In a development which points towards their growing prominence, Indian teachers are being urged to apply for the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2016 at globalteacherprize.org. The largest prize of its kind, the award values USD 1 million. Now in its second year, the award was set up to recognise a teacher who has made exceptional contribution to the profession as well as shine a spotlight on the important role teachers play in society.
The Varkey Foundation and Club de Madrid published an open letter signed by over 25 former world leaders calling on ‘Governments around the world to protect and value teachers, and play their part in restoring the respect that they so richly deserve’. “Frequently the ills of society are laid at the door of teachers. They are blamed for everything from a decline in manners among young people to a lack of basic skills in the workplace. They have even, on occasion, been blamed for a country’s poor economic performance. Too often politicians see teachers as an easy target for short-term political gain”, the letter states.
In 2014, a total of 193 teachers from India applied for the prize, which was higher than any other country including the US (174) and Nigeria (98). India had three teachers in the final 50 shortlisted candidates and one teacher in the final ten.
The applicants for the Global Teacher Prize 2016 will be shortlisted down to a top fifty and then a final ten, which will be announced in February 2016. The winner will be chosen from the ten finalists by the global teacher prize academy made up of prominent individuals including academy award winning actor Kevin Spacey; Wendy Kopp, CEO Teach For All; and Brett Wigdortz, Founder of Teach First. All ten finalists will be flown to Dubai for an award ceremony taking place at the Global Education and Skills Forum in March 2016 where the winner will be announced live. The closing date for applications is October 10, 2015.
It may be mentioned that the teaching is gaining prominence as a profession in nation building. Even in India, selected teachers across the nation will soon be conferred with a ‘National Award for the use of information and communication technology in education’. CBSE recently released the details of ICT awards for teachers.
Schools following the CBSE curriculum, both government and private, have recognised how training in computers helps in the overall development of students, and this is possible only with the help of those teachers who have worked on the establishment and integrating of classroom teaching with ICT.
The government has launched various steps to introduce ICT in schools one such major step was ICT @Schools which provided a new platform of learning. In December 2004, ICT was launched in schools to provide opportunities to secondary stage students to develop ICT skills and promote ICT aided learning process. Under this scheme, teachers are conferred with a ‘National Award for the use of ICT in education’.