Galway-based free online learning provider ALISON.com was among the four winners of the 2010 UNESCO-King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize, one of the world’s most prestigious prizes for innovation in ICT for Education.
Mike Feerick, CEO & Founder of ALISON was presented with the “Honourable Mention” Diploma Award by the Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, and representatives of the prize sponsor, the King of Bahrain at a ceremony at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France last week.
ALISON provides free online interactive courses for basic education and workplace skills. Launched in April 2007, ALISON now has over half-a-million registered learners in 200 countries worldwide providing over 150 courses at Certificate & Diploma level. Although primarily focused on Digital Literacy and IT Skills, ALISON also provides courses on a wide range of course categories including English language, Health & Safety, Business & Entrepreneurship, Maths, Law, Accounting and Basic Science.
Although most learning is presented in the English language, courses in Arabic and French are also provided. ALISON partner organisations include Microsoft, the British Council and the Irish Health & Safety Authority. ALISON has over 40,000 registered learners in Ireland, primarily studying Health and Safety and ABC-IT, ALISON’s free equivalent to the well-known ECDL Certification.
In the award citation, ALISON is recognised for “providing a new world of free online learning opportunities to improve employment flexibility and skills worldwide”In his acceptance speech, Mike Feerick said “In 1948, the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights declared in Article 26, that “Education shall be free”. Through technical expertise and innovation, ALISON has developed a learning ecology that allows education, training and testing, to be freely accessed online by anyone, anywhere, in a sustainable manner”.
Congratulating ALISON, Mary Coughlan TD, Minister for Education and Skills stated that “the success of ALISON in this prestigious international award showcases the innovation in the education sector in Ireland and its growing impact worldwide”. The Irish government was represented at the Award Ceremony by Mr Paul Murray, Permanent Ambassador from Ireland to UNESCO and OCED.