Aussie teachers called to apply for $1m prize

Ranjitsinh Disale, winner of the US$1 million Global Teacher Prize 2020, in partnership with UNESCO, is urging Australian teachers to apply for the 2021 edition of the prize.

Ranjitsinh also urged, for the first time, Australian students to apply for its new sister award, the Global Student Prize.

Ranjitsinh Disale won the most recent prize and encourages Aussie teachers to submit in 2021

The Varkey Foundation has launched the Global Student Prize this year, a $50,000 sister award to the Global Teacher Prize, to create a powerful new platform to highlight the efforts of extraordinary students throughout the world that are making a real impact on learning, the lives of their peers and on society beyond. The prize is open to all students who are at least 16 years old and enrolled in an academic institution or training and skills program. Part time students as well as students enrolled in online courses are also eligible for the prize.

Together, the Global Teacher Prize and the Global Student Prize will tell inspirational stories from both sides of education. The prizes will shine a spotlight on the great work teachers do in preparing young people for the future and the amazing promise the brightest students are showing in their learning and far beyond.

The Indian village teacher Ranjit Disale, who won the Global Teacher Prize 2020, said:

Heroic Australian teachers have gone above and beyond, especially during the pandemic, to keep young people learning.

“Like much of the world, Australia has been turned upside down by COVID, and it is ultimately teachers and students that will play leading roles in the nation’s rebuilding and recovery. We must recognize their inspirational work in every corner of Australia if we are to build a better tomorrow.”​ is a supporter of the Global Teacher Prize and has partnered with the Varkey Foundation to create the new Global Student Prize. Lila Thomas, Head of, said:

Students throughout the world during the pandemic have shown great strength, focus and determination to keep learning and keep fighting for their future. They deserve huge praise and recognition for never giving up. 

“These students will now be charged with helping to solve some of the greatest challenges in history. The Global Student Prize has been launched to shine a light on their stories and listen to their voices. After all, it is their dreams, their insights and their creativity that will help to build the future.”

Sunny Varkey, who founded both the Global Teacher Prize and the Global Student Prize, said:

Both these prizes have been launched to highlight the importance of education in tackling the great challenges ahead – from climate change to growing inequality to global pandemics.

“With the world leaders preoccupied with the vital task of bringing this terrible pandemic to an end, I urge them to never forget that it is only by prioritizing education that we can safeguard all our tomorrows. Education is the key to facing the future with confidence.”

Teachers applying for the Global Teacher Prize will be assessed on teaching practices, how they innovate to address local challenges, achieve demonstrable learning outcomes, impact the community beyond the classroom, help children become global citizens, improve the teaching profession and gain recognition from external bodies.

Students applying for the Global Student Prize will be assessed on their academic achievement, impact on their peers, how they make a difference in their community and beyond, how they overcome the odds to achieve, how they demonstrate creativity and innovation, and how they operate as global citizens.

Applicants for the Global Teacher Prize and the Global Student Prize can both apply at and the closing date for applications is Friday 30 April 2021.

Both prizes will be narrowed down to Top 50 shortlists and Top 10 finalists, to be announced later in the year, helping to raise the bar of respect for the teaching profession and provide worldwide recognition for high achieving students. The winners of both prizes will be chosen from the top 10 finalists by the Global Teacher Prize Academy made up of prominent individuals. The winners will be announced live at a ceremony later in the year. 

If teachers or students are being nominated, the person nominating them will write a brief description online explaining why.  The teacher or student being nominated will then be sent an email letting them know they’ve been nominated and inviting them to apply for the prize.   Applicants can apply in English, Mandarin, Arabic, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian. To join the conversation online follow @TeacherPrize

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