UAE Teacher named in the Top 50 shortlist of the Global Teacher Prize 2019


Rashed Hashem, a Physical Education and Health teacher at Al Moatasem Public School for boys in Baniyas, Abu Dhabi, UAE, has been included in the top 50 shortlist for the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2019 at Now in its fifth year, the US$1 million award is the largest prize of its kind.

The teachers shortlisted for the Global Teacher Prize 2019 were selected from over 10,000 nominations and applications from 179 countries around the world.

Separate to this, there have also been tens of thousands of applications this year for the 33 national Teacher Prizes that have been inspired by the Global Teacher Prize, since its launch five years ago. The winners of each National Teacher Prize were also put forward for consideration when the top 50 shortlist was decided.

The Global Teacher Prize was set up to recognise 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.

Rashed Hashem works in a remote school around 40km away from the capital. He decided to pursue his hopes of studying and got the first doctorate in his particular field in the UAE. Since then Rashed has contributed to the teaching profession by equipping non-traditional learning environments to improve students' learning levels through mobility. Rashed has used his experience in sports for people with disabilities to create innovative physical applications for student use. He established the first laboratory of hyperactivity, followed by the Smart Carpet laboratory, which promotes learning by motion through an interactive digital application.

He considers his greatest achievement is the establishment of innovative non-traditional educational laboratories at the Zayed Center for the Mind Industry, the first educational centre of its kind in the Middle East. His methods have had a significant impact on improving student learning in areas of renewable energy, indoor gardens and health nutrition, and these innovations contributed to an improvement in his school's assessment from 15% to 67% in 2018. He has contributed to many international conference papers to improve understanding of teaching using tech with sports. He is the first Emirati teacher to deliver 18 scientific papers to international conferences, and the first Emirati teacher appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador by the United Nations. He won the Mohammed bin Zayed Award for Best Gulf Teacher in 2018, and also received the UAE Medal in 2015 from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

The top 50 shortlist has representatives from 39 countries and by highlighting their stories the Varkey Foundation hopes that the public will be able to join in passionate debates about the importance of teachers. The winner will be announced at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai on Sunday 24 March 2019.

Last month, The Varkey Foundation released the Global Teacher Status Index 2018, which showed for the very first time that there is a direct link between teacher status and pupil performance as measured by PISA scores. Countries which have higher teacher status are more likely to record higher PISA scores. This new finding for the 2018 Index shows that high teacher status is not just a nice to have – increasing it is likely, all things being equal, to lead to greater student outcomes in that country.

Sunny Varkey, founder of the Varkey Foundation and the Global Teacher Prize, said:

“Congratulations to Rashed for reaching the final 50. I hope his story inspires those looking to enter the teaching profession and highlights the incredible work teachers do all over the world every day.

“Our recent Global Teacher Status Index finally gives academic proof to something that we’ve always instinctively known: the link between the status of teachers in society and the performance of children in school.  Now we can say beyond doubt that respecting teachers isn’t only an important moral duty – it’s essential for a country’s educational outcomes.

“We’re also delighted that the Global Teacher Prize, since its launch five years ago, has now inspired over 30 national teacher prizes, which means our ultimate goal of shining a light on great teachers has grown strong national roots, something which is crucial if we’re to return teachers to their rightful position as one of the most respected professions in society.”

The top 50 shortlisted teachers are narrowed down to ten finalist teachers by a Prize Committee, with that result announced in February 2019. The winner will then be chosen from these ten finalists by the Global Teacher Prize Academy. All ten finalists will be invited to Dubai for the Award ceremony at the Global Education and Skills Forum (GESF) on Sunday 24 March next year, where the winner will be announced live on stage.

Further information about the top 50 shortlist will be available from Thursday 13 December here:

To join the conversation online follow #TeachersMatter on: and

The winner of this year’s Prize, announced in March at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai, was Andria Zafirakou, an Art and Textiles teacher from Alperton Community School, Brent, London. The glittering award ceremony was hosted by comedian and actor Trevor Noah and included a special musical performance by Oscar-winning actress and Grammy award-winning singer Jennifer Hudson. Five time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton raced to the ceremony escorted by three Dubai Police supercars to deliver the Global Teacher Prize trophy to the stage and Prime Minister Theresa May delivered a special video message to the ceremony thanking Andria for her work.





