Patricia Abril from New Cambridge School in Colombia! 

Out of over 6,000 nominations from 97 countries, 50 shortlisted entries, and 6 finalists, you voted Patricia Abril as the winner of the 2020 Dedicated Teacher Awards for her work with students on social projects in the local community.

"Patricia has developed the social projects and the social services at school that have had impact in different populations in our small town: children who suffer cancer, handicapped adults, parks at the small town, employees at school, etc. Actually, after almost 7 years of working for one of the social projects, the government is willing to improve one of the parks at the city to focus on the service for handicapped adults. That project started in our classrooms with our students with the guidance of many teachers, but especially Patricia. Additionally, our students have started teaching English to students from a public school as part of the social responsibility that we want them to develop as global citizens. "

Entry from New Cambridge School, Colombia

Patricia Abril Rueda was born in Bucaramanga, Colombia. She has a degree Sciences of Education from the Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia, and two specialization certificates in educational administration, and in learning development.

Patricia has been a teacher for over 30 years and currently teaches social studies at New Cambridge School, Bucaramanga. Beyond being a teacher, she has been inspired by her students to create as many meaningful opportunities as possible, to help them build their leadership talent to change the world. She has made this her mission in life and has been developing social projects at school for almost 10 years.

Her programmes have positively influenced different communities and places, including a student-led project to improve local facilities for people with disabilities, which recently received government funding.

"This is a huge recognition not only for me and my years of dedication as a teacher, but also for the New Cambridge School that has supported my role and empowered my mission."

“I will continue working with the New Cambridge School´s community in order to make my mission evident: To change the world by promoting social projects and by developing leadership competencies in all of my students. I am proud to be a Colombian teacher! I am proud to be a Dedicated Teacher!”

Patricia Abril - 2020 Dedicated Teacher winner

Ahmed Saya from Cordoba School for A-Level in Pakistan! 

Out of 4,000 nominations, 50 shortlisted entries, and 6 finalists, you voted Ahmed Saya as the winner of the 2019 Dedicated Teacher Awards for his work in sculpting students who are 'good humans'.

Ahmed's nomination:

"He’ll always be ready to spare his weekends whenever a student needs his help, be it academically or anything personal. I have seen him when CAIEs approach, he spends sleepless nights, conducting extra classes, catering each and every student’s problem so that each one excels. I have never seen someone who checks your homework every day in a class of 100 students just to ensure that each and every one is on track. He actually deserves this for working so hard to ensure that his students are good humans." 

Entry from Cordoba School, Pakistan

Ahmed Saya has been teaching for 18 years. After studying for his A Levels at Foundation Public School he immediately began to fulfil his passion for Accounting and Mathematics studying for a BSc Hons in Applied Accounting from Oxford Brookes University, UK, and later a Masters from the Institute of Business Management (IOBM). Currently Saya is associated with several A level schools and colleges, teaching Accounting and Mathematics as well as conducting teacher training for O and A level teachers. He is the COO of a psychometric testing and counselling organisation named Reveal Pakistan, where he helps to guide students to identify their strengths, weaknesses, inclination and aptitude thereby helping them choose a right career path. Along with this, Saya is associated with a school for underprivileged students called The Bridge School. He was nominated for preparing his students for life after schooling.

"Teaching is not a job, it’s a responsibility and this responsibility does not end when the class ends,’ explained Saya. ‘I don’t just want to cover the syllabus; it’s my responsibility to also teach students character, ethics and morality. I believe that every child deserves a brighter future and I am grateful for whatever role I can play in helping them to achieve this."

“I’m so grateful to my students who thought so highly of me. I am proud of them and I hope I make a positive difference in their lives.”

Ahmed Saya - 2019 Dedicated Teacher winner

2019 Cambridge Dedicated Teacher Awards winner

2020 Cambridge Dedicated Teacher Awards winner

2021 Cambridge Dedicated Teacher Awards winner

Annamma Lucy from GEMS Our Own English High School, Sharjah - Boys' Branch, United Arab Emirates

Out of 13,000 nominations from 112 countries, 60 shortlisted entries, and 6 regional winners, you voted Annamma Lucy as the winner of the 2021 Dedicated Teacher Awards for her dedication to her students both inside and outside the classroom, and her incredible efforts to continue teaching and learning during the pandemic.

