Riadh Zammali

Gyathi Centre Zayed Higher Organization, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Riadh  Zammali

Riadh grew up passionate about sports, and in particular about helping school pupils develop their skills and character through Physical Education (PE). In 2004, he graduated as a PE teacher and began working in a centre for SEN students in a small village, where he would frequently pay students’ travel fees so that they could compete in national events. During this period, his students won more than 15 medals in the Tunisian Championship for SEN sports. 

Soon after, Riadh was recruited as PE teacher by the Ministry of Education in Tunisia, assigned to three schools in a rural area where most students had to walk more than 10km to reach the school. Despite there being little infrastructure or equipment to practise PE, he launched and led a number of PE school clubs, as well as the first sports associations for girls in that region. More recently, Riadh joined the Ghayathi Center for Special Needs in the UAE, where many students have complex disabilities that require different interventions and activities for each student. As a member of the curriculum team, he introduces innovative new approaches to the school, and in 2019, he presented the Microsoft Educational Program for people with disabilities for the first time in the region. This program aims to improve teaching methods while integrating technology and augmented reality for educational use. 14 centres benefited from the program, and since it was delivered Riadh has also evaluated the impact and published the results. Additionally, he has organised and led further workshops that empower teachers to implement 21st-century skills and innovations in their teaching practice. 

After two years at the Ghayathi centre, Riadh’s students have won more than 100 national and international prizes in different sports. The centre has also forged new links throughout the region that will help it integrate more SEN students, winning Best SEN Centre in Abu Dhabi 2020-2021. During this time, Riadh has launched a coding curriculum for SEN students to empower them with STEM skills, while also creating a special program for gifted and talented students in SPE and sports. 

Riadh’s achievements have been recognised by a variety of sources. In 2020, he won the Best Teacher award for all centres for people with disabilities in Abu Dhabi, and was additionally  nominated for the Mohamed bin Zayed Award for Best Gulf Teacher. He was also entered onto the Microsoft 2020 international list of expert teachers, and won Best Innovative Educational Tool, Best Innovative Technology Tool, and Most Innovative Employee from the Abu Dhabi Government Centres for People with Disabilities.  

If he wins the Global Teacher Prize, Riadh wants to launch an association called Technology for Charity. This would support children with disabilities in poor countries by using specially adapted smart learning, augmented and virtual reality tools to ensure equality between them and their peers. He would also like to open an elite sports and social academy for children with an impairment from war injuries, as well as launching an annual award that celebrates teachers who have helped integrate people with disabilities into the community.