Deep Narayan Nayak, a teacher from West Bengal, was on Wednesday announced as a top 10 finalist from across 130 countries in the USD 1 million Global Teacher Prize 2023. Deep Narayan, from Tilka Manjhi Adivasi Free Primary School in Jamuria, Asansol, earned the title of “Teacher of the Streets” during the COVID-19 lockdown, when he moved classrooms outside and helped bridge the digital divide for disadvantaged children living below the poverty line in remote communities, empowering those with learning disabilities, counselling students and their parents, and improving literacy rates among adult learners.
Now in its eighth year, the annual prize is organised by the UK-based Varkey Foundation in collaboration with UNESCO and in strategic partnership with Dubai Cares, a UAE-based global philanthropic organisation.
“Inspirational teachers such as Deep Narayan deserve recognition for their commitments to preparing children and youth to navigate a rapidly evolving world. Teachers play a leading role in transforming education for the future,” said Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director General for Education at UNESCO.
The prize was created to recognise an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession as well as to shine a spotlight on the important role teachers play in society.
Deep Narayan Nayak made the cut for developing innovative teaching methods that have transformed the lives of underprivileged children facing educational and social challenges.
Amidst the pandemic, he turned mud walls into blackboards and roads into classrooms, bridging the digital divide for marginalised students. His focus on educating parents, eradicating superstitions, and addressing learning disabilities has empowered both children and communities.
“Teaching is not only about sharing knowledge; it also includes playing a pivotal role in guiding children and youth towards a path of lifelong learning, empowering them to make an impact within their communities and countries and driving the future of humanity by becoming global citizens. We congratulate the teachers who have earned a place in the top 10 list of the Global Teacher Prize 2023,” said Dr Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer and Vice-Chairman of Dubai Cares.
“Making it this far is a reflection of your commitment, hard work and dedication to your profession. As a strong advocate of the role of teachers in driving human development, Dubai Cares looks forward to celebrating this noble profession at the Global Teacher Prize ceremony in Paris,” he said.
The Global Teacher Prize is open to working teachers who teach children that are in compulsory schooling or are between the ages of five and eighteen.
Teachers in the running for the prize must spend at least 10 hours per week teaching and plan to remain in the profession for the next five years. It is open to teachers in every kind of school and, subject to local laws, in every country in the world.