The world’s “greatest” teacher will win $1m (£622,000) in a new contest designed to raise the global status of the profession.
The organisers of the award – the philanthropic arm of GEMS, a Dubai-based international private schools chain – say they want it to seen as the equivalent to a ‘Nobel Prize of education’. It is expected that it will be given annually.
Sunny Varkey, founder of the Varkey GEMS Foundation, said: “We will invite all countries of the world to participate in the prize through national nominations. Citizens of each nation will be encouraged to root for their candidates and their most illustrious teachers to create an atmosphere of global excitement about the selection of the greatest teacher.
"All that will help us achieve our goal of raising and improving the status of teachers around the world,” said the UNESCO goodwill ambassador (pictured, below, picking up award).
Earlier this month the foundation published a global teacher status index, which compared the relative standing of teachers in 21 industrialised nations.
It found that teachers in China had the highest status with the UK right in the middle of the rankings and Israel at the bottom.
Nominations for the new prize will open in March. “A panel of judges made up of former leaders from around the world, and prominent members of the community, as well as education experts and students, will judge each candidate to arrive at the winner,” Mr Varkey added.
“The voting process and the counting of the votes will be audited by the PricewaterhouseCoopers, which will ensure neutrality and success of the process.”