Government Girls’ Day Secondary School Sokoto in Nigeria has been listed as one of the top 10 schools in the World’s Best School Prize for overcoming adversity.
The World’s Best School Prizes, founded in 2022 by T4 Education in collaboration with Accenture, American Express, and the Lemann Foundation, are the world’s most prestigious education prizes where winning schools share $250,000.
Other top finalists include William Henry Burkhart Elementary in the US and Escola Municipal Professor Edson Pisani in Brazil.
Meanwhile, Spark Soweto, a South African school emerged winner of the 2023 award for community collaboration.
Spark Soweto, an independent, partially government-funded kindergarten and primary school in Johannesburg, emerged winner for serving as a catalyst for change for its disadvantaged community, which was once symbolic of the struggle against Apartheid.
SPARK Soweto, and other finalists, will share their best practices to help others replicate their work through School Transformation Toolkits and events on the T4 Communities app.
Vikas Pota, founder of T4 Education and the World’s Best School Prizes, lauded Spark Soweto for winning the World’s Best School Prize for community collaboration.
Pota said educators across the world should look to the shining example of Spark Soweto School in impacting lives, adding that governments must look to the trailblazing work the school has done as they seek answers to one of the great challenges the African continent faces today.
By prioritising affordability, community engagement, and environmental stewardship, Spark Soweto was able to tackle social and economic challenges head-on, such as curbing local unemployment and addressing gender-based violence.
The school also addressed local unemployment by prioritising the hiring of local youth who have just completed their undergraduate studies. It engaged with the local municipal counsellor and formed an agreement that at least 30 percent of the people hired at SPARK Soweto must reside within the Soweto community.
As a result, over 60 percent of the staff that work at SPARK Soweto are residents of Soweto, which further solidifies the school’s investment in making the community better.
SPARK Soweto plans to use the prize funds to continue to build on the community initiatives that have already shown significant impact.
Other winners in several categories include Institución Educativa Municipal Montessori sede San Francisco in Colombia which won the World’s Best School Prize for Environmental Action.
The Riverside School in India won the World’s Best School Prize for Innovation; The Max Rayne Hand in Hand Jerusalem School won the World’s Best School Prize for Overcoming Adversity; EEMTI Joaquim Bastos Gonçalves in Brazil won the World’s Best School Prize for Supporting Healthy Lives.
In addition, a new Community Choice Award was presented this year to Escola Municipal Professor Edson Pisani in Brazil after it won the most votes of all the World’s Best School Prizes finalists in a Public Vote.