By Archana Patrick
The Varkey Foundation recently announced the Top 50 finalists for its 2019 Global Teacher Prize and it is definitely a proud moment for all Malaysians as Dr. Muhamad Khairul Anuar Hussin is shortlisted as the sole Malaysian candidate!
What is the Global Teacher Prize and why is it important?
According to the Global Teacher Prize website, the award was launched by the Varkey Foundation after its second annual Global Education and Skills Forum in March 2014. The purpose of the award is to raise the status of teaching in line with the vision of the Foundation which aims to provide quality education for every child.
Every year, a US$1 million award is presented to an “exceptional teacher” who has made an “outstanding contribution” in the teaching profession.
Why? Because teachers, being a skilled professional should be treated with the same respect as other professionals, such as doctors.
In the statistics revealed by the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Status Index in 2013, from the 21 countries surveyed, only people from China viewed teachers as having equal status with doctors. In the UK, fewer than 5% of respondents thought teachers had an equivalent status.
Meet Dr Muhamad Khairul Anuar Hussin
As stated in the official website of the Global Teacher Prize, Muhamad Khairul, is a special educational needs teacher from SMK Taman Universiti 2 in Johor Baru, working with differently-abled students who are visually impaired, deaf, autistic and even those with Down’s Syndrome.
What sets this special needs teacher apart is his dedication to provide a holistic education for differently-abled students to be better equipped for future employment.
Over the years in the teaching profession, he came to realise that such students needed more support to prepare them for future employment.
The inclusive education model
Over the years, working in several different schools, Muhamad Khairul noticed a lack of specialist resources for differently-abled students and went on to develop an inclusive education model based on his academic research and teaching practice.
The model includes Braille textbooks, and embossing diagrams for children with visual impairments at SMK Taman Universiti 2 in Johor Baru. More importantly, he is a firm believer of social inclusion and co-teaching with mainstream students which is prioritized by the model.
It is no surprise that the success of his inclusive education model has been recognised by the Malaysian Ministry of Education, and has been used as the basis for the national special educational needs teaching policy and guidance.
Muhamad Khairul has co-ordinated a Special Education Forum to train other teachers to use the model for their own students and set up the Johor Special Education Teachers Association to provide support and guidance for special needs educators in Johor.
He was the Malaysian representative at the JENESYS East Asia Future Leaders Program Social Welfare Group in 2011 held in Japan. He has also contributed to academic journals and books, and presentations at various international conferences.
When will we know the winner?
The grand prize winner will be announced during a ceremony at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai on March 24, 2019.
We wish Muhamad Khairul the best of luck to win the award!
His contributions to the teaching profession are definitely worthy of mention whether or not he ultimately wins the award!