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'.

"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 winner 

2020 winner 

2021 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.

"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

Contact Us

Cambridge University Press

The Triangle Building

Shaftesbury Avenue



Join Us

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 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.

Previous winners

How did it feel when you found out you had won the global Cambridge Dedicated Teacher Award?

“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.”  

Are there any achievements during your teaching career you’re particularly proud of?

“There are a lot of achievements from my career I am proud of. To name a few, in 2020 I was selected as a presenter in SSAEM (Sharing Stories of Asia-Pacific Education Movements) online conference which is organised by UNESCO-APCEIU. In 2021 I organised an online international student exchange programme with Daedong Middle School, and in 2022 I won the Cambridge Dedicated Teacher Awards!”

Did you have a favourite teacher that inspired you when you were at school? If so, why were they so inspiring? What did you learn from them?

“There are a lot, but in particular I love my language teachers from secondary school. What I learned the most from them is always support your students in whatever they do, even if they fail, or perform not as expected. Students are at the exploring stage, and some of them deserve extra attention if they want to venture into something great. If the students approach you for your opinion, that means they trust you the most. Support them.” 

What do you think makes a dedicated teacher?

“Passion in whatever they are teaching including any extra-curricular activity, having a work-life balance, willing to go the extra mile as a teacher and resilience.”

Do you have any teacher tips to share with other teachers?

Never be afraid to make mistakes. Calculate your risk and proceed with guidance. If you make a mistake, learn from it. 

Be passionate. Make Monday your most exciting day so you can’t wait for school. 

Be the changemaker or trendsetter that brings benefit to your colleagues and students.”

Instagram logo

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."

We recently interviewed Akeem about his life as a teacher, here is what he had to say. 

Why did you become a teacher?

"Growing up, I faced numerous challenges and encountered failures at every turn. Academic struggles followed me until primary school, and financial difficulties forced me to abandon my secondary education at the age of twenty. I became the epitome of an underachiever in my community.

However, rather than succumbing to despair, I embraced these hardships as catalysts for achieving greatness. Given my background, I chose to pursue a career in teaching, driven by a deep desire to uplift underprivileged children and defy societal expectations. Being a teacher allows me to instill hope in those who feel hopeless and empower them to rise above their circumstances.

As a naturally giving person, no other profession aligns better with my nature and purpose than teaching. It grants me the opportunity to impart all that I have learned and immerse myself in the lives of those I encounter. This calling has bestowed upon me the chance to make a meaningful contribution to the lives of children and nurture within them a positive mindset towards their future.

The passion that fuels my commitment to teaching is unwavering, as I continue to be an agent of change and a beacon of hope in the lives of the students I am privileged to serve."

Do you have a dedicated teacher that inspired you? 

"Mr. Alade, my Government teacher at Ebenezer Comprehensive High School in Lagos, Nigeria, exemplifies passion and dedication in his profession. Unlike other teachers who retreat to the staff room, Mr. Alade can always be found lingering in the corridors near the classroom where he teaches. He seizes every opportunity, even during idle hours, to impart knowledge to his students.  

Mr. Alade's unwavering commitment to his work leaves a profound impact. His presence and punctuality demonstrate that dedication promotes fulfillment and attracts success. Through his teaching, he instills in us a sense of purpose and a belief in our own potential. Mr. Alade's passion is palpable, inspiring us to approach our studies with the same level of enthusiasm and commitment. He goes above and beyond, ensuring that no lesson is missed and that every student receives the attention they deserve. Mr. Alade's dedication to his craft serves as a shining example and motivates us to strive for excellence in all that we do."

Do you have a memorable teaching moment? 

"One of the most memorable teaching moments in my career occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, from February to August 2020. As schools were forced to close their doors, I had the opportunity to be a tutor on the state-sponsored virtual teaching program called "Ogun Digiclass." This program was broadcasted daily on various channels, including OGTV Channel 25 UHF, DSTV Channel 260, GOTV Channel 100, and Startimes Channel 113. It aimed to provide alternative learning options for students who were unable to access traditional classroom education. 

Being part of this initiative brought me immense joy and satisfaction. Despite the prevailing fear and uncertainty that gripped the world, I was among teachers who willingly sacrificed their time and efforts to ensure that students had access to quality education. It was a true testament to my passion for teaching and my commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of my students, even in the face of adversity. The experience reinforced my belief in the transformative power of education and highlighted the importance of dedication and selflessness in the teaching profession."

Tell us about a current project or school initiative that you are excited about? 

"The Nigeria National Policy on Education has long emphasized the need to lay a solid foundation for scientific and reflective thinking in primary school education. However, this objective has remained a mere aspiration since 1977. As an advocate for project-based learning, I firmly believe that achieving this objective requires intentional and focused efforts. This belief led me to establish FIRST STEP INITIATIVES.

First Step Initiative is a pioneering initiative that aims to equip children with the skills and abilities to create prototypes of complex projects on a smaller scale through model and craft making. By challenging and developing pupils' creative and critical thinking skills, this project empowers them to ask insightful questions and challenge the theories of physics. Through systematic observation and inquiry, children can enhance their understanding, curiosity, and creativity. 

This project specifically targets children who represent the future power of our nation, as they are filled with hopes, energy, ideas, dreams, and untapped potentials that are invaluable assets to society. With the right preparation, children can be instrumental in addressing the technological deficiencies of our nation. 

Education in the African context has often been limited to the cognitive abilities of learners, resulting in a lack of critical thinking skills and hindering technological advancements. The First Step Initiative seeks to bridge this gap by developing children's psychomotor skills, fostering an appreciation for the world around them, cultivating curiosity, nurturing hidden creative potentials, and encouraging innovative problem-solving. Furthermore, the project promotes a culture of recycling and empowers children to develop local technology abilities. 

To expand the impact of this initiative, I aspire to establish a school of BASIC TECHNOLOGY that moves beyond theory and prioritizes practical application. I am open to partnerships and collaborations to further this project's reach and create meaningful change in our educational system. 

Passion drives me to transform education, empowering children to become active participants in shaping a brighter future."

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.

Cambridge University Press & Assessment crest

© Cambridge University Press & Assessment 2023

About2024 Shortlist
JudgingPrevious winnersNominate