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The achievements of 29 outstanding individuals and businesses in the field of education from 11 countries around the world were recognised at the 7th edition of GESS Education Awards held recently in Dubai.

The UAE topped the winners’ list with nine awards followed by the UK’s eight awards while other award recipient countries include Bahrain, Finland, Philippines, Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Oman, Pakistan and Switzerland.

This year, hundreds of submissions were received from as many as 50 countries, making this year’s edition of the prestigious awards programme the biggest to date.

Leading the winners is Professor Mary Hayden, Head of Department and Professor of International Education at the University of Bath, UK, for her more than 36 years of distinguished service and accomplishments in the field of education.

“Professor Hayden’s work as a member of staff of the IB Examinations and Curriculum Office between 1982 and 1991 has made a tremendous and long-lasting impact on global and Middle East schools particularly. She has led teams undertaking research projects, including those relating to the implementation of the ‘International Baccalaureate Diploma CAS programme’ worldwide. She has made an enormous contribution to the professional and academic development of hundreds (possibly thousands) of teachers in international schools worldwide. She has done so as the architect of the programme of Master’s level and Doctoral awards which she has been responsible for building up over the past 27 years since she joined the staff of the University of Bath. For her significant contributions and outstanding accomplishments, we are privileged to award her as the lifetime achievement trophy,” said Dr Ziad Azzam, Founding CEO, Taaleem.

Among the teachers, schools and education professionals who were recognised for their remarkable ideas and contribution to the education field were; Edible Education – American School of Dubai (Ambassador for the Environment); Francesca Denton Jafarian – Sensation Station Therapy Centre (Best Initiative for Inclusion and Wellbeing); Olly Lewis – British International School Abu Dhabi (Best Use of Digital Learning in the Classroom); Clive Gibson – JESS Dubai (Best use of STEAM Learning in the Classroom), Mohd Al-Khalifa Mohd Affnan – Keningau Vocational College (Community Award for Citizenship); Philippa Wraithmell – “The journey of Innovation” at Repton Abu Dhabi (Innovation in Education Award); and Dr Jake Madden – Al Yasat Private School (Outstanding Contribution in Education Award).

The other set of awardees honoured education suppliers and individual products, including Palms Sports LLC and STEAM Craft Edu (Best CSR Programme for Education), Darisni (Best Digital / VR / AI Product), Muse by SABAQ (Best Free App / Software Product), Century and Kutubee Interactive Reading Platform (Best Paid for App / Software Product), Into School  (Best Product to Promote Arts, Music and Drama in the Classroom), Gymi Furniture (Best Product to Promote Health, Fitness and Sports in the Classroom), ISKU (Best Sustainable / Eco-Friendly Product), Britannica Digital Learning (Innovation Product Awards – Digital / Coding / Software), School Transport Services (STS) (Innovation Products Awards – Equipment / Hardware / non-ICT), Kokoro  Lingua (Early Years Resource / Equipment Supplier of the Year), White Rose Maths and Flat Stan First Aid Limited (Primary Resource / Equipment Supplier of the Year), (Secondary and Higher Education Resource / Equipment Supplier of the Year); Across Cultures – Learning Village (SEN Resource / Equipment Supplier of the Year); and Clever Play (Start Up Company of the Year).

Meanwhile, Michael Wilson of Cranleigh Abu Dhabi and Baby Sam Samuel (Chairman, Board of Directors, Indian Schools in Oman) were given the Judges’ Commendation Award for Teachers, Schools, Educational Professionals; with Manga High receiving the same nod on the suppliers’ side.

A brand new award category was also introduced this year in honour of Mark Duncan, an esteemed education professional and noted IT, expert. Mark sadly passed away at the age of 31. The winner of the Mark Duncan Award for Educational Influencer of the Year was Kate Jones from Abu Dhabi’s British School Al Khubairat. The award was presented by Paul Crossley, the Education Director and founder of Learn IT Academy.