The Best Secondary School Teacher in the United Arab Emirates 2023 – 2024 Revealed. Top Schools Award Winner. Official.
The SchoolsCompared.com Top Schools Awards for
The Best Secondary School Teacher in the United Arab Emirates 2023 – 2024
is awarded to:
Almas Qureshi, Head of Technology, Raffles World Academy
Our view of Almas Qureshi, Head of Technology (Secondary) & Teacher of Design (IBDP CS, ITGS and MYP), Raffles World Academy Dubai
In the year in which The Top Schools Award has focused on STEAM, we wanted to make our top Secondary Teacher Award one that would recognise an educator deeply committed to STEAM in its broadest aspects. We wanted to find an educator with an understanding and commitment to the intrinsic inter-meshing of all subjects within an outstanding education, and the vital importance of inter-disciplinarity in schools. Miss Qureshi is an educator in Technology at one of the top International Baccalaureate schools in the emirate, Raffles World Academy.
The IB depends on just these sorts of linkages between subjects, drawn from the broadest spectrum of disciplines, including vitally the Arts, to deliver the sorts of problem solving on which it depends – and for which it is celebrated. Whilst the battles rage about the best education in the world, and particular whether that comes from the depth intrinsic to a ‘gold standard’ A level Education with its focus on three, or perhaps four subjects, or the breadth of one based on a Baccalaureate, the reality is that a depth-based education can rarely match the IB for its ability to pull in knowledge from a much greater resource pool of knowledge.
Almas Qureshi was educated at Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology – SMU where she achieved her MBA in Information Systems in 2014. She went in to secure a the EdTech MENA Conference 2019; GCC Distance Education and E-Learning Summit 2021; World Corporate Summit; STEM Best Practice Summit; and Informa Connect EdEx. Presentations include “Adapting Tech for Improved Sustainability,” “Inviting Qualitative Analytics for Effective Knowledge Delivery,” “Talent: Creating a Nurturing Environment for the World’s Leading Minds,” “Challenges of Implementing STEM,” and “Engaged GenZ Classroom.”
“My vocation is in the teaching of students at Secondary School – this is such a profoundly important time in their learning. It is arguably here that children transition to young adults, this aligning with a depth of thinking and questioning of the world, the results of which will define the opportunities and paradigm of thinking about the world throughout their lives. The responsibilities of teaching at this phase of learning are heavy, but exciting in their impacts. This is very much an inflection point in each child’s education.
“As an educator, I believe passionately that education cannot take place in a vacuum – and we must always balance academic knowledge with the interests of the whole child. It is only an holistic education that can cultivate the sort of breadth and meaning integral to truly critical thinking, creativity, the communication of ideas, and the sorts of foundations students need to establish the foundations of their journey into what is today a relatively unstable world.
“Ideas are changing almost as fast as we can think them, and many of the old shibboleths, and secure foundations of our lives, are breaking down – many near the speed of thought.
“This is the time for innovators, and creators.
“In short, this is the time for the IB and its capacity to create Leaders of a world more dependent on creativity, problem solving and ideas than ever before.”
Examples of innovation in her teaching abound.
Miss Qureshi, with her team, has developed new ways of blending the STREAM approach within the MYP design/IBDP CS to strengthen critical thinking and problem-solving abilities in students. To illustrate the practical applications of Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, The Arts, and Mathematics, she has developed real-world models, including, for example, sleeping pods for migrant workers and educational tools for astronauts, as a lever to engage students with ethics, economic models of distribution and the imagination.
The MYP design/IBDP CS strands integrate reading technology case studies and The Arts into the curriculum as foundations of learning, not an adjunct. The use of technology case studies helps students understand real-world technology applications, while incorporating The Arts, for example in graphic design, literature and interface development, allows students to grasp interdisciplinary connections and gain practical skills in linking disciplines within solutions and modelling.
Miss Qureshi is a strong advocate for the Mock School Court Project, which supports inclusion policy in education. She encourages students to take on a broad spectrum of diverse roles, for example as solicitors, artists, drafters, mathematicians, researchers, journalists, and witnesses, to forge new ways of approaching learning. This approach teaches the influence of subjectivity and highlights the tensions between reason and fact, and the subjective perspectives which give that meaning.
Another example of innovation in Secondary education focused on STEAM is her evolution within the school of wellbeing initiatives focused on the Sciences broadly, and Chemistry in particular – to unveil the hidden subjectivity of food labelling for health and nutrition. The lack of common standards in food labelling, and the vested interests of corporations, provides a focal point for questioning orthodoxy and using research to data to produce potential universally meaningful and objective systems of food labelling and regulation. Her teams have leveraged technology to reach a broad audience and won the Expo Food Wise Challenge. They are currently working on promoting their ideas – and raising awareness of a “better way“.
