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Inspiration in Education: meet five amazing teachers and students shortlisted for a FutureLearn Inspiration Award

Every day this week, we’ll be announcing the shortlisted nominations in the FutureLearn Inspiration Awards. Yesterday, we began with the Inspiration at Work category. Today, we take a look at Inspiration in Education, meeting learning heroes from Egypt, Haiti, India, Sudan and the UK.

FutureLearn Inspiration Awards - Shortlist: in Education

In this category, we asked FutureLearners to tell us about the classes they relished – which teacher or fellow student had helped them grasp a tricky subject or opened their mind to a new way of thinking. Here are our five shortlisted nominations:


Howard: a lecturer in the UK, nominated by student Robby

Howard and Robby

Robby (right) says: “Howard has helped me through university for the last four years to earn a 1st BA and a distinction MA, despite my learning difficulties and mental health problems. But he has also taken the time to broaden mine and many others’ horizons with his innovative lectures.

“He’s gone out of his way to find work experience, put on social events and help graduates find work even after they’ve completed their studies. He also listened, understood, and was able to offer options and holistic care in overcoming deaths in my family, my mum’s breast cancer and my own learning difficulties.

“Howard is available to me day and night to talk to. And he’s done this for many students, helping them with shyness, homesickness, mental health issues, financial struggles and more.”


Maha: a fellow student in Sudan, nominated by Tekla in South Sudan

Maha and Tekla

Tekla (right) says: “We met in Khartoum in 2002 at the University of Juba, when the country was one. Although we are different ages and from different backgrounds – me from the south, she from the north – she noticed that I have capabilities of talking and conducting community work, like training internally displaced peoples on conflict and peacebuilding.

“In a lot of situations, I found her beside me, not like a friend but a big sister, with her experience in life giving me courage and strength.

“Although we are now in different countries, after my part separated from Sudan, our relationship is even stronger. We have regular communication through mail and phone, and she is now preparing for her doctoral study, while I have a scholarship to study in the UK.”

Mustafa: a fellow student in Egypt, nominated by student Ali

Mustafa and Ali

Ali (right) says: “After I joined college, I was not interested in what I was studying and started checking out different fields. I came by a student activity, Spread Your Skills, that improves the quality of education. Mustafa was the President of the team.

“After spending some time with me, he suggested that I should start working in big data. A year after, I became a Certified Big Data Specialist at IBM.

“Mustafa had a one-year scholarship to study in the US, but he preferred to come back to Egypt, to lead the team while the country was politically unstable. He spent lots of his own money on it and by the end of the year, had helped 22,000 people through educational projects. Now he is a Learner Relations Intern at Edraak, an Arab MOOC platform.”

Naveen: a teacher in India, nominated by Ruchika

Naveen and Ruchika

Ruchika (right) says: “I live in the rural area of Himachal Pradesh. It was a dream not only for me, but also my friends, to get the latest technological knowledge. My teacher, Naveen, has became a god for us.

“He has not only spent a huge amount from his own pocket to provide us with advanced facilities of e-learning, but also compromised his own personal time with his family for us. He has changed the life of hundreds of other students along with mine.

“He has arranged all the facilities which are necessary for a virtual classroom and brought different subject expert educators into it through e-learning. Before him we just acquired education. Now we feel motivated, confident and never cut off from the outside world.”


Yuleidy: a fellow student in the Dominican Republic, nominated by Krisline from Haiti

Krisline and Yuleidy

Krisline (left) says: “I came to the Dominican Republic from Haiti to study management. I did not speak Spanish and did not understand the teacher. We were doing the final project and one day, Yuleidy found me crying in the bathroom. I had not started and we had only six days left.

“She decided to help me and early in the morning and until 12 at night, we worked on the project. We finished that three-month project in six days. And today, I have a degree in management thanks to that good human being.

“She helped me overcome the language barrier and the differences between our two countries. She did something that nobody during my time in Haiti did – she helped me. She made me believe there are good people in this world. I will thank her for all of my days.”


We’ll be announcing more shortlisted entries every day this week. Come back tomorrow to find out who made the final five in the Inspiration at Home category.

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