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Competition tackles challenges to education, society amid COVID-19 crisis

By Bahaa Al Deen Al Nawas - Apr 13,2020 - Last updated at Apr 13,2020

Image courtesy of Impact Leaders competition Facebook page

AMMAN — With the aim of tackling certain challenges that arose due to the COVID-19 crisis and finding solutions, the German Jordanian University (GJU), IBTECAR Consulting and Impact Week Community are organising the Impact Leaders competition, according to organisers. 

The competition is held online and includes training on “design thinking innovation”, focusing on two main areas: Education and society, Jamil Alkhatib, general manager at IBTECAR Consulting and manager of programme innovation and entrepreneurship at GJU, told The Jordan Times on Monday over the phone.

“We conducted a survey that included universities, schools, companies, students, teachers, professors and individuals in order to filter the problems facing education and society and organise them, and we narrowed it down to 12 challenges facing society and  10 facing education that need to be focused on,” Alkhatib said. 

Once the challenges had been categorised, the door was open to apply for the competition; which started on April 5 and ended recently, Alkhatib said, noting that they had received a total of 230 entries, each of which consisted of one to five individuals. 

“There could be around 270 individuals from the 230 applications; however, work must be done in teams, so even if someone submitted their application on their own, they will be paired with others… to discuss their ideas together,” he said, noting that the competition is supervised by trainers from Jordan, Germany, Switzerland and other European countries.

The contestants will analyse the problems they picked, choose the target audience and then begin working on solutions that can be in the form of a profitable business or a social initiative, Alkhatib said, noting that once discussions are completed, they need to have a prototype of the solution to showcase. 

Categories in the education area include alternative learning, tools for teachers and students, online teaching and home life balance for teachers, virtual testing and evaluation methods and awareness of using distant learning software. 

The society categories include combating social isolation, self-help and resilience of communities, digitising public services, low self-reliance and a lack of life skills and helping the elderly, among others, according to organisers. 

The next step after determining the solutions has not been discussed yet, Alkhatib said, noting that they might rely on hubs at universities to adopt the projects contestants come up with.

He added that while discussions and showcasing of ideas and projects is done privately on Slack and Zoom softwares, those who agree to publish their videos of their ideas will have their entries shown on the event’s page:

Partners include  Queen Rania Centre for Entrepreneurship, DAAD, Saxeed.jet project, University of Jordan for Science and Technology, Al Balqa Applied University, Middle East University, Princess Sumaya University, Jubilee Schools and the Tank by Umniah, among many others, according to Alkhatib.


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