Palestinian teacher Nesreen Qutainah has been nominated in the top 50 shortlist for the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2021. (Photo via social media)
Palestinian teacher Nesreen Qutainah has been nominated in the top 50 shortlist for the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2021, in partnership with UNESCO.
The Palestinian Minister of Education, Marwan Awartani, congratulated the teacher on this achievement, noting that the Palestinian teacher, despite the circumstances teachers are going through as a result of the challenges imposed by the Israeli Occupation and the coronavirus pandemic, continue to work really hard.
Nesreen is a science and maths teacher at Dura Martyrs Elementary School in the southern West Bank city of AlKhalil.
Now in its seventh year, the $1 million Global Teacher Prize is the largest prize of its kind.
Nesreen, shortlisted for the Global Teacher Prize 2021, was selected from over 8,000 nominations and applications from 121 countries around the world.
The Global Teacher Prize was set up to recognize one exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession as well as to shine a spotlight on the important role teachers play in society. By unearthing thousands of stories of heroes that have transformed young people’s lives, the prize hopes to bring to life the exceptional work of millions of teachers all over the world.
This year, the Varkey Foundation launched the Chegg.org Global Student Prize, a sister award to the Global Teacher Prize, to create a powerful new platform that shines a light on the efforts of extraordinary students everywhere who are reshaping our world for the better. The winning student will receive $100,000.
"If we are to rebuild a better world in the wake of COVID we must prioritize giving every child their birthright of quality education. It is the next generation, with teachers as their guide, who will safeguard the future for us all", said Nesreen Qutainah.
Nesreen, who teaches science and maths in a Palestinian primary school, follows two guiding principles: "enlighten a mind, and you will revive a person", and "no to stereotypes, yes to creativity". Learning through play is key to her approach, particularly as many of her students struggle in mathematics and dislike school. For example, she asks children to compose stories based on what they have learned in science or sing songs about math.
She often shares what she has learned about teaching, as well as educational videos, on her YouTube channel, which has 12,000 followers. During COVID, she designed colorful educational booklets to keep children learning, which she personally distributed to her own students and children living in marginalized communities.
Sunny Varkey, founder of the Varkey Foundation, said: "Congratulations to Nesreen for reaching the final 50. Her story clearly highlights the importance of education in tackling the great challenges ahead – from climate change to growing inequality to global pandemics. It is only by prioritizing education that we can safeguard all our tomorrows. Education is the key to facing the future with confidence."
Applications and nominations for this year’s teacher and student prizes opened on Tuesday 2 February and closed on Sunday 16 May. The $1m award was won last year by Indian village teacher Ranjitsinh Disale.
The top 10 finalists of both the Global Teacher Prize and the Global Student Prize will be announced in October this year. The winners of both prizes will be chosen from the respective top 10 finalists by the Global Teacher Prize Academy and the Global Student Prize Academy made up of prominent individuals. The winners are due to be announced at an awards ceremony in Paris in November.