Annamma's nomination:

"Ms. Annamma Lucy prepares kids for the road ahead in life. A teacher whose impact goes beyond the classroom. She has given up her personal and family time to be with poor students, visited Uganda, Iraq, villages in India, encouraged students to participate in the UNICEF Kids Power. As an EXPO 2020 volunteer she hosted rewired talks and encouraged students across UAE to participate in meaningful conversations on education. And I should not forget to say about the Learning journey Programme which she conducted free for all students across UAE during the time of Pandemic. She is an inspiration not only for me but for all teacher community. As a Social study teacher, I see her encouraging her students to respect women, patriotism, good deeds, and I am proud to say she is my colleague."

Entry from GEMS Our Own English High School, Sharjah

Hailing from the garden city Bengaluru, India, Annamma's upbringing was under the tutelage of the Good Shepherd nuns as she lost her parents at the age of three. She holds them as the beacons of guiding light, nudging her relentlessly to achieve pinnacles of success.

Now as a teacher, Annamma makes a humble attempt to emulate their care and kindness. Starting her teaching career in 1997 at Good Shepherd Convent Girls’ High School Mysore, in India, in 2007 she moved to UAE as an oversea teacher, to teach Social Studies at Our Own English High School, Boys’ Branch Sharjah, UAE. Annamma presently teaches grades 7 and 8 social studies and this is her 23rd year in teaching.

"I feel overwhelmed with joy after winning this prestigious award and it motivates me for years to come. I truly believe that this success is because of “we” and not because of “me”. I would like to thank first and foremost my students, and I would also like to thank the Good Shepherd nuns, teachers and parents for supporting me to get here. Lastly, thank you to Cambridge University Press for this amazing opportunity."

Annamma Lucy - 2021 Dedicated Teacher winner

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2022 Cambridge Dedicated Teacher Awards winner 

Khalifa Affnan – Keningau Vocational College, Malaysia

Out of 7,000 nominations from 112 countries, 60 shortlisted entries, and 6 regional winners, you voted Khalifa Affnan as the winner of the 2022 Cambridge Dedicated Teacher Awards for opening up the world to his students. Congratulations Khalifa!

Khalifa's nomination:

"Khalifa Affnan is a teacher at Keningau Vocational College, Sabah, Malaysia. Although the school is located in the rural area of the island state, he managed to offer the students international experience by setting up a cultural exchange programme between the school with South Korea educational institutions. The ongoing programme that started in 2017 has allowed his students to host students from South Korean schools and visited the country on a field trip. Attempting to elevate his students’ vocational education, he initiated a STEM project at the school where he trains the students in robotics, drones, coding, and other technology-based disciplines. His effort has resulted in the increase of active participation of female students as well as special needs learners in STEM activities. Many of his students have gained international recognition including third place at a 2018 Korean Robotics tournament and keynote speaker at a British STEM summit in 2020."

Mr. Khalifa Affnan graduated from a local university with bachelor’s degree in English language teaching. He started his teaching career at Keningau Vocational College in 2010 where he has successfully pioneered several educational programmes that have been recognised globally and nationally. 

He initiated a STEAM (STEM + Arts) programme at the school where he trains the students, including special needs learners, to master various types of emerging technology like drones, 3D printing and robots. This project has increased the number of female students that partake in STEM activities which are often dominated by men. 

He also led the country’s educational exchange programme with South Korean ministry of education by organizing a series of field trips, online classes and hosting visits by the country’s schools and education officers. In addition, he has conducted various professional development programmes for teachers especially in education technology. He is an advocate of esports in schools.


“I was surprised of course. I am not a popular figure or active on social media to gain such a high number of votes. From the results however, I know that family, friends, colleagues, and students have my back.”  

Khalifa Affnan - 2022 Dedicated Teacher winner

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2023 Cambridge Dedicated Teacher Awards winner 

Akeem Badru – St Michael RCM Primary School, Nigeria

Out of 11,000 nominations from 99 countries, 60 shortlisted entries, and 6 regional winners, you voted Akeem Badru as the winner of the 2023 Cambridge Dedicated Teacher Awards for going above and beyond for his students. Congratulations Akeem!

Akeem's nomination:

"Akeem Badru is a residence teacher in an underserved community of Ogunpa. He left his family and the comfort of city life to reside in a village which lacks the basic social amenities. His selfless service, sacrifice and steadfastness eradicated the age long practice of parents withdrawing their children from school after primary 3 (age 10) to work as domestic servants in the city which made the school produced primary six graduates after over ten years break. Through "First Step Initiatives" a Stem and project-based project, he uses craft and model making to promote inquisitiveness, creativity potentials and critical thinking skills of children. As a teach SDG Ambassador, he financed the construction of a borehole for the village as his contribution towards the achievement of 2030 SDGs and to solve the problem water related diseases that keep his pupils out of school as well to promote healthy living of his pupils."

