A teacher in the UAE capital has been shortlisted within the top 50 contenders for a major global teacher prize of $1 million.

Rashid Hashem, a physical education and Health teacher at Al Moatasem Public School for boys in Baniyas, Abu Dhabi, UAE, is in the running as for the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2019.

The teachers shortlisted for the Global Teacher Prize 2019 were selected from over 10,000 nominations and applications from 179 countries around the world.

“The Global Teacher Prize is awarded by the Varkey Foundation under the patronage of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. [First awarded in 2015], it has been going from strength to strength with the 2018 Prize bringing in over 30,000 applications and nominations,” said the foundation on its website.

In a press release on Thursday, the foundation said that “Hashem works in a remote school around 40km away from the capital and close to a nomadic tribal environment. He decided to pursue his hopes of studying and got the first doctorate in his particular field in the UAE. Since then Hashem has contributed to the teaching profession by equipping non-traditional learning environments to improve students’ learning levels through mobility.”

The foundation said Hashem “considers his greatest achievement is the establishment of innovative non-traditional educational laboratories at the Zayed Centre for the Mind Industry, the first educational centre of its kind in the Middle East. His methods have had a significant impact on improving student learning in areas of renewable energy, indoor gardens and health nutrition, and these innovations contributed to an improvement in his school’s assessment from 15 per cent to 67 per cent in 2018.”

Hashem won the Mohammad Bin Zayed Award for Best Gulf Teacher in 2018, and also received the UAE Medal in 2015 from Shaikh Mohammad [Bin Rashid Al Maktoum].

The top 50 shortlist has representatives from 39 countries and by highlighting their stories the Varkey Foundation hopes that the public will be able to join in passionate debates about the importance of teachers. The winner will be announced at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai on March 24, 2019.