Kerala-born entrepreneur Sunny Varkey, founder of the Dubai-based Varkey GEMS Foundation, launched the prize at the Global Education & Skills Forum 2014 to draw attention to the achievements of teachers.
The teachers, two from Mumbai, one each from Delhi and Bangaluru, were selected from nearly 8,000 nominations from 148 countries for the Varkey GEMS Foundation Global Teacher Prize.
The Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2016, dubbed the 'Nobel Prize for teaching' was set up to recognise one exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession.
The Indian teachers among the global top 50 include Robin Chaurasiya, founder of Kranti - a non-profit which empowers marginalised girls from Mumbai's red-light areas, Dhaval Bathia from Genesis Education in Mumbai, Santhi Karamcheti from EDventure Academy in Bangaluru and Rashmi Kathuria from Kulachi Hansraj Model School in Delhi.
"We were overwhelmed by the huge support the Global Teacher Prize received in its first year. We intend to keep this momentum going as our journey continues to return teachers to their rightful position as one of the most respected professions in society."
"The thousands of nominations and applications we received from every corner of the planet is testimony to the achievements of teachers and the enormous impact they have on all of our lives," said Sunny.
The top 50 shortlisted teachers have now been judged by a Prize Committee and 10 finalists will be announced in February 2016.
All the finalists will be invited to Dubai for the award ceremony at the Global Education and Skills Forum (GESF) in March next year where the winner will be announced.
"However much we achieve in life, we all began learning the basics from a teacher in a classroom. Those that teach, devoting their talents and time to nurturing the talents of others, deserve to be respected and celebrated," said Oscar- winning actor Kevin Spacey, who sits on the Global Teacher Prize Academy that chooses the final winner.
The Global Teacher Prize winner is paid the prize money in equal instalments over 10 years and the Varkey Foundation also provides the winner with financial counselling.
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