Global Teacher Prize
A US $1 million award presented annually to an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to their profession.
The Global Teacher Prize serves to underline the importance of educators and the fact that, throughout the world, their efforts deserve to be recognised and celebrated. It seeks to acknowledge the impacts of the very best teachers – not only on their students but on the communities around them.
An inadequate education is a major factor behind the social, political, economic and health issues faced by the world today. We believe education has the power to reduce poverty, prejudice and conflict.
Teachers work tirelessly to provide an education for children around the world so the status of teachers is critically important to our global future. Teacher status has a significant impact on recruitment, retention, job satisfaction and performance.
In 2013, the Varkey Foundation commissioned Populus, the leading research and strategy consultancy, to gather in-depth opinions from 21 countries to explore attitudes about the teaching profession; teachers’ salaries; students’ attitudes towards educators and how participants rated their own education systems.
The results, published as the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Status Index, formed the first comprehensive attempt to compare the status of teachers across the world.
In many countries, it was clear that the profession’s status had dropped and the findings shocked Sunny Varkey, the Varkey Foundation’s Chairman, whose parents had both been teachers. He founded the Global Teacher Prize as a response with the aim of raising the profession’s profile.
Global Teacher Prize: the Impact
We believe the Global Teacher Prize is making a real difference to the profession and having a very positive effect at both a grassroots level and on the global stage.
In the prize’s inaugural year, there were over 5,000 entries from 127 countries which generated a huge amount of media interest. Reporting around the world has been tremendously supportive of the shortlisted teachers while a host of high profile endorsers have included His Holiness Pope Francis, Prince William, Prince Harry, Stephen Hawking, Hugh Jackman and Bill Gates who have been very vocal in their support.
Since 2014, the Global Teacher Prize has gone from strength to strength, with the 2021 Prize bringing in over 8,000 applications and nominations. The Prize has inspired over 40 National Teacher Prizes to recognise and celebrate teachers at country level.
US teacher Keishia Thorpe, who has opened up college education for low-income, first-generation American, immigrant and refugee students, has been named the winner of the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2021, in partnership with UNESCO.
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Global Teacher Prize Finalists
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