London - Schools in Scotland, Uganda, Chile, Philippines and the United States triumphed at the inaugural "World’s Best School Prizes" on Wednesday for feats including saving mangroves and expanding classrooms in an area hit by war.
The five schools shared $250,000 in prize money for supporting pupils and communities, especially during the pandemic, in the awards organised by global body T4 Education.
Dunoon Grammar School in Scotland won the category of community collaboration for skill-based courses, including in travel and tourism, design and maritime studies, intended to stem a brain-drain.
Escuela Emilia Lascar in Penaflor, Chile won for innovation for its "Emilia TV" programme which addressed issues from mental health to gender identity.
Bonuan Buquig National High School in Dagupan City, Philippines took the environmental prize for helping rehabilitate lost mangroves and provide new habitats for fish.
From two classrooms to schooling 450 pupils, Project Shelter Wakadogo in north Uganda won the prize for overcoming adversity after locals secured land, levelled roads and planted vegetables for school meals in an area that suffered from civil war.
Curie Metropolitan High School in Chicago, Illinois, won the supporting healthy lives prize for providing an arts programme for students, many from minorities, as well as integrated health services.
“Far too many children will continue to be left behind in the wake of COVID unless governments take urgent action to tackle the education crisis," T4 Education and the prizes founder Vikas Pota said in a statement.
"As a first step, they must turn to the knowledge and experience contained within our schools because those on the frontlines of education know better than anyone else the change we need to see."
Founded during the pandemic, T4 brings together teachers from around to world via a digital platform providing tools and initiatives for education.
(Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)