Sheikh Rashid bin Hamdan Al Maktoum honoured the winners of Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum - UNESCO Prize for Teacher Development in its seventh session in the UAE. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Sheikh Rashid bin Hamdan Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Al Maktoum Foundation, honoured the winners of Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum - UNESCO Prize for Teacher Development in its seventh session.

Sheikh Rashid bin Hamdan Al Maktoum expressed his appreciation to UNESCO, led by its Director-General Audrey Azoulay, and all the officials and employees of this enormous international organisation for their great efforts and extensive support for education, culture, and science in numerous nations, areas, and continents, and the assistance it offers for the upkeep of human civilisation, the enrichment of cultural diversity, and the development of creativity.

Sheikh Rashid commended the strong connections between UNESCO and the UAE under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.

He said: “This distinctive relationship indicates the common interest in cooperation and pushing these efforts forward towards accomplishing their aims. We are certain that teachers are those who enable individuals to realise their ambitionsy. We honour all of the dedicated educators who have devoted their lives to the noble cause of education.”

Sheikh Rashid bin Hamdan Al Maktoum congratulated the winners of the prize as well as the staff members of the Hamdan Foundation and UNESCO, including the arbitrators, administrators, and coordinators as he emphasised that by sustaining our distinguished performance, we will be able to accomplish many of the objectives necessary to create a prosperous system.

“I also take this chance to reconfirm that Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation for Distinguished Academic Performance is committed to support the organisation’s efforts as we announce new support for the Hamdan UNESCO Fund with an additional budget to finance new projects, believing that the transformation in education begins with empowered teachers. I am also pleased to announce that Hamdan Foundation and the International Team of Teachers have partnered to finance the project of publishing a new report about the status of teachers around the world in 2023.”

Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation for Distinguished Academic Performance and UNESCO honoured the winners of three innovative projects from Benin, Haiti and Lebanon, all of which contributed to improving the performance of teachers and enhancing their role in transforming education in and around their communities.

Dr Jamal Al Muhairi, Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees and General Secretary of Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation for Distinguished Academic Performance commented: “We are pleased to honour the winners of this prestigious prize. We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the prize winners and to commend the initiatives taken by UNESCO in support of the organisation’s Education 2030 strategy, which aims to improve learning opportunities for everyone, provide societies with high-quality education, and create a society based on knowledge and characterised by noble values and equality.”

Graines de Paix from Benin won the prize for its programme “Apprendre en paix, Enseigner sans violence” (Learning in Peace, Education without Violence), which provides transformative educational solutions that reduce violence in education and in society. Over 4,500 teachers have been trained, 2,500 parents have been sensitised and more than 250,000 children were reached through the project. Teacher training and student activities focus on how to prevent all forms of violence, prevent radicalisation, and foster wellbeing, a culture of peace, security, equity, and inclusion. Teachers learn how to move on from violent punitive authoritarian postures to positive postures that empower all students.

The American University of Beirut was granted the Award for its TAMAM Project for School-Based Educational Reform, a research-based programme where university researchers work closely with educational practitioners to generate strategies that are grounded in the socio-cultural contexts of the Arab region. At the core of TAMAM’s reform model are leadership capacity building programmes that view educators as leaders of change, strengthening their agency. In addition, teachers are offered platforms to network, learn and innovate with educators from other schools. TAMAM has been expanded to multiple countries: it covers 70 schools in nine countries across the region (Lebanon, Jordan, Oman, Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Palestine, and Kuwait). Over the past 15 years, 100 improvement projects have been initiated at the local level. The project has benefited 1,000 educational practitioners as direct beneficiaries.

P4H Global of Haiti was recognised for its project Training Teachers to Transform Haiti, an innovative programme dedicated to improving the quality of education in Haiti through the training not only of teachers but also school directors, parents, and community members. The project is based on a cycle that begins with a diagnosis of schools, trainings, distance coaching, and class observation. Its goal is for teachers to avoid corporal punishment and transform their teaching methods into effective, student-centred strategies that cultivate critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity inside the classroom.