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20 more countries announce National Teacher Prizes inspired by the Global Teacher Prize

The success of the Varkey Foundation’s US $1M Global Teacher Prize, now celebrating its third year of success, has inspired National Teacher Prizes in over 20 nations.

Colombia was the first country to start its own prize, with the backing and support of the Varkey Foundation. And since the Global

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The success of the Varkey Foundation’s US $1M Global Teacher Prize, now celebrating its third year of success, has inspired National Teacher Prizes in over 20 nations.

Colombia was the first country to start its own prize, with the backing and support of the Varkey Foundation. And since the Global Teacher Prize was awarded to Palestinian teacher Hanan Al Hroub in March 2016, many countries have now decided to follow suit, announcing that they will launch their own unique national teacher prizes.

The countries announcing new National Teacher Prizes today are:

  • Albania
  • Algeria
  • Chile
  • Czech Republic
  • Georgia
  • Iraq
  • Japan
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Morocco
  • Pakistan
  • Portugal
  • Somalia
  • Somalia Land Coalition
  • Sudan
  • Tunisia
  • Ukraine
  • Yemen

These countries are the latest additions to the list of new National Teacher Prizes.  After Colombia became the first country to launch its own prize, Argentina, Italy, Liberia, Palestine, Nepal and Uganda announced at last year’s GESF that they would set up their own prizes.

Encouraging each country to set up its own national prize, the Varkey Foundation has helped by sharing with them information on nomination and application processes, judging criteria, branding advice and other tips. This helps ensure the prizes can be of a similar high quality and operate on a standard model that can be adapted to national needs.

Varkey Foundation CEO Vikas Pota said:

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“The Global Teacher Prize was set up to enhance the respect, reward and celebration of teachers around the world. It does this by shining a spotlight on great teachers and sharing their remarkable stories. Ultimately we wanted to inspire the best possible candidates to join the teaching profession, and we are thrilled that these shared goals are now successfully taking root in individual countries.

“When we embarked on this journey we hoped there might be national spin-offs of the Global Teacher Prize, independent from us but with a shared set of values and close co-operation to make them a success. But we couldn’t have dreamt that within the space of three years we would have over 20 national teacher prizes either set up or are in the process of being set up.

“It is really remarkable, a testament to Governments around the world taking on board the message that we must do all we can to elevate the status of teachers. It is wonderful to see that the Global Teacher Prize is now being adapted for local needs at an even deeper level in individual countries.”

The national teacher prizes awarded in individual countries are in various stages of development and delivery by each host nation, depending on the timeframes each national body, be they a foundation, government department, education provider, education authority or regulator, wishes to operate to. They are set up after a formal memorandum of understanding has been agreed and signed by the host nation and the Varkey Foundation.

Image used for representational purpose only

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Global Education and Skills Forum

Bill Gates announces top ten finalists for Varkey Foundation’s Global Teacher Prize 2018

In a special video message announcing the top ten finalists, philanthropist Bill Gates paid a powerful tribute to the work of teachers around the world.

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The top 10 finalists for the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2018 were announced today at globalteacherprize.org. Now in its fourth year, the US$1 million award is the largest prize of its kind.

In a special video message announcing the top ten finalists, philanthropist Bill Gates paid a powerful tribute to the work of teachers around the world. He said:

“When you think about what drives progress and improvement in the world, education is like a master switch—one that opens up all sorts of opportunities for individuals and societies."

“And research has shown that having a great teacher can be the most important factor that determines whether students get a great education."

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“Finalists were selected based on a rigorous set of criteria, including their proven effectiveness in inspiring students and helping them learn."

“Just as important, these teachers are leaders who have innovated in the classroom and mentored their colleagues."

“They have demonstrated the kind of collaboration—teachers and schools working together—that can give all students the opportunity to get a great education”.

The 10 finalists for the Global Teacher Prize 2018 are:

Nurten Akkuş a pre-school teacher and principal at Ayvacık Pre-School, Samsun, Turkey;

Marjorie Brown, who teaches history at Roedean School, Johannesburg,  South Africa;

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Luis Miguel Bermudez Gutierrez, a social science teacher at the Colegio Gerardo Paredes IED, Bogotá, Colombia;

Jesus Insilada, who teaches English and creative writing at Caninguan National High School in Lambunao, Iloilo, Philippines;

Glenn Lee, an engineering and technology teacher from Waialua High & Intermediate School, Waialua, Hawaii, United States;

Diego Mahfouz Faria Lima, director of Darcy Ribeiro Municipal School, in São José do Rio Preto, São Paulo, Brazil;

Koen Timmers, a lecturer at PXL university college in Hasselt and a computer science teacher at CVO De Verdieping school in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium;

Eddie Woo, a mathematics teacher from Cherrybrook Technology High School, Sydney, Australia;

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Andria Zafirakou, an art and textiles teacher from Alperton Community School, Brent, London, United Kingdom;

Barbara Anna Zielonka, an English teacher at Nannestad High School, Norway.

