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Teacher From Sabah Becomes First Malaysian To Win 2022 Cambridge Dedicated Teacher Awards

Khalifa Affnan was voted as the winner out of 7,000 nominations from 112 countries, 60 shortlisted entries, and 6 regional winners for helping increase the active participation of female students and special needs learners in STEM activities.

Cover image via Cambridge Dedicated Teacher Awards & @khalifa_afn (Instagram)

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A teacher from the Keningau Vocational College in the rural area of Sabah has become the first Malaysian to win a prestigious global educator award for offering his students international experience

Khalifa Affnan was named the global winner of the 2022 Cambridge Dedicated Teacher Awards after he received the most number of votes out of 7,000 nominations from 112 countries, 60 shortlisted entries, and 6 regional winners for helping increase the active participation of female students and special needs learners in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) activities.

According to Cambridge University Press Education, Khalifa has been teaching for over 10 years at the Keningau Vocational College, where he has successfully pioneered several STEM programmes.

The award is in recognition of Khalifa's achievement in initiating a STEM project where he trains students in robotics, drones, coding, and other technology-based disciplines.

Prior to the global award, Khalifa was also picked as the winner of Australia, New Zealand, and the Southeast Asia region's 2022 Cambridge Dedicated Teacher Awards in April.

"Introduced the world to his students"

The Cambridge University Press Education said that while the school where Khalifa teaches is located in the rural area of the island state, he managed to offer the students an international experience.

He set up a cultural exchange programme between the school with South Korean educational institutions.

"The ongoing programme started in 2017 has allowed his students to host students from South Korean schools and visited the country on a field trip," it said, adding that many of his students have gained international attention during the recent Korean Robotics tournament and British STEM summit.

Meanwhile, Cambridge University Press Education director for ASEAN Kanjna Paranthaman said that Khalifa's win was a momentous milestone for Malaysian teachers.

"It gives me great pride to see a teacher from Malaysia winning the Cambridge Dedicated Teacher Awards on both global and regional levels. This is a momentous milestone for teachers in Malaysia and speaks volumes about the quality of teachers we have in the country," she said, adding that his STEM programmes have had a great impact on ensuring everyone in the community has access to quality education.

"Hopefully, Khalifa’s achievement will inspire our teachers, equipping us with dedicated individuals to guide the younger generation to come."

Khalifa will receive class sets of books and digital resources of choice by Cambridge University Press, as well as a professional development package. He will also be featured on the front of every new Cambridge University Press Education textbook from February 2023 onwards.

Khalifa said that this recognition will motivate him to drive forward

"My late grandfather, who was a language teacher, greatly inspired me to follow in his footsteps. Like many teachers before me, I, too, have faced many challenges throughout my journey but with resilience and creativity, I am happy to say that I will continue to do what I do thanks to the satisfaction of seeing my students develop new skills and benefit from the STEM programmes," he said.

Speaking on his achievements, Khalifa said that he became passionate about STEM education after he participated in a previous teacher exchange program.

"The experience broadened my mind about the world of technology and opened up my eyes to the mechanics behind drones, robotics, coding and many more. This fuelled my passion for teaching ICT-based subjects, on top of the language-based subjects that I already teach," he added.

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