PETALING JAYA: A special education teacher has done the nation proud.
Dr Muhamad Khairul Anuar Hussin, 40, was among 50 educators shortlisted for the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2019.
The teachers were selected from over 10,000 nominations and from 179 countries, the foundation revealed yesterday.
“I only found out about it this morning,” Muhamad Khairul told The Star.
“When I submitted my entry, I didn’t expect to be shortlisted.
“I only wanted to share my experience and show how every teacher has the power to change the lives of special children.”
The teacher from Taman Universiti 2 Secondary School, Johor Baru, is the seventh Malaysian shortlisted for the prestigious award.
Madenjit Singh was the first Malaysian to be in the top 10 list. Yasmin Noorul Amin, Noorjahan Sultan, Vanesri Kasi, Mohd Sirhajwan Idek and K.A. Razhiyah were among the top 50 over the last three years.
The award carries a US$1mil (RM4.3mil) prize money, and is presented annually to an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession.
Muhamad Khairul, who lost part of his hearing when he was eight, said it was due to an ear infection.
“When I became a teacher, I worked with my blind colleagues and realised that I could make a difference.
“That’s when I became determined to do my best to make sure that no child gets left behind in our education system.”
Realising that equipment alone wasn’t enough to prepare his students for the real world, he devised an inclusive education model that prioritises social inclusion and co-teaching with mainstream students.
Believing that it’s the most effective way for them to learn communication, speech, language, self confidence and independence, he goes into rural areas and public places like supermarkets to raise awareness of the model.
Many of his students have gone on to further their education in vocational training and created lives for themselves as builders, cooks and plumbers.
His model was used as the basis for the country’s special educational needs teaching policy and guidance, the foundation said in a statement yesterday.
Congratulating Muhamad Khairul, Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik wished the teacher the best of luck.
“Muhamad Khairul has made the Malaysian teaching profession proud with his nomination,” he said.
Varkey Foundation and Global Teacher Prize founder Sunny Varkey hoped that Muhamad Khairul’s story would inspire others entering the teaching profession.
He said it was important to return teaching to its “rightful position” as one of the most respected professions in society.
Last month, the foundation released the Global Teacher Status Index 2018, which showed that countries with higher teacher status led to greater student outcomes.