KUALA LUMPUR: English teacher Samuel Isaiah has been named among the top 10 finalists in the running for the 2020 Global Teacher Prize.
The USD1 million-award (RM4.3 million) is organised by Varkey Foundation in partnership with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
Samuel, who teaches orang asli students at SK Runchang, Muadzam Shah in Pahang, was shortlisted for the award after being selected from over 12,000 nominations and applications from over 140 countries.
English comedian, actor, writer and presenter Stephen Fry, who announced the finalists via a video message, said Samuel's dedication has inspired the students to dream big and to connect with the outside world.
"You travelled 200km to and from school every day to reach your students, the orang asli, who live in the rainforest.
"You provided laptops and tablets for your students through a national crowdfunding campaign and dedicate yourself to inspiring your students to dream big and to connect with the outside world.
"This has resulted in your school's average pass rate in English increasing from 30 per cent to between 80 per cent and 85 per cent. Congratulations Samuel and thank you for everything you do," said Fry.
For the award, Samuel will be joining finalists Indian teacher Ranjitsinh Disale, Nigerian teacher Olasunkanmi Opeifa, British teacher Jamie Frost, Italian teacher Carlo Mazzone, South African teacher Mokhudu Cynthia Machaba, American teacher Leah Juelke and South Korean teacher Yun Jeong-hyun.
The remaining top 10 finalists will be announced one each week in the run-up to the Global Teacher Prize ceremony, which will be virtual for the very first time due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The ceremony is expected to take place Dec 3, where the overall winner will be announced and hosted by Fry from the Natural History Museum in London.