The finalists have been selected from over 30,000 nominations and applications from 173 countries around the world. The Global Teacher Prize was set up to recognize 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. 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 millions of teachers all over the world. 

The top 10 have been narrowed down from a top 50 shortlist that was announced in December 2017. By highlighting their stories the Varkey Foundation hopes that the public will be able to join in passionate debates about the importance of teachers. The winner will be announced at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai on Sunday 18 March 2018.

Sunny Varkey, founder of the Varkey Foundation and the Global Teacher Prize, said:

“I want to congratulate the top 10 finalists who have made it through from such a huge number of talented and dedicated teachers. I hope their stories will inspire those looking to enter the teaching profession and also shine a powerful spotlight on the incredible work teachers do all over the world every day.

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“The thousands of nominations and applications we received from every corner of the planet is testimony to the achievements of teachers and the enormous impact they have on all of our lives”.

The original top 50 shortlisted teachers were narrowed down to ten finalists by a Prize Committee. The winner will be chosen from this 10 by the Global Teacher Prize Academy. All 10 finalists will be invited to Dubai for the Award ceremony at the Global Education and Skills Forum (GESF) on Sunday 18 March, where the winner will be announced live on stage in a red carpet gala event which is beamed around the world.

Further information about the top 10 finalists will be available from Wednesday 14 February here: http://www.globalteacherprize.org.

To join the conversation online follow #TeachersMatter on: https://twitter.com/TeacherPrize and https://www.facebook.com/teacherprize.

Source – Global Teacher Prize & Varkey Foundation

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Global Education and Skills Forum

Triumph Against Adversity: How a Team of Refugees Achieved the Pinnacle of Sporting Excellence

Members of the first Refugee Olympic Team who took part in the 2016 Rio Olympics shared how they triumphed in spite of the refugee crisis to reach the very top of their individual sport.

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Members of the first Refugee Olympic Team who took part in the 2016 Rio Olympics shared how they triumphed in spite of the refugee crisis to reach the very top of their individual sport.

Presenting their life experiences at the recently concluded Global Education & Skills Forum (GESF), these heroes spoke on the topic of ‘Triumph Against Adversity: How a Team of Refugees Achieved the Pinnacle of Sporting Excellence’.

The distinguished list of speakers included Popole Misenga, Olympic Judoka, Republic of Congo; Yonlande Bukasa Mabika, Olympic Judoka, Republic of Congo; Yonas Kinde, Olympic Marathoner, Ethiopia; and Rami Anis, Olympic Swimmer, Syria. They were moderated by Geraldo De Moreaes Bernardes, Olympic Judo Coach from Brazil.

The Olympians discussed the tragedies and unfortunate accidents they experienced in their lives and the courage they displayed in overpowering them.

Bernardes said: “Being a Judo coach for over 20 years I won six medals at the Olympics before I decided to become a social worker. Judo has the power to transform people and sports in general will allow people to have a better life. Popole and Yonlande are two refugees who came to Brazil in 2013 and were at one point homeless before I trained them with the dream of making a refugee Olympic team. Participating at the Olympics was a great 30 days experience for them, and they are now financially stable with aim of participating at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.”

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Misenga shared of his experiences stating that “as a refugee from Congo to Brazil in 2013, I was on the streets before Flávio Canto, creator of Instituto Reação, a non-governmental organisation that promotes human development and social inclusion through sports and education, took me in and helped me practice Judo free of charge. I can proudly say that sports has changed my life and would like to thank Flavio, Geraldo and everyone else who supported me along the way.”

Mabika also reflected that it was people like Canto and Bernardes who believed in humanity and went above and beyond in their efforts. “I got into Judo as a 10-year-old as a self-defence strategy from the war back home. I travelled to Brazil as part of a Judo championship before I was abandoned by my team there and left homeless on the streets. My message to all refugees wherever they are in the world is not to give up on your life and work hard to create your own story.”

Yonas Kinde, added: “Rio 2016 was an amazing experience for us as everyone cheered and respected us, which is something that ignited me even more. I am motivated for my next goal which is the upcoming games at Tokyo 2020. I am thankful for my sponsors, who have also supported me throughout the process and would also like to say that I am proud to be a part of this year’s Global Education & Skills Forum (GESF), which has provided me with the ideal platform to spread the message to as many people possible, especially that there is a good number of people who are in the same situation as me.”

