KUALA LUMPUR: English language teacher Samuel Isaiah from Sekolah Kebangsaan Runchang school, Muadzam Shah, Pahang, has been named as one of the top 10 finalists for the Global Teacher Prize 2020, in partnership with UNESCO.
The Malaysian teacher was selected from over 12,000 nominations and applications from over 140 countries around the world, said a statement issued by the Varkey Foundation which the Global Teacher Prize is part of its long-standing commitment to improving the status of teachers.
Samuel introduced many innovations to inspire his Orang Asli students to dream big and crucially connect them to the outside world, including an e-mail exchange project called ‘Asli E-Pal’, where they communicate in English with adult volunteers all over Malaysia and overseas.
Samuel also introduced the “Speak Up With Poetry” programme where he worked with amateur poets to write poems relatable to Orang Asli culture which his students would then watch in the form of guided videos to learn English.
The school’s average pass rate in English had increased from 30 percent in 2012 to between 80 percent and 85 percent in 2015-2018, said the London-based Varkey Foundation.
Other finalists are Ranjitsinh Disale from India, Olasunkanmi Opeifa (Nigeria), Jamie Frost (United Kingdom), Carlo Mazzone (Italy), Mokhudu Cynthia Machaba (South Africa), Leah Juelke (United States) and Yun Jeong-hyun (South Korea).
“Congratulations to Samuel Isaiah for being selected as a top ten finalist from such a huge number of talented and dedicated teachers. I hope his story will inspire those looking to enter the teaching profession and also highlight the incredible work teachers do all over Malaysia and throughout the world every day,” said Assistant Director-General for Education at UNESCO, Stefania Giannini.
“The Global Teacher Prize helps put the teachers’ voice at the heart of our mission to champion inclusive learning opportunities for children and young people all over the world, especially the most marginalised and disadvantaged, during this sudden and unprecedented disruption to global education.
“Since the coronavirus pandemic first emerged, we have seen 1.5 billion learners across the world impacted by school and university closures. But not all learners are being impacted equally. Governments must learn lessons and act decisively to ensure all children receive a quality education in the age of Covid-19 and beyond.”
The remaining two top 10 finalists will be announced one each week in the run-up to the Global Teacher Prize ceremony, which will be virtual for the very first time in its history due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
This year’s Global Teacher Prize ceremony will be done virtually and is expected to take place on Dec 3, 2020, where the overall winner will be announced.
It will be hosted by English comedian, actor, writer and presenter Stephen Fry from the Natural History Museum in London.
“The Global Teacher Prize was set up to shine a spotlight on the important role teachers play in society. By unearthing thousands of stories of heroes that have transformed young people’s lives, the prize hopes to bring to life the exceptional work of teachers all over the world,” founder of the Global Teacher Prize, Sunny Varkey, meanwhile said.
“This year, more than ever, we have seen teachers go above and beyond to keep young people learning throughout the world. Teachers everywhere should be applauded for their creativity, compassion and resolve to fulfil every child’s right to a good education.”
The Global Teacher Prize winner will be paid the prize money in equal instalments over 10 years. — Bernama