Dubai: Two UAE-based teachers have been included in the top 50 shortlist for the $1 million (Dh3.67m) Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2017.
Now in its third year, the award is the largest prize of its kind and is awarded under the patronage of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
The two shortlisted UAE-based teachers are Shaikha Al Shehi, an English teacher from Al Dhait Girls Secondary School, Ras Al Khaimah; and Rohan Roberts, who teaches the GEMS Honours Progamme and Astronomy at GEMS Wellington Academy Silicon Oasis in Dubai.
The prize winner will be announced at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai on March 19, 2017.
The Global Teacher Prize was set up to recognise one exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession, as well as to shine a spotlight on the important role teachers play in society.
Roberts leads an honours programme designed for gifted students from 40 GEMS schools in Dubai. Using a scientific perspective, he keeps up with findings in pedagogy and neuroscience, while using his many interests as astronomer, painter, author and musician to identify and develop the multiple talents of his students.
Al Shehi began teaching as a child on her doorstep with her neighbours’ children, drawing and writing in chalk on the door of her home. As a teacher, she has taken a lead in educating her pupils in global citizenry, particularly in environmental matters, with her ‘Reducing Carbon Footprint’ initiative.
The top 50 have been shortlisted from over 20,000 nominations and applications from 179 countries.
Sunny Varkey, founder of Varkey Foundation, said: “We were overwhelmed by the huge support the Global Teacher Prize received this year. We intend to keep this momentum going as our journey continues to return teachers to their rightful position as one of the most respected professions in society.”
Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said, “I applaud the launch of the Global Teacher Prize, which recognises their worth. The award is in line with my Global Education First Initiative, launched in 2012, which aims to give momentum to the worldwide movement to put every child in school, improve the quality of learning and foster global citizenship”.