Rami Anis, concluded: “My journey as a swimmer began in Syria when I was only six years old before problems in my country forced me to flee from my hometown to Turkey and then Belgium to pursue my passion. The Olympics committee has supported me and provided me with a key opportunity, which I hope to build on until Tokyo 2020 and hopefully beyond that. For everyone who is listening to me today, my message for them is to never give up and keep following their dreams because being a refugee is not our choice.”

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Education Technology in classrooms gets a beating as GESF debate votes for setting fundamentals first

While technology and its role in redefining education was a resounding theme at the fifth Global Education & Skills Forum (GESF), a keenly contested debate had the house voting for the motion that ‘education technology in the classroom is a waste of time and money’.

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While technology and its role in redefining education was a resounding theme at the fifth Global Education & Skills Forum (GESF), a keenly contested debate had the house voting for the motion that ‘education technology in the classroom is a waste of time and money’.

Introducing the motion, moderator Dino Varkey, Chief Executive Officer of GEMS Education, observed that education technology spending globally will reach US$19 billion by 2019, according to Fortune magazine. At that cost, expectations of measurable returns are increasing. He said: “While many sing praises of IT in classroom, recent evidence suggests tech’s impact in classrooms is limited, with OECED finding that access to IT does little to bridge the gap between the advantaged and the disadvantaged.”

James Cantenera, CEO & Founder, TULA, Philippines, opening the debate for the motion, was unequivocal that investing in technology in classrooms is not the imperative today; with public funds in education being finite. While agreeing that technology is ‘great,’ he pointed out that “education technology will benefit people only when other essentials are in place,” and warned of the consequences of technology misuse in an impressionable young audience.

With the state of educational facilities being appalling, teachers earning low wages and advances in curricula being limited, the priorities today must be to bridge these gaps. “Education technology will have its benefits one day, but right now it is wasteful before the classrooms are ready.”

Countering the motion, Zaki Khoury, Regional Director, International Organisations – Microsoft, UAE, said education technology is “not about the digital divide but about digital dividend.” He argued that how students access ICT devices has evolved significantly in recent years, and claimed the OECD report, which served as the foundation of the motion as dating to 2012 and therefore archaic.

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“It is fundamental that in today’s technology revolution, we really need to leverage the assets we have and also use the opportunities to the maximum. There is no stop for innovation and we need to adapt for innovation. With the changes around us, can you believe that we can come to a conclusion based on emotion that are using same tools built on methods of learning created hundred years ago? Instead of choosing between education and technology, we must focus on education and technology.”

In a flamboyant retort, Antony Jenkins, Board Member of Blockchain, former CEO of Barclays UK, drew on the ‘simple story’ of ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ to support the motion, and reinforcing that the tech giants are missing the big picture of the everyday realities of the educational system.  “Billions are spent on electronic white boards, tablets and software; it just lines the pockets of tech companies,” he thundered. “All these deflect resources from things that really matter – investing in teachers, for one.”

The youngest participant, Munira Rajkotwalla, a student of GEMS Wellington, Dubai, put up a defiant fight against the motion, highlighting her own experience with Blended Learning – a programme where only 50 students have been hand-picked to study online as against conventional education. She said that not just results but also the number of hours spent on studying endorsed the value of education technology, asserting that ‘technology offers flexibility’ for students.

While pre-debate the house had an overwhelming majority opposing the motion, final voting saw a swing, with the motion carried by the ‘fors’ underlining the majority’s views that we need to invest in fundamentals before education technology becomes the watchword.

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US$3 trillion spend on education needed annually by year 2030 : Julia Gillard

“Education is the key to the sort of change we want to see in our planet,” concluded Julia Gillard, “the global education movement is about trying to solve that, and we need to make the case for change.”

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Ensuring every child around the world is in school and educated, is a key priority for The Honorable Julia Gillard, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Global Partnership for Education. Speaking at the fifth Global Education & Skills Forum (GESF) in Dubai, the former Australian prime minister spoke of the importance of solving the education deficit, in terms of both access and funding.

Moderated by Bobby Ghosh, Editor-In-Chief at Hindustan Times, Gillard’s session looked at the global shortage of teachers, access to education and the funding needed to bridge the gap for future generations.

Part of the current issue was attributed to the lack of global emphasis placed on education until recent years, with the importance of providing children with quality schooling only recently being added to the agenda for humanitarian aid, particularly in poorer areas and areas of conflict.

