THE spotlight is now on the country’s best educators, thanks to the inaugural Malaysia Teacher Prize.
SK Klang, Selangor, special education teacher Wan Muadzam Wan Abidin, who invented a device to help visually impaired students to run and train in track and field, and SJK(C) Chi Seng 2, Perak, Mathematics teacher Goh Kok Ming, who integrates Minecraft and other applications into his teaching and gives students coding classes after school hours to provide them with digital skills, are among the Top 10 shortlisted teachers recognised for their exceptional contribution in educating young minds. Joining the list are Anuthra Sirisena (SMJK Chung Hwa Tenom, Sabah); Tan Shi Min (SMK Syed Ibrahim, Kedah); Shyielathy Arumugam (SMK Datuk Haji Abdul Wahab, Perak); Khairil Azmir Ahmad (SMKA Perempuan Alawiyah, Perlis); Kumaresan Muniandy (SM Pendidikan Khas Vokasional Merbok, Kedah); Anita Md. Yasin (Keningau Vocational College, Sabah); Shahril Othman (SK Seri Samudera, Perak); and Aishah Mohamed Hamdan (SMK Raja Permaisuri Bainun, Perak).
All of the Top 10 teachers will receive professional development to help them understand the impact they are making and scale their work beyond their classrooms.
The winner will take home the RM50,000 grand prize while four other teachers in the Top Five will be awarded RM5,000 each.
The Malaysia Teacher Prize award, organised by Pemimpin GSL and supported by YTL Foundation, is the first local edition of the world-renowned Global Teacher Prize to honour the outstanding contribution of the teaching profession and to highlight the important role teachers play in society.
Over 800 applications were received by the organiser from May 10 to July 17.
The Top 10 were selected based on their innovative classroom practices, contribution to the teaching fraternity and their community, best usage of the prize money and their journey towards becoming an educator.
Anuthra, who founded the Tenom Innovation Centre, has upskilled more than 2,000 teachers and students, while Tan has been guiding her students to achieve the highest passing grade in English with her innovation called the “Wheel of Learning”.
Shyielathy has been transforming illustrations from her special needs students into characters of her picture books, while Khairil Azmir and his students have contributed to designing and producing 20 murals in the Kangar Street 2.0 programme.
Kumaresan collaborates with hoteliers to provide his students with real work experiences during the school holidays; Anita uses her award-winning teaching tools and techniques that enable her students to engage the community through workshops and aid programmes; and Shahril shares his teaching practices through seminars and workshops to help teachers and parents support their kids at home.
He also provides free online classes on mathematics which involve over 400 students.
A proponent of project-based learning, Aishah has facilitated student projects from musicals to environmental and waste management which have led to an increase in student engagement and an improvement in her school’s English subject average grade (GPMP).
YTL Foundation, said its programme director Datuk Kathleen Chew, is proud to support the Malaysia Teacher Prize through Pemimpin GSL.
“This has given us the opportunity to spotlight and celebrate the work of teachers.
“I am confident that the Top 10 finalists will continue to inspire other teachers and the entire nation with their stories and their drive to improve student outcomes,” she said in a press release dated Sept 20.
Pemimpin GSL chief executive officer Cheryl Ann Fernando said the Top 10 finalists remind us of the important work teachers do every day in the classrooms to make a difference.
“These teachers have challenged the norms and gone beyond the call of duty to ensure every child in their classroom is given an opportunity to fulfil their potential.
“We know that these outstanding individuals will inspire not just the teaching community, but also the nation at large for their passion and commitment to their students and society,” she said.
The stories of these teachers, said Pemimpin GSL programme director Samuel Isaiah, are a part of the larger narrative of Malaysian teachers doing amazing things.
“The next step is for us to think about how we can scale the ideas on a national and international level,” he said, adding that the Malaysia Teacher Prize will provide a long-term development plan for the Top 10 teachers so that they can continue to refine their teaching methods and transfer this knowledge to teachers nationwide.
The award ceremony will take place this Friday.
Selected teachers will be showcasing their teaching methods at the Leaps of Knowledge conference on Saturday from 8.30am to 5pm at JW Marriott, Kuala Lumpur.