From left to right: Abimbola Oshinnilu, Area Manager Lagos Central & Ogun State, Cambridge University Press & Assessment; Mrs Ayanyemi Alice Olubunmi, Head Mistress of St Michael RCM Primary School; Akeem Badru, 2023 Cambridge Dedicated Teacher Awards winner; and Oluwatosin Ayoola Taiwo, Business Development Manager, West Africa, Cambridge University Press & Assessment.

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Previous winners

Sydney Engelbert - Keningau Vocational College, Malaysia

Meet the 2024 Cambridge Dedicated Teacher Awards winner 

This year we received a record number of nominations. Out of over 14 800 nominations from over 140 countries around the globe, you voted Sydney Engelbert as the winner of the 2024 Cambridge Dedicated Teacher Awards. Congratulations Sydney!

Sydney's nomination: 

"She teaches English at a rural vocational school in Keningau, a landlocked valley in Sabah, Malaysia, where her students barely travel outside the district. In an effort to enrich her students’ learning experience, she kickstarted an online exchange class in 2022 with several vocational schools in Malaysia, The Philippines, Cambodia and Indonesia. The first cohort of the three-month exchange programme involved 112 students from the four countries with 45 students alone from her school. In 2023, the number increased to 252 students with 70 of them from her school. This programme has allowed her students to improve their English language, communication skills, cultural competence and learn about topics beyond their standard curriculum that complement their classroom learning. One of the best performing students from the programme has ventured into a nearly similar project by currently leading a virtual masterclass series conducted by teachers from abroad, particularly Europe and Africa."

Sydney Engelbert is an English language teacher at Keningau Vocational College, Sabah, Malaysia. She was born and grew up in Tambunan, a rural area in Sabah, and her parents are both teachers and they inspired her to delve into teaching. She pursued her tertiary education at an education university in West Malaysia and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in teaching English as a Second Language (TESL). She started teaching in 2019 where she learnt to tackle her students’ limited proficiency through a various combination of language art activities. In 2022, she co-pioneered an online exchange class programme with several vocational schools in Southeast Asia in which each cycle runs for three months. Within two years, the programme has directly benefitted almost 400 students and 50 teachers from all the participating schools. She also plays an active role in other internationalization programmes like hosting foreign students at her school.

What does it mean to you being global winner of the 2024 Dedicated Teacher Awards? 

"I am grateful and speechless. For starters, I never would have thought to be selected as the regional winner as other nominees were all amazing and I am truly honoured to be nominated amongst them. Yet, the overwhelming support that I have from my family, friends, colleagues and my students made me realized that I am not alone in this, often times, can be a challenging journey."

Why did you become a teacher? 

"Both of my parents are teachers and growing up, I have witnessed how many lives that they have touched and inspired throughout their careers. Despite receiving awards and recognition for their years of service, my parents would often say that the proudest thing about being a teacher is when their former and current students still remember and respect them. Many of their former students still remember them fondly for being their teachers. That is what made me to pursue this profession."

Do you have a dedicated teacher that inspired you? 

"There are a lot. But the one who inspired me the most is my Additional Mathematics teacher back in secondary school. I remember how she would dedicate her time and effort for all of her students to teach an arguably a really hard subject. She has inspired me both in her dedication, hard work and her amazing rapport with every student she taught." 

Do you have a memorable teaching moment? 

"My most memorable teaching moment was when the COVID-19 Pandemic hit and we had to close schools. We had to divert to teaching online classes which was never done before both by our students and teachers here. It was a challenging and a learning moment for all of us. We had to put aside our usual teaching method and fully utilise digital materials."

Please share three words to describe your typical week teaching. 

"Adventure, learning, discovery."

Tell us about a current project or school initiative that you’re excited about. 

"As the Head of Internationalisation Unit, currently, our college is getting involved with more exchange programme such as Global Online Classroom, AFS Intercultural Link Learning Program, Gaja! Korea Autumn exchange program and more to come in the coming future. Such projects are beneficial for both teachers and students alike. I am excited as this gives more opportunity to broaden our horizon and making our marks internationally."