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Palestinian teacher wins the Global Teacher Prize

18 March 2016

The announcement of a Palestinian teacher from the West Bank as a winner of the Valley Park Foundation’s 2016 Global Teacher’s Prize during a ceremony in Dubai hit the front page headlines in Palestinian daily’s.

Hanan al-Hroub, from the Bethlehem district Duheisha refugee camp, was announced as a global teacher, she was selected winner of the Valley Park Foundation's Global Teacher's Prize for 2016, out of about 8,000 contestants from around the globe.

Al-Hroub was reported in al-Quds as saying: “We want our children to live in peace.”

Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah congratulated Palestinian teacher Hanan al-Hroub for winning the Global Teacher Prize, saying she has accomplished the impossible despite of all the obstacles put in front of every Palestinian by the Israeli occupation; she makes us proud,”.  

During the award ceremony, al-Hroub said: "I am proud to be a Palestinian female teacher standing on this stage. I accept this as a win for all teachers in general and Palestinian teachers in particular.

"We, as teachers, can build the values and morals of young minds to ensure a fair, beautiful and free world, she added. "The future seems far and ambiguous, however, when you are involved in making it, the world represents a light."

Hanan Al Hroub grew up in the Palestinian refugee camp, Bethlehem, where she was regularly exposed to acts of violence. She went into primary education after her children were left deeply traumatized by a shooting incident they witnessed on their way home from school. Her experiences in meetings and consultations to discuss her children’s behaviour, development and academic performance in the years that followed led Hanan to try to help others who, having grown up in similar circumstances, require special handling at school.

With so many troubled children in the region, Palestinian classrooms can be tense environments. Hanan embraces the slogan ‘No to Violence’ and uses a specialist approach she developed herself, detailed in her book, ‘We Play and Learn’. She focuses on developing trusting, respectful, honest and affectionate relationships with her students and emphasizes the importance of literacy. She encourages her students to work together, pays close attention to individual needs and rewards positive behaviour.

Her approach has led to a decline in violent behaviour in schools where this is usually a frequent occurrence; she has inspired her colleagues to review the way they teach, their classroom management strategies and the sanctions they use.

Embassy of Palestine in Pretoria




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March 2018






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