2019 Feb 26
In recent news, Sri Lankan-born Australian teacher, Yasodai Selvakumaran, has been listed as a finalist for the prestigious Global Teacher Prize, making her yet another Sri Lankan to bring the motherland to the forefront of an international arena.
The high school teacher is currently in the Top 10 Finalists category, being classified as a teacher who is a “champion for change” and “inspires students and communities” around her. Yasodai is currently in the running to win the US $1 million The Global Teacher presented annually to an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to their profession.
The Global Teacher Prize was established in 2015 in an attempt to reward and celebrate one of the most important professions in the world that sadly, gets the least amount of recognition, evident in the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Status Index which specifies that of the 21 countries that were surveyed, only China thought of teaching as a profession equivalent to medicine.
The Varkey Foundation describes Yasodai as “nationally recognized in Australia as an outstanding teacher and leader.” Yasodai currently teaches at Rooty Hill High school, a public school in Western Sydney, where over 50% of students come from ethnic minorities. The school constantly experiences inequality in education and is known to perform just below state average, due to cultural and linguistic diversity as well as its soci-economically deprived geographical location. However, in her short teaching career of only 8 years, Yasodai has managed to consistently achieve high results with her students. With social justice being a big part of her teaching philosophy, she has also directly influenced the careers of over 200 teachers, and won multiple awards including the 2014 Australian Council of Educational Leadership Mary Armstrong Award for Outstanding Young Educational Leader, the Australian Teaching Fellowship for 2018, and being recognized as one of 30 rising stars under the age of 35 in Australian education by The Educator Australia magazine.
Here’s wishing this phenomenal woman the best of luck with the awards whose winner will be announced in March 2019 during the Global Education and Skills Forum which is held in Dubai.