe has called on India’s ‘trailblazing’ entrepreneurs, nonprofits and research organisations to apply for the 2022 Klaus J. Jacobs Best Practice Prizes – so that educators around the world learn about the innovative solutions they have developed to help transform education practices for the better as the sector recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Klaus J. Jacobs Best Practice Prizes honor achievement and practice that advance quality education every other year. The deadline for this year’s submissions is February 10. India is home to talented changemakers. In the education community, they have the creativity to come up with scalable and innovative solutions that could help rebuild education worldwide,” Thorpe said.

Klaus J. Jacobs Awards have a track record of recognising exceptional work in India.

A 2016 Award saw Professor Orazio P. Attanasio, Head of the Department of Economics at University College London and Research Director at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, receive 1 million Swiss Francs for his early child development programmes and policies in low-income countries.

With the prize money, Attanasio implemented an intervention in rural India to provide children with better quality childcare in different settings.

In 2021, a Promising Innovation Prize went to work on equitable classrooms by Project Rangeet from Mumbai, India. The aim of the awards is to find the next generation of collaborative projects that advance education across four core areas, a press release said.

“First, the Jacobs Foundation seeks to identify ground-breaking projects that generate robust research evidence, which can then feed into child learning and development policy and practice. “Second, it is looking for applicants that foster partnerships between researchers, governments, companies and schools. A third area focuses on developing entrepreneurial solutions to strengthen education policy-making. Finally, contenders can present innovative catalytic investment solutions that draw on a wide range of financial mechanisms to make the most of their resources and amplify their impact,” it added.

The awards are also open to non-profits, public and private research institutions, businesses and entrepreneurs who are bringing forth innovative solutions to some of education’s biggest challenges. Established in memory of its founder, entrepreneur Klaus J. Jacobs, who passed away in 2008, the Jacobs Foundation presents two awards – for outstanding achievements in research and for practice in the field of child and youth development.

The Best Practice Prizes alternate with the Klaus J. Jacobs Research Prize, which recognises pioneering, socially relevant research into youth development, according to the release.

“By showcasing examples of best practice on the ground, we can help to shift policy and ensure that all children have access to quality education. As education systems adapt to a new and unfamiliar terrain, there is not a moment to lose. We must bring to light the evidence of what works and use it to implement solutions that can be tailored to learners’ diverse individual needs – both here in India and globally,” Fabio Segura and Simon Sommer, CO-CEOs of the Jacobs Foundation said.