Cana­dian teacher wins RM4.44 mil prize

The Star Malaysia - - World -

DUBAI: A Cana­dian school teacher who en­cour­ages hope and acts of kind­ness in an iso­lated cor­ner of Que­bec won a US$1mil (RM4.44mil) prize in what has be­come one of the most high-pro­file awards for teach­ing ex­cel­lence.

Mag­gie MacDon­nell was awarded the an­nual Global Teacher Prize dur­ing a cer­e­mony in Dubai, United Arab Emi­rates, beat­ing out thou­sands of ap­pli­cants from around the world.

She has worked for the past six years in a re­mote Arc­tic vil­lage called Sal­luit teach­ing mid­dle and high school­ers. Ac­cord­ing to her bi­og­ra­phy, Sal­luit is home to the sec­ond north­ern­most Inuit in­dige­nous com­mu­nity in Que­bec, with a pop­u­la­tion of just over 1,300, and can only be reached by air.

Speak­ing af­ter her win, MacDon­nell said she plans to use the prize money to con­tinue help­ing the com­mu­nity in Sal­luit by es­tab­lish­ing an en­vi­ron­men­tal stew­ard­ship pro­gramme to re­con­nect youth with many of their cul­tural tra­di­tions.

She said she hopes the award brings at­ten­tion to the in­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties of Canada and “ide­ally that they be treated with the dig­nity that they de­serve.”

Her per­se­ver­ance to con­tinue teach­ing in the re­mote area, where many teach­ers leave their post mid­way through the year, made her a stand­out for the award. MacDon­nell cre­ated a num­ber of pro­grammes for boys and girls, in­clud­ing job men­tor­ship and funds to as­sist with healthy meals.

Her ap­proach fo­cuses on en­cour-

aging “acts of kind­ness,” such as run­ning a com­mu­nity kitchen and at­tend­ing sui­cide pre­ven­tion train­ing.

Dubai ruler Sheikh Mo­hammed bin Rashid Al Mak­toum was on hand to present the prize to MacDon­nell. Her name was an­nounced by French as­tro­naut Thomas Pas­quet in a video mes­sage from the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion.

The prize was es­tab­lished three

years ago to recog­nise one ex­cep­tional teacher a year who has made an out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tion to the pro­fes­sion, em­ploys in­no­va­tive class­room prac­tices and en­cour­ages oth­ers to join the teach­ing pro­fes­sion.

The award is pre­sented by the Varkey Foun­da­tion. Its founder, Sunny Varkey, es­tab­lished the for-profit GEMS Ed­u­ca­tion com­pany, which has more than 250 schools around the world. — AP

Best in class:

MacDon­nell re­ceiv­ing the prize from Sheikh Mo­hammed bin Rashid al-Mak­toum, vice-pres­i­dent and Prime Min­is­ter of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. — AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.