A Malaysian teacher has done the country proud after making it into the list of top 10 finalists for the Global Teacher Prize 2020.
According to a report in The Star, Samuel Isaiah from SK Runchang in Pahang beat over 12,000 nominations from more than 140 countries to make it to top 10.
When contacted by Rojak Daily, Samuel said that he was grateful and humbled to be selected.
"I think this award shows that Malaysia has great teachers - amazing teachers.
"Teachers that can actually make it at an international level. I also think that this is more than just a story about me. We have to be focussed on the kids.
"This is the story about my orang asli children. Of how amazing the orang children are and of their capabilities. I feel, that this award is giving me an opportunity to put their capabilities on an international stage - to show the world what they are capable of," he said.
Samuel said that with the right policies, right programs and right implementation, it was not impossible to reduce inequality especially among the Orang Asli community.
"One of the most important things that I've learnt from the community is that we need to listen to them. We need to make them central in decision making. We need to make them take ownership of whatever we're doing.
"It's not just doing something for them but doing it with them and willing to give them that voice," he said.
Determined to make a change
Samuel, who is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Educational Policy and Leadership in the State University of New York, will be competing against other teachers from India, Nigeria, Italy, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States and South Korea for the top spot.
The winner of the award, which was established by the Varkey Foundation in partnership with Unesco, will walk away with US$1mil (RM4.3mil).
We wish you all the best Cikgu Samuel!