|27 Sep 2023
|2023 Finalists Global Teacher Prize
Sadat’s father died when he was just a year old, and although his mother and his eldest brother both worked hard to support the family, it wasn't enough to pay for his schooling. As the youngest, Sadat had to work extra hard to go through school and earn his bachelor and graduate degrees. Throughout the first two years of school, he walked approximately two hours each way. As he had only one school uniform, he had to wash and wear it every day. In 1994, there was an armed conflict in his village that forced him to abruptly stop schooling in the third grade: his family was compelled to flee to Cotabato City, where he completed his elementary school education. Afterward, Sadat completed his high school education thanks to a scholarship programme that allowed him to live on campus and work for four years, before going on to college for a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. To this day he is the only member of his family who has completed his education. These early life experiences of being a working student were what primarily inspired Sadat to pursue a career in teaching underprivileged students.
In early 2013, Sadat became a public school teacher and was assigned to Amirol Elementary School. Since then, the schools he has taught at have all had similar problems. War and poverty mean that education is a challenge. 70 per cent of students come from different communities and must walk approximately an hour every day to get to the classroom. 20 per cent of students have nutritional problems because their families cannot afford to provide them with healthy meals. Every year, violent conflict forces more than 30 per cent of families to flee their homes. Before Sadat obtained his teaching license, he worked for an NGO delivering psychological intervention programmes for adults and children – an experience that has been invaluable in his teaching career, since many of his students are products of domestic violence, neglect, child labour, broken families, and poverty.
Since becoming a teacher in 2013, Sadat has been promoted first to Master Teacher, then to Teacher-In-Charge of Darping Elementary School, and subsequently to Principal of Lugay-Lugay Central School. He has made great efforts to become an effective teacher, improve the performance of his schools, and make a positive impact on his students. In 2019, Sadat was named Outstanding UNESCO Club Educator of the Philippines and Outstanding Teacher in Southeast Asia as a recipient of the Princess Maha Chakrhe Award. In 2022 he also received an Outstanding Public Servant award from Taga Cotabato Ka Kung (TCKK), an NGO in Cotabato City. If Sadat wins the Global Teacher Prize, he will share a quarter of the prize funds with the other Top 10 finalists to support their projects. Of the remaining amount, some funds will be used to pay for the education of his four children, and some will be used to provide learning resources, a reading park, better Internet connections and additional computers for Sadat’s school. He will also adopt a school in a far-flung area to accommodate learners who have difficulties traveling, as well as creating a scholarship to support the needs of underprivileged learners.