KUALA LUMPUR: English language teacher Samuel Isaiah from SK Runchang, Muadzam Shah, Pahang, has been named one of the 10 finalists for the Global Teacher Prize 2020, in partnership with Unesco.
He was selected from over 12,000 nominations and applications from over 140 countries worldwide, said a statement issued by the Varkey Foundation which runs the Global Teacher Prize as part of its commitment to improving the status of teachers.
Samuel introduced many projects and programmes to inspire his Orang Asli students to dream big and, crucially, to connect them to the outside world, including an email exchange project called “Asli E-Pal”, where they communicate in English with adult volunteers from all over Malaysia as well as overseas.
He 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 increased from 30% in 2012 to between 80% and 85% in 2015 to 2018, said the foundation.
Other finalists include Ranjitsinh Disale from India, Olasunkanmi Opeifa (Nigeria), Jamie Frost (UK), Carlo Mazzone (Italy), Mokhudu Cynthia Machaba (South Africa), Leah Juelke (US) and Yun Jeong-hyun (South Korea).
“Congratulations to Samuel Isaiah for being selected as a top 10 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.
“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 (the Covid-19 pandemic) to global education,” said assistant director-general for education at Unesco, Stefania Giannini.
This year’s Global Teacher Prize ceremony will be held virtually for the first time due to the pandemic, and is expected to take place on Dec 3, where the overall winner will be announced.