U.K.-based VArkey Foundation set up an annual Global Teacher Prize competition which honors an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession. The winner will receive a $1 million prize at an awards ceremony in March. Out of the short listed top 10 teachers, 4 are ladies including the following: (To see all the 10 click here)
A female Pakistani teacher, Aqeela Asifi trained as a teacher when education in Afghanistan was free to all. She had arrived as a refugee at the Kot Chandana camp in Punjab (Pakistan) during 1992. The place had no operational schools in the area and strongly conservative attitudes meant the education of girls was frowned upon and female teachers were unheard of. Aqeela Asifi set up a school in a borrowed tent and worked hard to overcome resistance and negative attitudes. Twenty families agreed to their daughters being educated and Aqeela Asifi initially focused on teaching non-controversial subjects such as personal hygiene, home management skills and religious education. After gaining the trust of the community, Aqeela Asifi was able to introduce literacy, Dari language, mathematics, geography and history.
There was no money for resources like blackboards so Aqeela Asifi stitched pieces of cloth with handwritten text to the tent walls and wrote books by hand at night. Her students traced their first words in dust on the floor. Today, there are nine schools in the camp with many female teachers and over 1,500 students including 900 girls. With education, early and forced marriages in the community have declined. Aqeela’s school has produced over 1,000 graduates (mainly Afghan refugee girls, but also local Pakistani children). Some have become doctors, engineers, government officials and teachers in Afghanistan. Aqeela Asifi now teaches over 1800 refugee children in Islamabad.
Aqeela Asifi was also presented with the UNHCR’s Nansen Refugee Award in 2015.
A Female Palestinian teacher, Hanan al-Hroub, 43, told Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview, “My teaching method focuses on promoting non-violence by teaching through playing.”
“The Israeli occupation has caused many behavioral problems among our children,” Hanan al-Hroub said. “By using this teaching method, I have managed to solve these behavioral problems and have created a new peaceful and cooperative generation.”
The idea of the non-violent teaching method came to al-Hroub after her husband was shot by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem during the al-Aqsa intifada, which erupted in 2000.
“My husband was injured. The Israeli soldiers laughed at him and left him to bleed to death,” Hanan al-Hroub recalled. “This incident has left my children in shock. This teaching technique, however, has helped them recover and regain their self-confidence.”
Hanan Al-Hroub said she hopes to win the award in order to put her country on the world map. “This win will send a message that the Palestinian teacher is able to overcome all difficulties,” she said. “I say that a victory for my teaching method is a victory for Palestine.”