The top 10 finalists for the US$1 million Global Teacher Prize have been announced.
The shortlist includes teachers from Spain, Pakistan, Germany, Jamaica, the United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil, Australia, Kenya, and China.
The top 10 finalists are:
- 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 Antonio dos Santos Neves in Boa Esperanca, Brazil
- Marie-Christine Ghanbari Jahromi, a physical education, maths and German teacher at Gesamtschule Gescher school, Gescher, Germany
- Tracy-Ann Hall, an automotive technology teacher at Jonathan Grant High School in Spanish Town, Jamaica
- Maggie MacDonnell, a teacher at Ikusik School, Kativik School Board, Canadian Arctic
- Ken Silburn, a science teacher at Casula High School, south-west Sydney, Australia
- Yang Boya, a psychology teacher at The Affiliated Middle School of Kunming Teachers College, Yunnan province, China
- Michael Wamaya, a dance teacher from Mathare, Nairobi, Kenya
- Raymond Chambers, a computer science teacher from Brooke Weston Academy in Corby, Northamptonshire, United Kingdom
The shortlist was announced by Prince Harry in a video message. He 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.
"The finalists for this year's Global Teacher Prize are from every corner of the world from the Canadian Arctic to Kenya and Pakistan. But there's one thing they all have in common - they spark curiosity within a child and nurture the dreams that can change our world for the better."
Varkey Foundation founder Sunny Varkey said: "I want to congratulate all of the top ten finalists 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.
"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 finalists have been culled from a list of 50, which were originally shortlisted from 20,000 nominations and applications from 179 countries.
Commenting on the growing popularity of the award, Varkey Foundation chief executive Vikas Pota told Education Journal Middle East: "Of course we are keen to ensure this isn't just a one-off annual event, and Global Teacher Prize activity continues throughout the year. The winner will visit major events around the globe and we encourage the great work of teachers to be shared all year round on channels such as the Global Teacher Prize Twitter feed."
Explaining the process, he added: "A top 50 shortlist of teachers was narrowed down to the final ten teachers by a Global Teacher Prize Committee. The winner will be chosen from these ten finalists by the Global Teacher Prize Academy. The Prize Committee and the Academy will look for evidence that applicants meet a six-point criteria."
Members of the Global Teacher Prize Academy include Freida Pinto, an actress from the United States; Wendy Kopp, co-founder and CEO of Teach for All; Brett Wigdortz, founder and CEO of Teach First, Nick Booth, CEO, The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry; James E Ryan, dean and professor, Harvard Graduate School of Education; Jeffrey D. Sachs, world-renowned professor of economics and special advisor to the UN; and Lewis Pugh, a long distance swimmer.
Previous winners of the Global Teacher Prize include Palestinian teacher Hanan Al Hroub in 2016, and Nancie Atwell from the United States in 2015.
An initiative of the Varkey Foundation, the annual event awards $1 million to an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to their profession.
The winner will be announced on the final day of the Global Education & Skills Forum, which will be held from March March 18-19 at Atlantis The Palm, Dubai.