Open Book Publishers and School Enterprise Challenge named as WISE Award finalists

UK organisations Open Book Publishers and School Enterprise Challenge are two of fifteen projects chosen by WISE for providing a compelling, innovative solution to one of today’s most pressing challenges in education.


The World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) has named Open Book Publishers and School Enterprise Challenge project Teach a Man to Fish as 2014 WISE Awards Finalists. This year’s list of Finalists represent some of the most inspiring and visionary work undertaken by non-governmental and charitable organisations, cultural institutions and in the private sector. Inaugurated in 2009, the WISE Awards identify and promote unique and novel solutions to real-world education challenges.


From milkshake bars in Mauritius, to fish farming in Uganda, to a Fair Trade cafe in Scotland, thousands of young people from all over the World are setting up inspirational school enterprises that are giving them hands-on business experience.


Finalists showcase creative approaches to issues of access, quality and employment. The projects combine conventional tools with a range of technologies to achieve results in a variety of areas including addressing special needs, encouraging a love of literature, running a small business, and reaching marginalised communities.


One of the UK finalists, Open Book Publishers, is a social enterprise revolutionising access to secondary schools’ textbooks and academic titles. Its books are published in hardback, paperback, pdf and e-book editions and are also available for free online, which can be read via the website, downloaded, reused or embedded anywhere.


Open Book allows learners from across the globe access to research and educational materials that were previously expensive to buy or only reached from well-endowed university libraries. The project has a particular emphasis on promoting access to educational resources in developing countries. The principle behind Open Book is that the provision of free access to academic texts can create a financially more efficient and intellectually more inclusive and responsive education system, particularly for secondary and higher education institutions. Learners accessing Open Book also benefit from being able to download, embed and reuse free of charge on multiple platforms including tablets and mobile phone devices.


With 75 million people aged 16 to 24 currently unemployed, another pressing challenge in the context of global education is solving the youth unemployment crisis. Similarly, extreme poverty remains a huge challenge at the international level and one that traditional education often struggles to solve. Finalist School Enterprise Challenge was designed as a way of transforming large numbers of young people from all over the world from job seekers into job creators. The program challenges young people to establish a socially responsible, but profitable, business at their school. This offers a platform for providing hands-on relevant education to students, at the same time as generating extra income for the school.


H.E. Sheikh Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani, Ph.D., Chairman of WISE and Chairman of the WISE Awards Jury, commented:  “This year’s WISE Awards finalists represent some of the most innovative and groundbreaking projects currently changing lives around the world. They originate in many countries and they are breaking down barriers to education in many areas. The sustainable, replicable solutions created by these educational projects can help improve access, quality and relevance the world over.”


Dr Alessandra Tosi, Managing Director at Open Book says: “We are very excited to be named as one of the 2014 WISE Awards finalists. We are committed to opening up access to textbooks for secondary schools and university-level titles, and hope that the philosophy behind Open Book continues to gain support from around the globe so even more learners are able to view texts and research previously closed off to them.”


Mr Nik Kafka, Founder and Managing Director at School Enterprise Challenge says: “To be named as a 2014 WISE Awards finalist is hugely exciting for us. To have our innovative approach to education provision in developing countries recognised as a project with significant impact is truly rewarding.”


The six winning projects will be announced in September and celebrated at the sixth World Innovation Summit for Education, November 4-6, 2014, in Doha, Qatar. In addition to publicity and networking opportunities, each will receive $20,000 (US).


For further information about WISE and the WISE Awards, please go to