Top Guruvar To Win Rs 51 Lac Award

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New Delhi, Aug 8 (UNI) A Dubai-based education entrepreneur today announced Re two crore awards to acknowledge the difference a teacher in India makes to an individual's life by going 'that extra mile.' The highest of the Guruvar Awards will carry a Re 51 lac prize, an unspecified portion of which will be spent on helping the top winner realise a ''dream project,'' a sponsor told journalists.

Global Education Management Systems Foundation chairman Sunny Varkey said the idea was to bring encouragement to a faculty undervalued the world over and dying, with hardly any kids nowadays keen to join.

On hand to greet the announcement, former United Nations under-secretary-general Shashi Tharoor suggested Guruvar awards could well be like Oscars for teachers in terms of public or media attention.

Tharoor recited data stressing the importance of education and said ''there is no better way to get society to value teachers than to set the example of tangibly recognising their value.'' Besides him, the Awards' Advisory Board and Jury includes Nobel Laureate R K Pachauri, Central Board of Secondary Education chairman Ashok Ganguly and Indira Gandhi National Open University vice chancellor V N Rarashekharan Pillai.

Nominations will take place through www.guruvarawards.com and selections made in four categories: No 1 Principal, No 1 Teacher, Outstanding New Teacher and No 1 Teacher from a State or Regional Board.

The Foundation says it runs about 100 schools worldwide, including 23 in Dubai, 13 in Britain and seven in India, and is the largest employer of Indian and British teachers outside India and Britain respectively.

Being one of the highest monetary honours for teachers, the Guruvar awards will give a great stimulus to the teaching industry, Varkey said.

While details of the award project are being worked out, Varkey said selection would begin in a couple of weeks and the first awards announced within a year, possibly by mid-2009.

In reply to questions, Varkey said students as will as parents' inputs would be taken into account in picking winners.

The award programme will target more than 3,000 higher secondary schools, 144,000 teachers and 57 lac students, sponsors said, adding the effort would be to physically reach 1,800 schools in 45 cities across India, covering 84,000 teachers and 35 lac students.

He said the process would be expanded over time to cover more schools and categories.

UNI MJ AE HS1757

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