Innovative UK project wins prestigious UNESCO Hamdan bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Prize

The Fast-track Transformational Teacher Training Programme, an innovative teacher training programme in Ghana developed by the Sabre Trust, has been selected as one of the three winners of the UNESCO-Hamdan bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Prize for Outstanding Practice and Performance in Enhancing the Effectiveness of Teachers 2017-2018.

The UNESCO-Hamdan bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Prize was created in 2008 to support the improvement of teaching and learning quality in achieving the Education for All goals, which is one of UNESCO’s priorities. The Prize, which is supported by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum of the United Arab Emirates, consists of three awards of USD 100,000 for each winning project.

The Fast-track Transformational Teacher Training Programme is a highly innovative and impactful teacher training approach, which is drawn directly from Ghanaian government strategy and is a critical part of Ghana’s efforts to meet Sustainable Development Goal 4 in respect of the provision of quality early years education.

Through training, practicing teachers are supported to implement the Government’s new child-centred, active and play-based kindergarten methodology. Teachers support children to develop the five C’s (Confidence, Communication, Cooperation, Curiosity, Concentration) as the foundation of 21st Century Skills, early grade literacy, numeracy and creativity, in a child-friendly and non-threatening learning environment. Student teachers are exposed to best practice giving them the confidence and capability to enact the teaching methodology as newly qualified teachers.

Dominic Bond, Sabre’s Chief Executive Officer said: “We are absolutely delighted that the Fast-track Transformational Teacher Training Programme has gained this recognition from the Hamdan Award and UNESCO. We will use the award to continue to support national education reforms in Ghana and share this methodology as widely as possible, to give all new kindergarten teachers the benefit of an enhanced placement experience.”

Rev. Sister Elizabeth Amoako-Arhen, Principal OLA College of Education and President National Conference of Principals of Colleges of Education said: “We are extremely pleased that the Fast-track Transformational Teacher Training Programme has gained such important recognition, and congratulate Sabre Trust on securing this award. OLA College has been involved with the project from the beginning, and we have benefited hugely from our collaboration with Sabre. As President of Ghana’s National Conference of College Principals I am also a strong advocate for the expansion of the Fast-track Transformational Teacher Training Programme to all colleges and believe this award will greatly support that process.”

Gary Brace, Non-Executive Director with the Education Portfolio at the UK National Commission for UNESCO said: “Congratulations to the Sabre Trust on winning the UNESCO-Hamdan bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Prize. It is fantastic to have a UK winner for this prestigious prize, and is recognition of its training programme with the Ghanaian Ministry of Education and its focus on quality kindergarten education. The Ghana Education Service and Colleges of Education will now take on ownership and responsibility for the future of the project helping future cohorts of student teachers to experience quality teaching practice.”

The other two winners of this year’s prize are The Center for Mathematic Modeling of the University of Chile, and the Diklat Berjenjang project of Indonesia. More information on the Prize can be found on UNESCO’s website: https://en.unesco.org/teachers/Hamdan-prize

About the Fast-Track Transformational Teacher Training Programme

Outdoor Learning – Credit: Jack Brockway


The Fast-track Transformational Teacher Training Programme is a highly innovative and impactful teacher training approach, which is drawn directly from government strategy and is a critical part of Ghana’s efforts to meet Sustainable Development Goal 4 in respect of the provision of quality early years education, and specifically the following targets:

Substantially increase the supply of qualified teachers, including through international cooperation for teacher training in developing countries, especially least developed countries and small island developing states;

Ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education.

The Fast-track Transformational Teacher Training Programme is delivered in partnership with the Ghana Education Service and Colleges of Education (OLA and Holy Child) in the Central and Western Regions of Ghana. The project is a direct response to the weaknesses identified in the current teacher training system, which were raised by College of Education Principals during the development of Ghana’s Operational Plan to Scale up Quality Kindergarten Education Nationwide (2012). Typically, student teachers did not receive a quality classroom placement experience during their studies, due to the lack of good practice kindergarten classrooms in the vicinity of the colleges.

Through the training, practicing classroom teachers are supported to implement the Government’s new child-centred, active and play-based kindergarten methodology. Teachers support children to develop the five C’s (Confidence, Communication, Cooperation, Curiosity, Concentration) as the foundation of 21st Century Skills, early grade literacy, numeracy and creativity, in a child-friendly and non-threatening learning environment. Student teachers are exposed to best practice giving them the confidence and capability to enact the teaching methodology as newly qualified teachers. In the final year of the programme, the delivery and monitoring is handed over to the Colleges of Education and the Ghana Education Service.

To date, the Fast-track Transformational Teacher Training Programme has trained 797 teachers, head teachers, student teachers, Ghana Education Service officers and College tutors.

Over 22,000 four and five year old children have received a quality start to their education by being taught in a more child-centred, engaging and active and play based way.

The past and current principle funders of the Fast-track Transformational Teacher Training Programme are Vitol Foundation, Dubai Cares, Comic Relief, ELMA Foundation, UK aid from the UK government, Waterloo Foundation, Allan and Nesta Ferguson Charitable Trust and the British and Foreign School Society.