  1. The Varkey Foundation believes every child deserves a vibrant, stimulating learning environment that awakens and supports their full potential. We believe nothing is more important to achieving this than the passion and quality of teachers. We founded the Global Teacher Prize to shine a spotlight on the incredible work teachers do all over the world and we continue to play a leading role in influencing education debates on the status of teachers around the world.
  2. The Top 50 shortlisted teachers will be narrowed down to the final Top 10 teachers by a Prize Committee. The winner will then be chosen from these Top 10 finalists by the Global Teacher Prize Academy. The Prize Committee and the Academy will look for evidence that applicants for the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize meet the following criteria: 
  • Employing effective instructional practices that are replicable and scalable to influence the quality of education globally.
  • Employing innovative instructional practices that address the particular challenges of the school, community or country and which have shown sufficient evidence to suggest they could be effective in addressing such challenges in a new way.
  • Achieving demonstrable student learning outcomes in the classroom.
  • Impact in the community beyond the classroom that provide unique and distinguished models of excellence for the teaching profession and others.
  • Helping children become global citizens through providing them with a values-based education that equips them for a world where they will potentially live, work and socialise with people from many different nationalities, cultures and religions.
  • Improving the teaching profession through helping to raise the bar of teaching, sharing best practice, and helping colleagues overcome any challenges they face in their school.
  • Teacher recognition from governments, national teaching organisations, head-teachers, colleagues, members of the wider community or pupils.
  1. The Global Teacher Prize Academy includes prominent names such as Wendy Kopp, co-founder and CEO of Teach for All; Brett Wigdortz, founder of Teach First, James E Ryan, Dean and Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Education, United States, Jeffrey D. Sachs, world-renowned professor of economics and special advisor to the UN and Lewis Pugh, the only person to have completed a long distance swim in every ocean of the world.
  2. The Global Teacher Prize winner will be paid the prize money in equal installments over ten years, and the Varkey Foundation will provide the winner with financial counseling. Without compromising their work in the classroom, the winner will be asked to serve as a global ambassador for the Varkey Foundation, attending public events and speaking in public forums about improving the prestige of the teaching profession.
  3. The prize is open to currently working teachers who teach children that are in compulsory schooling, or are between the ages of five and eighteen. Teachers who teach children age 4+ in an Early Years government-recognised curriculum are also eligible, as are teachers who teach on a part-time basis, and teachers of online courses. Teachers must spend at least 10 hours per week teaching children and plan to remain in the profession for the next 5 years. It is open to teachers in every kind of school and, subject to local laws, in every country in the world. Applications for the 2019 prize opened on Wednesday 6 June 2018 and closed on 23 September 2018 with teachers able to apply in English, Mandarin, Arabic, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian.
  4. PwC will be responsible for ensuring that the balloting process is fair and accurate.  Criminal record and other background checks will be conducted on the shortlisted candidates. Top ten finalists from Global Teacher Prize 2018 could not apply for Global Teacher Prize 2019.
  5. The Global Teacher Prize is part of the Varkey Foundation’s long-standing commitment to improve the status of teachers.  In November 2013, the foundation published the Global Teacher Status Index, the first attempt to compare attitudes towards teachers in 21 countries.  The index found that there were significant differences between the status of teachers worldwide. The survey also found that in many countries, between a third and half of parents would “probably” or “definitely not” encourage their children to enter the teaching profession. In November 2018 the Varkey Foundation revisited the theme and widened its scope, polling over 40,000 people in 35 countries. The Global Teacher Status Index 2018 showed for the first time a direct link between teacher status and pupil performance as measured by PISA scores. Countries with higher teacher status are more likely to record higher PISA scores, the report demonstrated, showing high teacher status can lead to greater student outcomes in a country. The full Global Teacher Status Indexes can be found at:


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