On 7 October, as part of the 20th anniversary celebrations for World Teacher’s Day, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, awarded the 2014 UNESCO-Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Prize for Outstanding Practice and Performance in Enhancing the Effectiveness of Teachers.
"By identifying excellence in pedagogical practices and promoting these across the world, this Prize provides a direct support to the work of teachers," said the Director-General. Affirming that "putting education first means putting teachers first," she cautioned that "far too often, teachers teach without the right training, without the resources they need."
Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashin Al Maktoum stated that the Prize aimed to fight poverty through education, by helping teachers to improve their practice and performance. "This prize is given to those who have done their best to improve the efficiency of teachers and face up to challenges in new ways, for the pursuit of quality education," he said, thanking all the laureates for their presence.
Thanking His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum for his vision of the importance of quality education, the Director-General said: “this is the spirit of all UNESCO’s action, to promote quality education for all, to put education first on national and global agendas.”
For this third edition of the Prize, three laureates were selected from 99 projects received from 64 countries. The Director-General and Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum gave the awards to the following:
-Oxfam Novib and Education International (Belgium) for its programme “Quality Educators for All: Every Child needs a Good Teacher (Quality-Ed)”. The programme was established in Mali and Uganda in 2007. It brings together government representatives, teachers unions, civil society and academics to develop a competence profile for primary school teachers, in a bid to reform teacher training and professional development programmes.
-SOS Villages d’enfants (Madagascar) for its Teacher Training Programme, which has provided training, through non-formal classes, specifically targeting primary and secondary school teachers since 2011.
-The ProEd Foundation (Panama) was chosen for its Teachers Teaching Teachers – Professional Learning Community (PLC) project. This project aims to provide high-quality, continuous professional development for teachers and school administrators of all ethnic, socioeconomic and gender orientations in Panama’s public and low-income private schools.
“A good teacher holds the keys to quality learning,” declared the Director-General. “We know the importance of teachers but across the world, we are falling short,” she continued calling for “action to support teachers in every way, in the run-up to 2015 and in the new agenda that follows, to ensure strong conditions of employment, a good working environment, high-quality training and development, as well as effective management.
The Prize, created in 2009 and funded by Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, is awarded every two years to projects that make an exceptional contribution to the improvement of teaching quality, especially in developing countries or in disadvantaged or marginalized communities.