Sultan Alanazi

Alfarabi Elementary School, Hail region, Saudi Arabia

Sultan  Alanazi

Working from a school in a small rented building in the Hail region of Saudi Arabia, Sultan has made strenuous efforts to help pupils who are particularly in need, including orphans and those suffering from family problems, and special needs. At his own financial expense, he has brought computers, networking and educational software to use at his school, vastly improving his students’ ability to access global education. As a result, they have won a number of local Digital Student and English Language competitions, and have even received special recognition from the Emir of the region. Their academic results are also outstanding: last year, more than 90% of Sultan’s students achieved the highest grade in the Saudi education system.

Sultan further contributes to special needs education outside his school through the Saudi Society for Special Education, which provides educational services for students with special needs as well as activities, lectures, seminars and volunteer courses to help inform parents and teachers about how best to tackle educational challenges. He also helps to train teachers at the University of Hail special education department – developing their specialist skills and augmenting their practical knowledge – and he has written a book on special education in English that is studied at the University of Shaqra, aimed at university students, teachers and others interested in special education.

In recognition of his efforts, Sultan has been nominated for many awards – winning the Ministry of Education Award for Excellence, the Hail Education Award for Excellence, Innovation and Scientific Research at King Saud University, and achieving Top 15 placement in the Mohammed bin Zayed Award rankings for best Gulf teacher. He also takes his expertise to a wider public by writing articles and appearing on television, where he talks about the importance of the teaching profession as well as the social problems it can address. Sultan is also the chief executive officer for Saudi teachers association in Hail City which serves more than 10,000 teachers.

If he wins the Global Teacher Prize, Sultan would use the funds to establish a special educational centre for orphans and poor students that would help serve the local community and remedy behavioural problems. Buses would be provided to take students to and from this educational centre, and as part of the programme the centre would also provide healthy meals, competitions and leisure activities. Students would additionally be trained to invest in the labor market and establish entrepreneurship programs.