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Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

  • UAE Minister of Education, Hussein Al Hammadi, says teachers are the cornerstone of the nation in building future generations
  • One million dirhams designated to the winner for promoting the cause of education

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the UAE Ministry of Education has launched the UAE National Teacher Prize, an annual award for Emirati teachers, in collaboration with GEMS Education.

One million dirhams will be awarded to the winning teacher – one of the top prizes in the region. The requirements will be varied, assessing the teachers’ personalities and the multiple roles performed not only in the local community but also in improving the academic level of students. In addition, teachers will also be expected to demonstrate their achievements through their activities inside and outside the classroom.

His Excellency Eng. Hussain Al Hammadi, UAE Minister of Education, said: “Teaching is one of the noblest of professions because it is considered one of the major cornerstones for the nation in building future generations.

“The teaching sector helps well-educated students in adopting true UAE values, provides a sense of nationalism and belonging to their homeland, belief in their leaders, and gives impetus to students to adopt the new developmental changes sought by the country. Teachers become a role model for others to follow and ensure a secure environment for others to depend on.”

Al Hammadi continued: “The teaching profession enjoys the shared attention and deep gratitude of our wise leadership represented by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE President and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. The government recognises that the teaching profession enable young Emiratis to seize the initiative, continuing the process of development and maintaining the country’s strong capabilities and achievements.”

 The backbone of education

Al Hammadi also pointed out that teachers are the backbone of the education sector and without them education is meaningless. Today’s effective education is based on innovation, creativity and analytical thinking, and avoiding the stereotypical methods of teaching. He mentioned that the teacher is the basis for change and the source of science and knowledge. The teacher is a master in his or her field, and the fruit of their hard work and excellence is reflected positively on the entire educational process.

An emphatic point made by the minister was that this award comes in the context of encouraging UAE teachers towards attempting new methods of teaching which involve creativity, active participation and high productivity. The award is meant to develop positive aspects in the teacher and also honour the teacher who is the most innovative in this field.

Additionally, the award will reflect the teacher’s talent in tutoring students involving cultural and social aspects, and in incorporating CSR campaigns and charitable work.

The award will serve to advance the level of education and place the teaching profession in a well-deserved position, both on a personal and professional level, inside or outside the campus.

 Empowering the teacher

Al Hammadi also stressed that the UAE Ministry of Education will remain committed in providing support to empower teachers, who are partners in the nation’s development. “A teacher is able to have a positive impact on society and provide wise educational decision-making. The UAE Ministry of Education has formed a teachers’ council whose mission is to be involved in decision-making, planning and formulation of the education policy. The council will contribute to the establishment of long-term educational initiatives and projects for the ministry,” added Al Hammadi.

Sunny Varkey, Group Chairman and Founder of GEMS Education, said: “Teachers play an important and active role in education, which is how the idea of establishing the ‘UAE National Teacher Prize’ came about. The main aim of this award is to highlight the outstanding achievements of the teaching profession and its positive impact on the progress of our future generation of young talented people.”

Varkey also stressed that this an appropriate time for the teaching community to regain its high standing in the community. “The time is now ripe to empower teachers and give them back the high level of respect and value within the community. This prestigious award reaffirms the wise leadership of the UAE and its commitment in providing the foundations and pillars for educational advancement, and the provision of high-quality education for the citizens and residents of the country,” added Varkey.

He also expressed the pride he felt in GEMS Education’s partnership with the UAE Ministry of Education and for the opportunity given to succeed in achieving the goals of the education sector and its development and success.

Award requirements

The award requires teachers who are nominated to be role models among their peers in terms of their active participation and achievements in various areas which include social and cultural work, CSR campaigns and charitable work, ability to encourage others to join the teaching profession, striving to create a good reputation for their profession and its noble objectives, as well as their role in encouraging debate and dialogue on ways to improve educational standards in the country.

Nominations will be open to all Emirati teachers across all UAE-based private and public schools, either affiliated to the UAE Ministry of Education, Abu Dhabi Education Council or applied technology institutes who are currently teaching students in all grades. Applications can be submitted anytime in December 2015 on

Following submissions, 21 of the best nominations will be chosen. A prestigious jury consisting of the brightest educational and government personalities in the UAE will choose the final winner. Those who do not win from the shortlist will get the opportunity to train outside the country at some of the best educational institutions in the world.

The winner will be announced during the ‘Government Summit’ in February 2016.

The general public can also nominate teachers or a teacher can nominate himself by filling out the application form via the website. In the case of teachers being nominated by others, the people who are nominating them will have to prepare a brief letter of description highlighting the excellence shown by their candidate. Those nominating will then have to send an email to their candidates who will then continue the application process.

The teachers who nominate themselves for the award must be able to provide references from their current employers, and include up to two additional references. The references must contain video clips showcasing their work both in the school and outside the classroom. The videos can be prepared by students, colleagues, supervisors and community members.

It is also a requirement for the winner of the UAE National Teacher Prize to continue his or her work as a teacher for at least three years after winning the award.

- UAE MOE & GEMS Education