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Bill Gates hails power of teaching, as Global Teacher Prize shortlist is announced

Microsoft co-founder says having a great teacher can be 'the most important factor' that determines whether students receive a great education

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Microsoft co-founder says having a great teacher can be 'the most important factor' that determines whether students receive a great education

Education is a “master switch” for life's opportunities, Bill Gates has said, as it was announced that a London-based teacher is in the running for the million-dollar Global Teacher Prize.

Andria Zafirakou, who works at Alperton Community School in Brent, north-west London, has made it into the final 10 of the fourth annual Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize, which recognises an individual's outstanding contribution to the profession.

In a video message paying tribute to the finalists, Gates 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.”

The Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist said the finalists were chosen partly for their proven abilities in inspiring students and helping them to learn.

He added: “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 finalists were drawn from 30,000 entries from 173 countries, and from a shortlist of 50. The award will be presented at a ceremony in Dubai on Sunday 18 March, at the Global Education and Skills Forum, with the winner receiving US$1 million.

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