Gillard said: “The problem is huge; at present, there are around 260 million children who don’t have access to primary and secondary school education. We want to see every child in school and every child educated. Looking globally, the world currently spends around 1.3 trillion dollars on school education, but we need to be spending 3 trillion dollars annually by the year 2030.”

A major barrier to progress in global education is the shortage of quality teachers across the globe, in which Gillard stated that the deficit is in the hundreds of thousands of teachers, with the challenge of training teachers being “immense”.

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In addressing the issue, Gillard believes there is a strong case to be made for advocacy and the presence of a global movement: “If you look at the world overall, many of the world’s leaders are influenced by global campaigns. We want to make sure that, this year, the global campaign is around education.”

Mothers were also cited as being instrumental in prompting a virtuous cycle of change; by educating mothers, they can experience the full impact that education provides in shaping the future, and use that power as a driver in the fight to ensure that their children go on to be educated.

Throughout the session, emphasis was placed on the importance of global education and ensuring that the message resonates globally through platforms such as GESF. As technology and society shifts, education continues to becoming increasingly important.

“Education is the key to the sort of change we want to see in our planet,” concluded Gillard, “the global education movement is about trying to solve that, and we need to make the case for change.”

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Day 2 of the GESF 2017 saw Bear Grylls, Hanan Al Hroub, HE Sheikh Nahyan, Sadhguru, Irina Bokova and other leading educators in action

Day 2 of the Global Education and Skills Forum 2017 saw Bear Grylls, Hanan Al Hroub, HE Sheikh Nahyan, Sadhguru, Irina Bokova and other leading educators in action. The event concluded with the announcement of Maggie MacDonnell from Canada as the Global Teacher Prize Winner 2017.

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  • HE Sheikh Nahyan highlights UAE’s experience in building Global Citizenship at FIFTH GESF
  • Hanan Al Hroub, 2016 Global Teacher Prize winner launches ‘Teachers for Peace,’ to be financed by Varkey Foundation and Interpeace
  • Thomas Friedman shares insights on addressing the challenges in education in today’s age of acceleration.
  • British adventurer Bear Grylls underpins value of tenacity in achieving one’s dreams              

His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, the UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, highlighted the UAE’s experience as a role model for building Global Citizenship, at the Closing Plenary of the fifth Global Education & Skills Forum (GESF), a Varkey Foundation initiative, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

HE Sheikh Nahyan outlined eight key points on the UAE experience: “Welcome the rest of the world, educate young people so that they can intelligently and confidently engage with the world with curiosity and respect, build a knowledge society, create an environment where people can live without fear, encourage dialogue across all cross-sections of the society, supplement study of native language with other world languages, reward the talents of the entire community – both women and men, join forces with intellectual enterprises worldwide, especially science and technology, and promote universal moral values,” adding that “these will go a long way in making global citizens.”

He also observed that education policymakers and teachers have a “special and shared responsibility and opportunity in the process of creating real global citizens.” Underscoring the potential of the Global Education & Skills Forum “to set something tangible and meaningful,” he challenged the audience to draft a charter of ‘real global citizenship’ that with the passage of time would take hold of the minds of leaders around the world in making ‘real global citizens’.

HE Sheikh Nahyan urged the world to “make our voices heard more than ever, as it is our collective responsibility to ensure that policies, programmes and practices will spread the goals and objectives of true global citizenship.”

Teachers for Peace

Addressing over 2,000 delegates from 140 nations, Hanan Al Hroub, the Palestinian teacher who won the 2016 Global Teacher Prize, reflected on the year since she was honoured. She said: “It was a moment when I realised the victory of human principles and values that I believe in, a moment of trust in the power of determination in achieving the goal.”

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She said that winning the prize was only the “beginning of a fight for a nonviolent and peaceful way to achieve our dreams as Palestinians. Varkey Foundation gave me a platform to spread my message about peace and non-violence. I visited schools for refugees and we talked about the education of children who were traumatised and got through crises during their lives. I listened to their dreams and hopes that the war had destroyed. Their only demand was to allow them to continue their study and to respect their humanity.”

Al Hroub announced the launch of the ‘Teachers for Peace’ an initiative to be financed by Varkey Foundation and Interpeace with the goal of providing education in emergency situations during and after wars, and to serve as a centre for exchanging best practices. “We are together, hand in hand, to save this world from hatred and lead it toward a loving and peaceful world. What I believe is that we need only a free teacher to get to a bright future.

