Global Student Prize Image Credit:

Dubai: A new international student prize worth $50,000 (around Dh183,650) was announced on Tuesday by the Varkey Foundation, formed by Sunny Varkey, founder of the UAE-based GEMS Education private school group.

‘ Global Student Prize’ is open to all students aged 16 and above and enrolled in an academic institution or training and skills programme. Part-time students as well as students enrolled in online courses are also eligible for the prize. Applicants will be assessed on their academic achievement, impact on their peers, how they make a difference in their community and beyond, how they overcome the odds to achieve, how they demonstrate creativity and innovation and how they operate as “global citizens”.

Both the Global Teacher Prize and the Global Student Prize have been launched to highlight the importance of education in tackling the great challenges ahead – from climate change to growing inequality to global pandemics.

- Sunny Varkey

How to apply

Students can apply until April 30 on, the website of the $1 million ‘Global Teacher Prize’, also founded by Varkey. is a supporter of the Global Teacher Prize and has partnered with the Varkey Foundation to create the new Global Student Prize. is the impact, advocacy and research arm of Chegg, which “addresses the issues facing the modern student”.

‘Recognise heroic Emiratis’

On Tuesday, Ranjitsinh Disale, winner of the Global Teacher Prize 2020, in partnership with UNESCO, urged UAE teachers to apply for the 2021 edition of the prize. Disale, a village teacher from India, also urged, for the first time, UAE students to apply for its new sister award, the Global Student Prize.

He said: “Heroic Emirati teachers have gone above and beyond, especially during the pandemic, to keep young people learning. Like much of the world, the UAE has been turned upside down by COVID-19, and it is ultimately teachers and students that will play leading roles in the nation’s rebuilding and recovery. We must recognise their inspirational work in every corner of the UAE if we are to build a better tomorrow.”

‘Students deserve praise’

Lila Thomas, head of, said: “Students throughout the world during the pandemic have shown great strength, focus and determination to keep learning and keep fighting for their future. They deserve huge praise and recognition for never giving up. These students will now be charged with helping to solve some of the greatest challenges in history. The Global Student Prize has been launched to shine a light on their stories and listen to their voices. After all, it is their dreams, their insights and their creativity that will help to build the future.”

‘Education is the key’

Sunny Varkey, who founded both the Global Teacher Prize and the Global Student Prize, said: “Both these prizes have been launched to highlight the importance of education in tackling the great challenges ahead – from climate change to growing inequality to global pandemics. With the world leaders preoccupied with the vital task of bringing this terrible pandemic to an end, I urge them to never forget that it is only by prioritising education that we can safeguard all our tomorrows. Education is the key to facing the future with confidence.”

How teachers will be assessed

Teachers applying for the Global Teacher Prize will be assessed on teaching practices, how they innovate to address local challenges, achieve demonstrable learning outcomes, impact the community beyond the classroom, help children become global citizens, improve the teaching profession and gain recognition from external bodies.

Finalists and winners

Both prizes will be narrowed down to Top 50 shortlists and Top 10 finalists, to be announced later in the year, helping to raise the bar of respect for the teaching profession and provide worldwide recognition for high achieving students. The winners of both prizes will be chosen from the top 10 finalists by the Global Teacher Prize Academy made up of prominent individuals. The winners will be announced live at a ceremony later in the year.

Nominations process

If teachers or students are being nominated, the person nominating them will write a brief description online explaining why. The teacher or student being nominated will then be sent an email letting them know they’ve been nominated and inviting them to apply for the prize. Applicants can apply in English, Mandarin, Arabic, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian.