Italian teacher Carlo Mazzone makes final ten for US $1 million Global Teacher Prize 2020

01 oct. 2020 |

In a moving tribute, Stephen Fry announces Carlo Mazzone as a top ten finalist.

Italian teacher Carlo Mazzone has been named a top 10 finalist for the Global Teacher Prize 2020, in partnership with UNESCO. Now in its sixth year, the US$1 million award established by the Varkey Foundation is the largest prize of its kind.

In a special video message announcing Carlo Mazzone as a top ten finalist, comedian, actor, writer and presenter Stephen Fry paid a moving tribute to Carlo Mazzone’s work. He said:

“Today I am delighted to announce that Carlo Mazzone from Italy is a top ten finalist for the Global Teacher Prize 2020. Carlo, you graduated with a degree in computer science and went to work as an IT consultant, and yet, teaching was pulling at your heart strings. Now you inspire your ICT and computer science students to not only excel at their subjects but also win national junior achievement competitions. And your books on programming, like your volume on C and C++ are not only bestsellers in Italy but are also used as standard texts in universities. Congratulations Carlo and thank you for everything you do”.

ICT and computer science teacher Carlo Mazzone, from technical institute, the ITI "G. B. B. Lucarelli" in Benevento, southern Italy, was shortlisted for the Global Teacher Prize 2020, after being selected from over 12,000 nominations and applications from over 140 countries around the world.

Carlo Mazzone comes from a family steeped in a proud tradition of education. His father was a headmaster, and his mother and sister were both teachers. Carlo himself initially gained a degree in computer science and worked for several national corporations as an IT consultant. However, he was drawn back to teaching through the technical training courses he conducted while working in the private sector – an experience that also helped shape his scientific approach to teaching. Since 2004, he has worked in the Italian public school system while also maintaining his skills as a consultant and keeping up-to-date with the latest developments in industry – something that informs his teaching and greatly benefits his pupils too.

Carlo Mazzone teaches in an area of high unemployment and his main innovation has been in creating teaching materials based on extensive experience of what works in his subject. Over the years, his books have been nationally published and translated into other languages: his work on C and C++ has become a bestseller in Italy and is also used in some universities. He also holds the official title of Digital Animator, meaning that he guides his school’s implementation of the government’s National Digital Plan. He has set up several e-learning platforms to manage and streamline his students’ work. Lessons are centered around the principle of “vivariumware”, a kind of nursery training material that will go on to encourage and create bigger things.

His students have had great success in the Junior Achievement competitions for business education, winning the Campania regional phase and the Italian national competition in 2019. This in turn led to his class representing Italy in the international competition in Lille, where they achieved the runner-up place. Aside from the Junior Achievement competitions, his students have also won the EU-sponsored Youth and Science competition in Milan, and Carlo has linked up to train students in other countries including Malta and Poland, helping introduce them to the world of work.

Carlo Mazzone joins UK teacher Jamie Frost, South African teacher Mokhudu Cynthia Machaba, US teacher Leah Juelke and South Korean teacher Yun Jeong-hyun as a top 10 finalist. The remaining five top 10 finalists will be announced one each week in the run up to the Global Teacher Prize ceremony, which will be virtual for the very first time in its history due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Global Teacher Prize is also delighted to announce that this year’s virtual ceremony, expected to take place on December 3rd 2020 where the overall winner will be announced, will be hosted by English comedian, actor, writer and presenter Stephen Fry from the Natural History Museum in London. The ceremony will also include a special recognition for one teacher – a COVID hero – who has gone above and beyond to keep young people learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With ten years to go to meet UN sustainable development goal 4 - providing a quality education for every child - the Global Teacher Prize has partnered with UNESCO to ensure teachers are right at the top of governments’ agendas.

Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director General for Education at UNESCO, said:

“Congratulations to Carlo Mazzone for being selected as a top ten finalist from such a huge number of talented and dedicated teachers. I hope his story will inspire those looking to enter the teaching profession and also highlight the incredible work teachers do all over Italy and throughout the world every day.

“The Global Teacher Prize helps put the teacher voice at the heart of our mission to champion inclusive learning opportunities for children and young people all over the world, especially the most marginalised and disadvantaged, during this sudden and unprecedented disruption to global education.

“Since the coronavirus pandemic first emerged, we have seen 1.5 billion learners across the world impacted by school and university closures. But not all learners are being impacted equally. Governments must learn lessons and act decisively to ensure all children receive a quality education in the age of COVID and beyond”.

Sunny Varkey, founder of the Global Teacher Prize, said:

“The Global Teacher Prize was set up to shine a spotlight on the important role teachers play in society. By unearthing thousands of stories of heroes that have transformed young people’s lives, the prize hopes to bring to life the exceptional work of teachers all over the world.

“This year, more than ever, we have seen teachers go above and beyond to keep young people learning throughout the world. Teachers everywhere should be applauded for their creativity, compassion and resolve to fulfil every child’s right to a good education”.