“With ‘Teachers for Peace,’ our call for teachers and children is to be flexible in their ability to adapt to struggles, and to avoid intolerance, extremism, intimidation and trepidation during the education process. And that they may have the ability to transform these struggles into a motive to change this reality to a better one,” she said.

Argentina – GESF Country Partner for 2018

At the session, Argentina was announced as the country partner of the Global Education & Skills Forum for 2018. In his video address, Esteban Bullrich, Minister of Education and Sport of Argentina, said: “Education has the power to bring peace to the world, and that is why we want to push the global teacher agenda. Every single teacher in the world is a peace worker and we want to have global teachers, to be peace workers for a better world. We want a better world and we are committed to achieving that. Education unites us all.”

Inspiring through adventure

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British adventurer, writer and television presenter Bear Grylls shared his experience of pushing himself to scale Mount Everest, and used it as a referral point on how to shape ‘real global citizens,’ the theme of GESF this year.

He said: “It is not about scaling a mountain but about you all (the educators). You are extraordinary people in a truly extraordinary profession. And you instill in young people vision, courage, hope, humility and kindness, that tenacious spirit that zeal for life, and by doing that again and again, together we can change the world.”

His message to the young people was to: “just go for it; choose the path less trodden, embrace failure; don’t listen to the dream-stealers – and be kind – that is the most important lesson. Remember that our greatest wealth is our relationships. And never give up. Life is about living the dream worth fighting for, worth taking risks for, and understanding that the rewards in life don’t go for the brightest or bravest or cleverest or even the best. Rewards in life go to the dogged, determined, tenacious, and those who get back on their feet when kicked down, get up again and again.”

Education in the age of acceleration

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Thomas Friedman, the author of The World is Flat and The New York Times foreign affairs columnist, in his keynote address, highlighted how education must adapt to today’s age of acceleration defined by three forces – digital globalisation, Mother Nature and Moore’s Law. “These three exponential accelerations are not just changing the world; they are fundamentally reshaping it,” said Friedman, who said this presents new challenges for educators. “It is reshaping how companies educate their workers, how parents need to educate our kids and how our communities need to educate on ethics.”

For companies, this means, turning artificial intelligence to intelligent algorithms so that people can learn faster. For parents, he said the advice for children must be to “think like new immigrants – as we are all immigrants in the age of acceleration; to think like an artisan and carve your initials into your work; think like a start-up – and always be in a beta mode; to nurture high passion, persistence and curiosity quotient; and to think entrepreneurially.                                                                             

Varkey Foundation Challenge Fund awards

Four winners of the Varkey Foundation Challenge Fund, which aims to support education projects that have the potential to achieve significant lasting impact, were announced at the session. The four recipients of the grants are: Invincible Me, a UK children’s mental health charity; Teach for Uganda, which recruits promising university graduates to teach in under-served communities and schools central Uganda; Komensky Institute (Slovakia), that helps establish a teacher training programme to encourage independent thought and creativity; and Arab Campaign for the Education of All (ACEA), led by the Teacher Creativity Center, to help pilot National Teacher Prizes in 15 Middle Eastern and East European countries.

Global Teacher Prize 2017

In a star-studded event featuring Ranbir Kapoor, Mahira Khan, Bear Grylls and other celebrities, Maggie MacDonnell of Canada was awarded the Global Teacher Prize Winner 2017 at Global Education & Skills Forum (also known as "Davos of Education"). She lives and works in Salluit, an Inuit village deep in the Canadian Arctic.

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For a complete coverage of Day 2 at Global Education and Skills Forum 2017, visit https://blog.educationandskillsforum.org/gesf2017-live-blog-day-2/

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Maggie MacDonell from Canada wins the Global Teacher Prize 2017 at Global Education and Skills Forum

In a star-studded event featuring Ranbir Kapoor, Mahira Khan, Bear Grylls and other celebrities, Maggie MacDonnell of Canada was today awarded the Global Teacher Prize Winner 2017 at Global Education & Skills Forum (also known as “Davos of Education”).

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In a star-studded event featuring Ranbir Kapoor, Mahira Khan, Bear Grylls and other celebrities, Maggie MacDonnell of Canada was today awarded the Global Teacher Prize Winner 2017 at Global Education & Skills Forum (also known as "Davos of Education"). She lives and works in Salluit, an Inuit village deep in the Canadian Arctic. The village is so remote that it’s accessible only by air. 

The Global Teacher Prize is awarded by the Varkey Foundation under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister, and Emir of Dubai.

Maggie McDonnell has made an outstanding contribution to the lives of her students and everyone in Salluit. She is a deserving winner of the $1 million Global Teacher Prize for 2017 – money she’ll use to set up an NGO.

