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GEM Report: 2021/22 Cartoon Competition

Deadline: 30 July 2021

The GEM Report has launched a cartoon competition in partnership with the Cartoon Movement, a global platform for editorial cartoons and comics journalism with a community of over 500 cartoonists in more than 80 countries. The GEM Report team has worked with cartoonists for several years to illustrate the various topics being analysed in its annual publications, including with award winner Toby Morris from New Zealand, political cartoonist Gado from Tanzania and Anne Derenne from France.

Deemed by the team as a thought-provoking communications tool, the cartoons are commissioned as an original way to tease out the multiple themes in each annual report. The competition is focused on the theme of the forthcoming 2021/2 GEM Report covering the role, influence, benefits and concerns about non-state actors in education. The competition is to create the best cartoon depiction of issues related to school choice and the impact of non-state actors in access, equity and quality in education. The winning submission will receive $500.

The brief

They are inviting submissions of original cartoons that capture the different opinions around school choice.

Ideally, choice would motivate healthy competition. Given information and options, parents could voice concerns, push for improvements or move to other schools. Choice and its effects could improve the functioning of schools and systems, incentivize innovation and result in better student outcomes and parent satisfaction. Overall, a wide variety of factors are important in the choices that parents make, including school academic quality and achievements, teacher quality, and location and safety, an active and child-friendly school climate. While some of these characteristics are particular to schools, most of these are overlapping educational and societal dimensions.

However, the reality of competition in education is often far from these ideal scenarios. The main criticism of market-oriented policies is that education is incompatible with market assumptions in the first place. In addition, critics believe that school choice benefits wealthier schools, families and communities, increasing inequality. Poorer parents can lack choices, have limited voice and limited access to information. When education is not free, financial constraints can affect the ability to choose schools, even if school vouchers offer funds to some families to help them overcome these constraints to choose schools more freely. Ultimately, parents make interconnected decisions to determine what choices are feasible – relying on available information, but primarily through shortcuts to decision-making such as social networks, schools’ demographic composition or visual cues from school infrastructure.

How your cartoon will be used

If selected, your cartoon will be used in the 2021/2 Global Education Monitoring Report and associated communications products including but not limited to multiple language versions, summary versions, flyers, event invitations, banners (web and print), posters, and a host of other communications materials.

Who can enter?

Anyone is eligible to enter the contest. Contestants may submit multiple entries but no more than 3 per cartoonist.


After the contest closes at 23.59 on 30 July 2021 (Paris time), qualifying cartoons will be judged on adherence to the contest challenge through its message clarity, composition and overall presentation. UNESCO GEM REPORT will publish the cartoons on Facebook for a public vote, after which a GEM Report panel will look at the cartoons with the highest votes and make a decision.

Winning images will be announced on the GEM Report’s blog and social media accounts by September 2021.


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