This sort of critical teaching is at the heart of other initiatives Miss Qureshi has pioneered at Raffles World Academy. These include guiding the Expo Young Innovators Challenge, a competition encouraging students to develop new ideas and technologies. This challenge provides students with resources and support to showcase their talents and improve their creativity and problem-solving abilities. Two Raffles World Academy teams were selected to display their innovations at the Expo Centre.
Miss Qureshi is a strong advocate for promoting awareness about Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and has been leading a student-led IPR Initiative for the past four years in collaboration with Dubai Customs Authority. The initiative aims to educate students, business owners, and blue-collar workers on the importance of IPR in protecting and promoting innovation and creativity, with the team being declared winners of the challenge.
The motivation here is to ensure that all students at Raffles World Academy understand that an idea in its own right, however important or commercially successful, is only as protected as its legal security. Education here encompasses learning in Trademarks and Copyright as students at Raffles World Academy Dubai develop their own prototypes and potentially commercially viable products.
Her Secondary students have consistently been recognised for their achievements, earning numerous awards and accomplishments including The International NASA Space App Challenge(the first winning entrant by a UAE National); The International Drone Design Challenge; (Popular Design Award); The WeVoi National Speaking Challenge (where her student secures First Prize); The City1016 Quiz First Prize, The World Scholars Cup (where her student achieved Best Scholar in the Gulf and MENA region).
Miss Qureshi has also used technology to connect students globally, their participating and winning events including both the Mock School Court Debate and the Scholars Cup. These experiences help students develop critical thinking, communication, and teamwork skills, while also providing a sense of achievement and the chance to learn about different cultures and perspectives.
Timothy Roberts, Principal, Raffles World Academy, supporting the work of Miss Qureshi told us:
“STEM education plays a crucial role in schools as it provides students with the foundation to understand and solve the complex problems that society faces. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are essential to understand the world and make informed decisions. By studying STEM subjects, students can develop critical thinking skills and learn how to analyze, design, and experiment with various solutions. This type of education helps to prepare students for a future in a rapidly changing technological world, where knowledge and skills in these areas are highly valued.
Moreover, STEM education has the potential to inspire students to pursue careers in STEM fields, which are known to offer high-paying and in-demand job opportunities. In today’s global economy, STEM jobs are projected to grow significantly and provide a pathway to a successful and fulfilling career. In addition, a strong STEM education can also lead to advancements in various fields, such as medicine, energy, transportation, and many others. These advancements can have a positive impact on society and improve quality of life for people all over the world. By investing in STEM education in secondary schools, we can equip the next generation with the tools they need to tackle the challenges of the future.”
Award PresentationBest-Secondary-School-Teacher-Almas-Qureshi-Winner-Certificate Final
The Top Schools Award for Best Secondary School Teacher in the United Arab Emirates 2023 – 2024 will be presented to Almas Qureshi, Head of Technology, Raffles World Academy at a special Breakfast Celebration at The Emirates Golf Club on the morning of 16th November 2023. At the event the recipient of The Top Schools Awards 2023 – 2024 for Outstanding Contribution to Education will be revealed.
Historic winners of the Outstanding Contribution to Education in the UAE Award include H.E. Dr. Abdulla Al Karam, Director General of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority, recognised for his era defining leadership of Education in Dubai as a force for good; and the Varkey Family, for their instrumental role in shaping education in the UAE, and ensuring the life chances for generations of children, following the founding of GEMS Education in 1959.
Our extraordinary Finalists and those schools which have achieved outstandingly in so many ways for children in the Best Secondary Teacher category follow. Each of the following teachers are recognised for their profound contribution to the profession of Teaching in UAE Education:
Kerry Conlon, Head of Mathematics, Kent College Dubai
KHDA: Good with Very Good features
Daniel Emery, Head of Art, The British School Al Khubairat
ADEK: Outstanding / BSO Outstanding
Sarah Lambert, Teacher of English and Specialist Leader in Education (SLE Innovative Pedagogy: Oracy & Harkness), Dubai College
Elfyn Wyn Jones, Former Director of Design and Innovation, Nord Anglia International School Dubai
A final note.
The Top Schools Awards takes over a year to produce. It engages with parents, students educators and educationalists over countless months, and the work invested in these Awards is the stuff of sleepless nights and deeply felt responsibility. We produce these Awards to celebrate our amazing schools, our magnificent teachers – who are the centre of the universe, our school leaders, whose lives will be judged by their impact on children, and the amazing students that they build a future for. These Awards are only about recognising this – in a world in which our schools and educators have far, far too little recognition. If on exploring these Awards you do one single thing, it should be to reach out to each and every one and thank them for all they do, each and every one of our schools, teachers and school leaders. You have absolutely no idea how much that would mean.
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