ScooNews Congratulates Maggie on being awarded the Global Teacher Prize Winner 2017.

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Her name was announced by French astronaut Thomas Pasquet in a video message (see below) from the International Space Station.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister, and Emir of Dubai & Sunny Varkey, Founder, Varkey Foundation presented the Global Teacher Prize trophy to Maggie.

In a pleasant surprise for Maggie, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau congratulated her through a live video telecast from Canada. He said:

“Maggie MacDonnell – on behalf of all Canadians – from one teacher to another – congratulations on winning the Global Teacher Prize 2017.

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“You chose to teach at the Ikusik school in Salluit, a remote village in the Canadian Arctic. There are no roads to Salluit– it is only accessible by air and it gets cold, really cold. Minus twenty this time of year.

“I’d like to say thank you to every teacher out there. Teachers owe responsibilities to many people – to students, to parents, to the community, the school board. But in the end, as all great teachers know – they are ultimately responsible to something far greater. They are responsible to the future – and for the world that will be shaped by the children they teach”.

He also tweeted a congratulatory message for her.

Maggie was visibly emotional during her Thank You address and was profuse in her praise of the Global Teacher Prize and Varkey Foundation.

In a video message broadcast into the ceremony, Prince Harry paid tribute to the work of teachers around the world. Prince Harry said:

“In addition to reading, writing and arithmetic, the very best teachers go beyond the pages of textbooks to teach young people about determination, aspiration, resilience and compassion. We will all face setbacks and challenges in our lives and our teachers play a vital role in preparing us for these ups and downs”.

Sunny Varkey, founder of the Varkey Foundation, said:

“I want to congratulate Maggie Macdonnell for winning the Global Teacher Prize 2017 from such a huge number of talented and dedicated teachers. I hope her story will inspire those looking to enter the teaching profession and also shine a powerful spotlight on the incredible work teachers do all over the world every day.”

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In 2016, Palestinian teacher Hanan al-Hroub was adjudged Global Teacher Prize winner for her efforts in encouraging students to renounce violence and embrace dialogue. The inaugural Global Teacher Prize (instituted by Varkey Foundation in 2015) went to Nancie Atwell, an English teacher from Maine.

The other nine finalists for the Global Teacher prize 2017 were:

Raymond Chambers, a computer science teacher from Brooke Weston Academy in Corby, Northamptonshire, UK

Salima Begum, Headteacher at Elementary College for Women Gilgit, Pakistan

David Calle, from Madrid, Spain, the founder and creator of the Unicoos educational website

Wemerson da Silva Nogueira, a science teacher at the Escola Antônio dos Santos Neves in Boa Esperança, Brazil

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Marie-Christine Ghanbari Jahromi, a physical education, maths and German teacher at Gesamtschule Gescher school, in Gescher, Germany

Tracy-Ann Hall, an automotive technology teacher at Jonathan Grant High School in Spanish Town, Jamaica

Yang Boya, a psychology teacher at The Affiliated Middle School of Kunming Teachers College, China

Michael Wamaya, a dance teacher from Mathare, Nairobi, Kenya

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The current generation of young people is special – they are born as “true global citizens”: Sunny Varkey

The Global Education and Skills Forum (GESF) will see Oscars of Education (Global Teacher Prize) being awarded today, the second day of the event instituted by Varkey Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation to improve the standards of education for underprivileged children throughout the world.

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The Global Education and Skills Forum (GESF) will see Oscars of Education (Global Teacher Prize) being awarded today, the second day of the event instituted by Varkey Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation to improve the standards of education for underprivileged children throughout the world.

As the event started yesterday, the delegates, the participants, and who's who of education industry were witness to a host of exciting events. Welcome and opening addresses were given by  Vikas Pota, CEO, Varkey Foundation; Sunny Varkey, Chairmen, Varkey Foundation; H.E. Liborio Stellino, Ambassador, Embassy of Italy; Tariq Al Gurg, CEO, Dubai Cares; Andreas Schleicher, Director for the Directorate of Education and Skills, OECD; Sadhguru J. Vasudev , Founder, Isha Foundation;  Karen Giles, Head Teacher, Barham Primary School. Mr Sunny Varkey opened the forum by emphasising that the current generation of young people is special – they are born as “true global citizens”.

One of the interesting insights at GESF was a renowned Chinese psychologist stressing the need to highlight respect for teachers. She said Western cultures had to learn this from how China does it. The psychologist, who is also a teacher, Yang Boya, said "in China, we really respect our teacher or lecturer, we never challenge her or him, I think in this respect my country can be role model for others."

