Malaysian Teacher Is One Of 10 Finalists For A RM4 Million Global Teacher Prize

Samuel Isaiah went above and beyond to help Orang Asli students learn English.

Cover image via Global Teacher Prize & New Straits Times

English teacher Samuel Isaiah, who teaches Orang Asli students at Sekolah Kebangsaan Runchang in Pahang, has been named as one of the top 10 finalists for the Global Teacher Prize 2020

The Global Teacher Prize is an annual USD1 million (RM4.2 million) award, in partnership with UNESCO, presented to teachers who have made an outstanding contribution to the profession. 

Samuel was selected from over 12,000 nominations and applications from over 140 countries around the world, according to a Facebook statement by Varkey Foundation.

"Samuel's crowdfunded tech-enabled classroom has boosted exam passes for his Orang Asli students, the indigenous people of Malaysia who live in the rainforests, at the fringes of society."

Samuel Isaiah is known for his unique ways for creating a fun learning environment like singing sessions and conducting outdoor activities

Image via Berita Harian

As reported last year by New Straits Times, Samuel goes to indigenous settlements twice a week after school hours to teach lessons under a tree as part of his 'Sekolah Pokok' programme.

"I emphasised English as a language first, subject second, and following that, many started to look forward to speaking English. I treated the children like my family and helped to build their confidence," Samuel said.

The award ceremony will be conducted virtually and is expected to take place on 3 December this year

According to New Straits Times, the ceremony will be hosted by English comedian, actor, and writer Stephen Fry who also congratulated Samuel for inspiring his students to "dream big and to connect with the outside world".

"You travelled 200km to and from school every day to reach your students, the Orang Asli, who live in the rainforest," Fry said.

"This has resulted in your school's average pass rate in English increasing from 30% to between 80% and 85%. Congratulations Samuel and thank you for everything you do."

In 2017, Samuel's students travelled 200km to attend his wedding ceremony:

To students, exceptional teachers make all the difference in the world:

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