Sabah English Teacher Is Global Winner Of 2024 Cambridge Dedicated Teacher Awards

She emerged the overall winner from among 14,800 nominees from 140 countries.

Cover image via Cambridge International Education (Facebook) & Cambridge University Press & Assessment (Facebook)

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An English teacher from Sabah has been named the global winner of the 2024 Cambridge Dedicated Teacher Awards

According to Cambridge University Press, Sydney Engelbert, a teacher from Keningau Vocational College, emerged the overall winner from among 14,800 nominees from 140 countries.

The competition celebrates the role that teachers play in shaping the lives of their learners and preparing them for the world.

The achievement even came as a surprise to the teacher, who was on stage at the award ceremony last Thursday, 23 May, to receive the Southeast Asia & Pacific regional award in the competition — she was not aware that she had also won the global award!

It is said Sydney earned 66% of the public vote to become the global winner.

In addition to the regional prize of £500 (approximately RM3,000) to buy books for her students, Sydney has also won the opportunity to take part in a course of her choice on Cambridge's Enrichment Professional Development programme as the overall winner.

Cambridge's Regional Director for Southeast Asia & Pacific Kanjna Paranthaman (left) handing the 2024 Cambridge Dedicated Teacher Award to Sydney (right).

Image via Cambridge University Press & Assessment (Facebook)

The 30-year-old teacher was nominated for her innovative online exchange programme, where she encourages her students to practise their English with peers across Southeast Asia

The virtual programme has not only enhanced her students' language skills, but has also fostered cultural understanding of other students from across Malaysia, the Philippines, Cambodia, and Indonesia.

Cambridge's Regional Director for Southeast Asia & Pacific, Kanjna Paranthaman, said, "Huge congratulations to Sydney. She is a well-deserved winner for her work in expanding the international experience of students without them leaving the classroom."

"At Cambridge, we believe that the role of a school is not only to pursue academic excellence but also to motivate and empower students to be lifelong learners, critical thinkers, and productive global citizens with values and ethics. Sydney's programme aligns perfectly with this as a teaching approach," she added.

Sydney (far right) teaching at Keningau Vocational College.

Image via Kolej Vokasional Keningau (Facebook)

Sydney was nominated for the award by her school's Head of Research and Innovation, who said the teacher's work has been transformative for their students

Her nominator, Dr Sirhajwan Idek, said, "I am immensely proud that Cambridge has recognised her dedication to teaching with this prestigious award."

"Her unwavering commitment to not only improving English language proficiency but also enhancing cultural understanding through this online exchange programme is absolutely awe-inspiring.

"She has not just taught; she has opened doors for our students to a world beyond this valley, igniting in them a passion for learning and connecting with others globally," he said.

Watch the heartwarming moment when Sydney was surprised on stage with the award here:

Here are many more amazing Malaysian teachers who have gone above and beyond for their students:

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