Yang Boya remarked that while being technologically aware was good for students, only technology and no social contact can be disadvantageous. “IT can support a teacher's work but not replace him”, Boya said.

A top education expert, Andreas Schleicher, said that children should be taught to apply critical mind to separate fake from real when they read anything on internet. "This", he stated, "was very important in the current digital age".

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World Bank representative Harry Patrinos urged the need for investment of more funds in primary school education and stated that the focus must be on reading skills. He was critical of high investment in higher education and stagnation of funds in basic education.

Sadhguru, mystic, yogi and bestselling author; New York Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas Friedman and Irina Bokova, Director-general of UNESCO were some popular names who spearheaded the sessions.

Among a sea of educators, teachers, and celebrities ScooNews has had its own feather in the cap being the only education media covering the events, taking interviews with top education fraternity, hearing them speak and getting heard. We will be pleased to bring you all of it in our April issue.

For a detailed coverage of Day 1, visit https://blog.educationandskillsforum.org/gesf2017-live-blog-day-1/

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Global Education and Skills Forum

Teachers are the greatest philanthropists in the world : Thomas Friedman

Thomas Friedman, the author of The World is Flat and The New York Times foreign affairs columnist, batted for old values, which he said “matters more than ever” today in education, and underlined the need for teachers and students to “own the education space.”

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Thomas Friedman, the author of The World is Flat and The New York Times foreign affairs columnist, batted for old values, which he said “matters more than ever” today in education, and underlined the need for teachers and students to “own the education space.”

At a ‘Meet the Mentor’ session at the fifth Global Education & Skills Forum (GESF), a Varkey Foundation initiative, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, he said: “The older I get, the more I come to believe that the two most important words in life are ‘self’ and ‘sustaining.’ When ownership is in the room, good things happen, and they are self-sustainable.”

Describing teachers as the greatest philanthropists in the world and teaching as a hard job, he said his view on education is very simple: “95 per cent of it is parenting and 5 per cent by teachers.” And when parents take interest in their children’s education, you can “make every good teacher a great one, and every great teacher a fantastic one.”

 

Friedman said all the big challenges of today have its roots in 2007, when “we experienced an exponential year in our lives’ – the year that witnessed the launch of the iPhone, Facebook becoming accessible for anyone with an email, the roll out of Twitter, Kindle, Android, and Airbnb, among others. But the world completely missed it all, he observed, because of 2008 – when it plummeted into the economic crisis.

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“So while our physical technologies took off, all of our social technologies – the reforms that needed to go with that – completely froze, and a lot of people got caught. The collision of 2007 and 2008 created the foundation of Brexit, Trumpism,” said Friedman. 

He observed that the fall-out of these two shifts was the loss of high-wage middle-skill jobs – which is what education must deliver today

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Global Education and Skills Forum

Varkey Foundation Challenge Fund includes grant to help train every UK teacher to support pupils with mental health problems

A project to provide every UK teacher with a grounding in understanding mental health issues so they can spot problems early and help troubled pupils is one of four programmes to be awarded a share of a US $200,000 fund announced today at the Global Education and Skills Forum (GESF) 2017.

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A project to provide every UK teacher with a grounding in understanding mental health issues so they can spot problems early and help troubled pupils is one of four programmes to be awarded a share of a US $200,000 fund announced today at the Global Education and Skills Forum (GESF) 2017.

The awards under the Varkey Foundation Challenge Fund – which aims to support education projects that have the potential to achieve significant lasting impact – also include grants for programmes in Uganda, Slovakia and the Middle East.

The award to Invincible Me, a UK children’s mental health charity, comes after a survey published in January 2017 by the Department for Education found fewer than two in five teachers believed they could get help for pupils’ mental health problems. 

One in four people in the UK will suffer from a mental health issue at some point in their lives, with mental illness often starting in childhood.

The Challenge Fund award will support the design and implementation of personal and professional development resources to help teachers work more effectively with the children in their care.  It will help them increase their skills and ability to support children with complex emotional needs, help pupils build up their own resilience and also fund tools and techniques to manage teachers’ own wellbeing.

