Hackathon: 48 hours to build digital solutions for educational planning

18 December 2020

An automatized tool to improve teacher deployment and address disparities between urban and rural recruitment. A dashboard that would link learning outcomes and factors that influence student performance to help put learning assessment data to use.  An algorithm to identify ghost teachers who are still on payroll without attending classes to free up much-needed financial resources. These are some of the ideas set to come to life in January 2021 during the first-ever IIEP-UNESCO hackathon – Hacking EdPlanning

Why a hackathon? 

Everything digital has penetrated teaching and learning – but it has yet to fully integrate into the field of educational planning and management. However, IIEP experts are harnessing the power of computer science, geospatial and big data, and other types of technology to offer new solutions in the way ministries of education cater to the specific needs of the communities they serve. That’s why IIEP has teamed up with Latitudes, a tech for good network organization, to host Hacking EdPlanning. 


What is a hackathon?

A hackathon is a live event in which software engineers, data scientists, UI/UX designers, project managers, and others collaborate intensively to provide innovative solutions to pre-identified challenges. It is a voluntary activity that usually takes place over a weekend.

From 29-31 January 2021, this virtual hackathon will bring together developers and educational planners to create digital projects that could redefine educational planning practices. These innovative ideas – based on countries’ realities – would also offer new ways to support governments with meeting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal for education (SDG 4). 

“There is tremendous potential to deliver on the promise of quality education for all by 2030. This will take imagination, innovation, collaboration, and more. Hacking EdPlanning strives to advance this global agenda and engage with educational planners to take advantage of the available technologies.”

Paul Coustère, Deputy Director, IIEP-UNESCO

The hackathon will close with an exciting opportunity – open to all - to see an online presentation of all of the digital tools created during the weekend. 

When: Sunday, 31 January 2021, 4pm UTC (Click here to see your time zone)

Where: Online 

Register here to receive all the details!


What are the Hacking EdPlanning challenges?

1. Improving the deployment of teachers 

A tool for the allocation of teachers to increase schooling and reduce disparities related to inter- and intra-regional divides, to ensure that every child has the same learning opportunities across a country.

Test zone: Global focus

2. Enhancing learning 

A data visualization tool cross-referencing learning outcomes and factors that influence student performance to identify links, and contribute to ensuring that learning assessment data are integrated into the decision-making process and used in the most efficient way. 

Test zone: Africa and Latin America

3. Applying inspection data 

A spatial heat map – using text data – of topics flagged by school inspection reports to identify patterns to improve the quality of education.

Test zone: Europe

4. Identifying ghost teachers

A tool to reduce the share of ghost teachers and save up to 20% (for some countries) of the education budget for other expenditure items. This work could lead to improved interoperability of certain databases for a better analysis of data.

Test zone: Africa

5. Making information more accessible

A simple and accessible prototype of a mobile application for better knowledge sharing on educational planning even in regions with low levels of connectivity.

Test zone: Global

6. Create new school-age population data at the micro-level 

An interface to generate new population data estimates at the micro level so that it correlates to actual school age groups – when official data is unavailable – to enable educational planners to plan appropriately at the local level. 

Test zone: Arab States  

Are you a developer ready to take on these projects? 

We are seeking already established teams of developers who are interested in taking on these challenges to create digital prototypes. Potential profiles include software engineers, data scientists, UI/UX designers, and project managers. If you are interested, please reach out to us at development@iiep.unesco.org.