Story dated:Sunday June 12th, 2016,03 58:pm

On the day that Prize applications open Hanan Al Hroub calls on Governments and aid agencies to ensure there is adequate funding and support measures for “traumatised” child refugees arriving in host countries

 Hanan Al HroubHanan Al Hroub, who won the Varkey Foundation’s US$1 million Global Teacher Prize 2016, today urged all UAE school pupils and parents to nominate their most inspirational teacher to win next year’s Prize.

The prize is awarded under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai.

Hanan Al Hroub, who was herself born in a refugee camp in Bethlehem, also called on Governments and aid agencies to ensure there is adequate funding, school places and social service support for traumatised refugee children entering new host countries.

Al Hroub, who won the Global Teacher prize for developing her ‘play and learn’ technique to help traumatised Palestinian primary school children, said:

“As I have experienced in my conflict-riven homeland, children who see conflict around them on a daily basis experience profound and deep-rooted psychological harm. It is therefore crucial that children that arrive in a new host country have a safe, secure and loving environment.

“The role of education for refugee children is not only to teach them to read and write, it is also to give them the resilience and persistence they need to deal with what they have experienced, and to avoid repeating the violence they have witnessed. 79% of children had experienced a death in the family, while 45% displayed symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, 10 times the usual prevalence in children.

 “Investment in language programmes is essential so that children can access schools in the country they are living in – it has been identified by the Migration Policy Institute as the primary reason children drop out of school in their host country.”

 The US$1 million award is the largest prize of its kind. It was established 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 transform young people’s lives, the prize hopes to bring to life the exceptional work of millions of teachers all over the world.

If UAE teachers apply, or are nominated, they could be potentially shortlisted as top 50 candidates later in the year and their inspirational stories publicised, helping to raise the bar of respect for the profession.

Sunny Varkey, Founder of the Global Teacher Prize, said: “Teachers matter. Teachers like Hanan Al Hroub, who heal young minds as well as teach them, are a shining example to us all. Now, more than ever before we need great teachers to grow great minds in order to solve the world’s problems. Raising the bar of respect and celebrating teachers across the world will ultimately play a vital role in helping to recruit and retain the most talented candidates for the profession.”

The applicants for the Global Teacher Prize 2017 will be shortlisted down to a top fifty and then a final ten, which will be announced in February 2017. The winner will be chosen from the ten finalists by the Global Teacher Prize Academy made up of prominent individuals.

All ten finalists will be flown to Dubai for an award ceremony taking place at the Global Education and Skills Forum in March 2017 where the winner will be announced live. The closing date for applications is 14 October 2016.

Since its launch in March 2014, the Global Teacher Prize has received huge global support from heads of state, prime ministers, education ministers, business leaders and NGO heads. The Pope also met a selection of shortlisted candidates inside the Vatican. The story of the top ten finalists and the eventual winners, including Nancie Atwell, a teacher from Maine, US, in 2015, was written and broadcast by some of the world’s most influential media outlets.

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 on a part-time basis are also eligible, as are teachers of online courses. It is open to teachers in every kind of school and, subject to local laws, in every country in the world.

The public can nominate a teacher, or teachers can apply themselves by filling an application form at If teachers are being nominated, the person nominating them will write a brief description online explaining why.  The teacher being nominated will then be sent an email letting them know they’ve been nominated and inviting them to apply for the prize.   Applicants can apply in English, Mandarin, Arabic, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian. To join the conversation online follow @TeacherPrize and #teachersmatter on: and

Notes for editors:

  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 support global teaching capacity and seed excellence and innovation in the next generation of educators. We also founded the Global Teacher Prize to shine a spotlight on the incredible work teachers do all over the world.
  2. The top 50 shortlisted teachers will be narrowed down to the final ten teachers by a Prize Committee. The winner was then chosen from these ten 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:
  • Recognition of a teacher’s achievements in the classroom and beyond from pupils, colleagues, head-teachers or members of the wider community.
  • Employing innovative and effective instructional practices
  • Achieving demonstrable student learning outcomes in the classroom.
  • Ensuring children receive a values-based education that prepares them to be global citizens in a world where they will encounter people from many different religions, cultures and nationalities.
  • Achievements in the community beyond the classroom that provide unique and distinguished models of excellence for the teaching profession and others.
  • Encouraging others to join the teaching profession. Contributing to public debates on the teaching profession, whether through writing articles, blogs, media participation, social media campaigns, events or conferences.
  1. 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. A condition of winning the prize is that the winner remains as a classroom teacher for at least five years.
  2. Teachers who are applying will have to provide references from their current supervisor and up to two additional references. These can include video testimonials about their work in the classroom and beyond, and can come from pupils, colleagues, head-teachers as well as members of the wider community.
  3. PriceWaterhouseCooper 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.
  4. The terms and conditions of the prize nullify any applications from those with criminal convictions.  The winner will be expected to remain an upstanding citizen and do nothing to bring the profession of teachers into disrepute.  Any outstanding payments will cease to any winner who has not met these standards.
  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. The full Global Teacher Status Index can be found at:


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