A school in Uganda that started in two rooms after civil war and a public school in Chile which teaches underprivileged children are among the five winners of the $250,000 World’s Best School Prize announced on Wednesday.
T4 Education, a platform for educators and schools, announced the winners during an online ceremony.
The $250,000 prize will be shared equally among the five schools, with each receiving an award of $50,000.
Schools were awarded across five different categories including environmental action, innovation, community collaboration, supporting pupils' health, and overcoming adversity.
Project Shelter Wakadogo in Uganda, which was founded in 2009 in the aftermath of two decades of civil war, won the World’s Best School Prize for overcoming adversity.
Located in a remote village in Gulu, northern Uganda, the school has flourished from a school with only two classrooms to educating more than 450 pupils, with one of the highest pupil retention rates in the country.
Dunoon Grammar School in Scotland was named the winner of the World’s Best School Prize for community collaboration. The school works to ensure pupils reach their destinations post-school and connects them to work placements, while developing their entrepreneurial skills.
Curie Metropolitan High School in Chicago was named the winner for supporting healthy lives. It offers integrated health services and programmes to ensure pupils are healthy, safe, engaged and supported.
Bonuan Buquig National High School in the Philippines won the prize for environmental action. The school took action to replant lost mangroves to reverse the environmental devastation affecting its pupils, as most of them live near fish ponds and coastal areas.
Escuela Emilia Lascar in Chile won the prize for innovation, as it overcame the challenges of the pandemic by using the power of TV to help pupils focus on their studies.
Vikas Pota, founder of T4 Education and the World’s Best School Prizes, said the competition was created to acknowledge the work and expertise of “trailblazing schools from every corner of the globe so that leaders can learn from their incredible stories”.
“Far too many children will continue to be left behind after Covid unless governments take urgent action to tackle the education crisis,” he said.
“As a first step, they must turn to the knowledge and experience contained within our schools because those on the front lines of education know better than anyone else the change we need to see.”
The awards aim to share the best practices of schools that are transforming the lives of pupils.
UAE schools shortlisted
Two UAE schools were shortlisted for the World’s Best School Prizes earlier this year.
Gems Legacy School in Dubai was named in the top 10 shortlist for environmental action, while Shining Star International School in Abu Dhabi was named in the top 10 shortlist for innovation.
All the schools shortlisted across the five prizes, including the two UAE schools, will showcase their expertise in tool kits on the new T4 Communities app launched this week.
The winners were chosen by a panel of judges which included academics, educators, members of non-governmental organisations, government, civil society, the private sector, and entrepreneurs.
Judges were informed by a public advisory vote in which nearly 50,000 people from around the world voted for their favourite schools.