Dubai schools group launches Nobel-style prize for education

Candidates will be nominated by nations around the world and judged by an international jury committee for the contest being launched in the UAE.

Powered by automated translation

ABU DHABI // The world’s greatest teacher will win a US$1 million (Dh3.7m) Nobel-style prize – and the search is being launched next year in the UAE.

Candidates will be nominated by nations around the world and judged by an international jury committee.

The contest will begin at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai next March, chaired by the former US president Bill Clinton.

The prize was announced on Tuesday by Sunny Varkey, chairman of Gems, the worldwide education group based in Dubai, and founder of the Varkey Gems Foundation, its philanthropic arm.

“To support education is to support human progress and valuing teachers is to value the real agents of change in society,” said Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai and patron of the prize.

“We are proud of our businessmen, who are thinking of humanity and are globally minded. Mr Varkey’s effort is exceptional, and exemplary. We hope other business leaders follow his example.”

Mr Varkey said: “Our goal for this award is to emulate the Nobel Prizes, but in the field of education. We will endeavour to find the greatest teacher in the world.

“Sheikh Mohammed has long held the importance of education and teachers up high, inspiring the idea of celebrating the role and raising the status of teachers, not just locally, but also globally.

“We want to promote teachers as stars and to support the quality of education to highlight the enormous impact teachers have on our lives.”

Gems Education is a family business founded in 1959. It operates about 70 schools worldwide, more than 40 of them in the UAE.

ecleland@thenational.ae