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University of Worcester Graduate Shortlisted for World's Best Teacher Award

A graduate of the University of Worcester has been named as a finalist in the Global Teacher Awards, recognising some of the very best teachers from around the world.

Dr Swaroop Sampat-Rawal, who earned her PhD at Worcester and last month was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University in recognition of her commitment to education, has been shortlisted from thousands of entries for the highly prestigious award.

Dr Sampat-Rawal, who teaches in India, said: “Through this recognition I want to reach out to the children and teachers of the world; I want to share my work and vision of life skills education and pre-vocation education for Sustainable Development Goals to ensure our children become happy resilient and become socially emotionally and economically empowered.”

The Prize, now in its fifth year, is awarded by the Varkey Foundation. The final 50 will be narrowed down by a committee to 10 finalists, who will be revealed in February. The 10 will then be invited to Dubai for the award ceremony at the Global Education and Skills Forum on March 24th next year, where the winner will be announced live on stage.

Dr Sampat-Rawal began teaching later in life, following a career on stage as a Bollywood superstar and success as a model, including being crowned Miss India in 1979.

She said she went into teaching to accomplish two goals: to help make children more resilient through life skills education, and to bring new methods to teaching that would help students and their teachers reflect, imagine and build their sense of personal worth and agency.

To make this possible, she pursued a PhD, studying at the University of Worcester, researching life skills enhancement for mental wellbeing, teacher education, and the arts as a tool for education.

Since graduating in 2006, she has devoted her life to the education of young people, travelling across India training teachers, while also campaigning to get more children, such as those in tribal communities or street children, into the classroom.

Dr Sampat-Rawal’s unique methods of teaching have now led to a partnership with the University of Worcester to develop a Diploma in Personal Social Education, to be delivered to teachers in both India and the UK.

Professor David Green, Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive at the University of Worcester, said: “We are very proud to call Swaroop an alumna of the University of Worcester. She is a truly inspirational educator and would be a very worthy winner of this global award.

“Swaroop’s imaginative, dedicated development of vital education if life skills for children is inspirational and fits perfectly with the University’s ethos and values. We are delighted to be working with her to deliver this important and innovative programme, which will greatly enhance the professional skills of teachers, both in India and the UK, to enable children to develop crucial life skills.

“At the University of Worcester, we have long championed an approach to education which combines modern scientific, professional expertise with the best in enduring human values. We believe character as well as competence really matters.”

If awarded the Global Teacher Prize, Dr Sampat-Rawal said she would form a think tank to create and promote special curricula for pre-vocational education (PVE) in primary schools in India. This think tank would share findings internationally for use in other countries, where they are directly related to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

To find out more about the Global Teacher Prize visit https://www.globalteacherprize.org/