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The other projects receiving grants are:

  • Teach for Uganda, which recruits promising university graduates to teach in under-served communities and schools in Kamira in Luwero District, central Uganda, which will benefit an estimated 4,500 students beginning in the 2018 academic year;
  • Komensky institute (Slovakia), to help establish a teacher training programme that encourages independent thought, creativity, and seeks to inspire a society which uses critical reflection and create an inspirational space for pedagogical leaders of Slovakia;
  • National Teacher Prizes in the Arab World and Eastern Europe, a grant to the Arab Campaign for the Education of All (ACEA), led by the Teacher Creativity Center, to help pilot National Teacher Prizes in 15 Middle Eastern and East European countries (Iraq, Palestine, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Sudan, Somalia, Tunisia, Morocco, Yemen, Sudan, Mauritania, Georgia, Albania and Armenia).

Sunny Varkey, founder of the Varkey Foundation, said:

“The aim of the Challenge Fund is to support innovative early-stage programmes which have the potential for far-reaching impact and scaleability.

“The projects receiving funding are deserving recipients and support the Varkey Foundation’s vision for every child to have the right to a stimulating learning environment and a great teacher that supports their full potential.”

Amy Shocker, Executive Director of Invincible Me, said:

“We are so grateful to the Varkey Foundation for this award, which will enable Invincible Me to start on what we hope will be a long and meaningful journey working with teachers and schools to bring about a profound transformation in the way we support children’s mental health.

“I can’t imagine being a teacher today and not having any understanding of common mental health issues. Teachers today cannot just walk into their classroom and teach their lessons; they need to do what they can to ensure their students are in an optimal position to learn, and that means addressing their wellbeing on an ongoing basis.”

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The grants will be implemented from April for a maximum of one year.  This is the second tranche of awards under the fund, after four projects received a share of US $200,000 last year.

As well as receiving funding from the Varkey Foundation, some of the 2016 and 2017 grantees under the Challenge Fund will be participating in a ‘Dragons’ Den-style’ event at GESF by making face-to-face funding ‘pitches’ to potential investors.

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Global Education and Skills Forum

New former education ministers group to advise governments on global education challenges

A new expert group comprising 20 former Education Ministers and Heads of State, that will provide advice on global education issues to current governments, was launched today at the Global Education & Skills Forum (GESF) 2017.

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A new expert group comprising 20 former Education Ministers and Heads of State, that will provide advice on global education issues to current governments, was launched today at the Global Education & Skills Forum (GESF) 2017.

The group is meeting for the first time at the GESF, and is being named after the location of its first meeting: The Atlantis Palm in Dubai on 18-19 March 2017.

The founding principle of the group is “to bring together the skills and experiences of former Ministers of Education and interested former Heads of State across the world to help address ongoing challenges in global education.”  Members of the globally-diverse group include Arne Duncan, former US Secretary of Education under President Obama; former UK Education Secretary Michael Gove; former Greek President George Papandreou; former Lebanese Minister Elias Bou Saab; and former Peruvian Minister and incoming Head of the World Bank Education team Jaime Saveedra.

Together, the Atlantis Group has more than 65 cumulative years of experience in public office overseeing education systems around the world.

The Atlantis Group will act as an advisory body to education ministries around the world who are dealing with issues relating to education in their own country, drawing upon the views and experiences of members to provide the highest quality expertise and recommendations.

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The group will meet at the GESF every year and on at least one other occasion annually.  In addition, individual members and small sub-groups may be asked to conduct further work throughout the year – such as visiting countries at the request of education ministries that request advice.

The group will be advised by Irina Bokova (Director-General, UNESCO); Andreas Schleicher (Director of Education and Skills, OECD); and Professor Fernando Reimers (Faculty Director, International Education Policy, at Harvard University).  The Varkey Foundation, who established the GESF and the Global Teacher Prize, will provide the secretariat for the group.

Initially, the group will undertake a year-long piece of work considering the issue of the future of education leadership at all levels. 

The topic has been selected because the ability of any education system to deliver on the ambitions which governments, teachers, donors, students and citizens have for it requires excellent leadership at all levels. The challenge only grows as education systems around the world face increasingly complex issues, new challenges and opportunities such as technological advancement.

In addition, the group will consider the issue of political leadership. Education Ministers often have no specific expertise of their brief before taking up office and have little or no time to undergo training or preparation, meaning it is even more important that there is a shared understanding on how to be an effective leader of a national education system. The unique membership of the Atlantis Group makes this element of study particularly of interest.

Vikas Pota, Chief Executive of the Varkey Foundation, said:

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“Education is constantly evolving and we can learn from the experiences of the past in terms of what worked, what didn’t and how we can use that knowledge to better develop the education systems of the future.

This it the first time that such a group has been formed and it can have a powerful impact on current global education debates. Members of the group have deep experience, unique perspectives and can speak freely as they’re no longer tied to particular Government positions. We look forward to seeing their recommendations.”

Image used for represemtational purpose only

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