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Colombian teacher named ‘world’s most dedicated’

Out of 6,000 entries from 97 different countries, Cambridge University Press has named Patricia Abril, from New Cambridge School in Bucaramanga, as the winner of the Dedicated Teacher Awards 2020.

Born in Bucaramanga, Colombia, Patricia teaches social studies, but it was her work with students on social projects in the local community that made her nomination stand out.

Her programmes have positively influenced different communities and places, including a student-led project to improve local facilities for people with disabilities, which recently received government funding.

After a panel of judges picked Patricia to be one of the final six teachers in the competition, a public vote confirmed her as the 2020 ‘world’s most dedicated teacher’ on January 26.

The Dedicated Teacher Awards are a global competition in which people of all ages can nominate their teachers for the special work they do. Patricia is only the second ever winner, earning herself an all-expenses paid trip to the UK to celebrate her success and share her story at Cambridge University Press’s annual education conference, along with free resources for her school and a host of other prizes.

“Empathy guides my work with students; it helps to promote other human competencies that are essential for transforming society,” explained Patricia. “I manage social projects at my school that are not only based on empathy, but also on developing a sense of social responsibility and leadership in students.

“I will continue working with the New Cambridge School´s community in order to make my mission evident: to change the world by promoting social projects and by developing leadership competencies in all of my students. I am proud to be a Colombian teacher! I am proud to be a Dedicated Teacher!”

“Teachers, like Patricia, not only change the lives of their students for the better, but they instil in them the values and vision to improve the world for everyone,” commented Ann Sherry, Director at Cambridge University Press. “We share this ambition and provide support that encourages the development of a wide range of life skills, so that together with teachers, we build brighter futures for our learners.

“The Dedicated Teacher Awards provide us with a way of thanking teachers for the work that they do every day. We will be sharing stories throughout the coming year to give teachers the recognition and thanks they truly deserve.”

Along with five finalists, Patricia will appear on a thank you page that will appear in a selection of Cambridge University Press’s new education publishing from May 2020 and for a period of one year.

Finalists include Tiffany Cavanagh, Trident College Solwezi, Zambia; Stanley Manaay, Salvacion National High School, Philippines; John Nicko Coyoca, University of San Jose-Recoletos, Philippines; Meera Rangarajan, RBK Academy, India; and Helen Comerford, Lumen Christi Catholic College, Australia.

You can read all the 2020 shortlisted stories, including Patricia’s, online at

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