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SL-born Aussie teacher one of world’s top 10 educators

22 February 2019 08:31 pm - 24     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Sri Lankan-born Australian Yasodai Selvakumaran has been named a finalist for the US$1 million Global Teacher Prize, SBS News reported today.

Well-known Australian actor Hugh Jackman did the honours, announcing the list of 10 from a field of 10,000 applicants spanning 179 countries.

Yasodai Selvakumaran - fondly known as Ms Selva to her humanities students at Rooty Hill High School - has made the final shortlist for the 2019 Global Teaching Prize.

More than 10,000 teachers from around the world were nominated, but Ms Selvakumaran was the only Australian to make the top 10.

At a school where more than half the students come from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, Ms Selvakumaran said inclusive teaching is vital.

“Something I really strive for with my students is for them to understand they have a place in the world and to help them find their voice,” she said.

“That’s why it’s so important to teach the humanities, and it’s so important for students to see that Australia is multicultural and they do belong here.”

Ms Selvakumaran is not the first Australian to make it this far, with Sydney maths teacher and YouTube sensation Eddie Woo getting to the same stage last year.

This year, Ms Selvakumaran’s fellow top 10 teachers hail from all around the globe, with educators from Japan, Brazil, India, Georgia, The Netherlands, the UK, and the USA also making the final cut.

Born in Sri Lanka, Ms Selvakumaran’s family moved to Australia when she was just 10 months.

She said the motivation to become a teacher was inspired by the high value placed on education in her family and community.

“I’ve always come from a family that values education above everything, so when I told my parents I wanted to go into teaching, they were thrilled,” she said.

“I knew it wasn’t just about teaching for me. It was about pursuing history and promoting that all stories are important.”

  Comments - 24

  • Ruwan Friday, 22 February 2019 08:43 PM

    can you come and teach our teachers using violence, is not teaching or education.

    Ravi Friday, 22 February 2019 09:31 PM

    Possibly gone down under in 1983

    maru Friday, 22 February 2019 10:42 PM

    Clearly you have been educated in Sri Lanka

    sham Saturday, 23 February 2019 06:24 AM

    she born in Jaffna and moved to Aus when she was 10 months old

    Dhammika Guneratne Friday, 22 February 2019 09:54 PM


    Rohan Saturday, 23 February 2019 12:53 AM

    Another example of how our country is governed and managed, in an overall sense, that do not give opportunities for Sri Lankans to excel here in our country.

    HP Saturday, 23 February 2019 01:52 AM

    Congrats to this Teacher and we are hopeful that she will come up as the winner. Keep up the great work Teacher

    Manel Saturday, 23 February 2019 02:30 AM

    Happy to hear this

    Mohamed Saturday, 23 February 2019 03:11 AM

    Honour should go to the Australian government and her parents none of Sri Lankan deserve to share. She just born here

    karu Saturday, 23 February 2019 06:03 AM

    small nation already have missed so many talents since civil war started.....

    Cluless Saturday, 23 February 2019 06:19 AM

    Should get her to educate our 225.

    sashi Saturday, 23 February 2019 08:19 AM

    Well done and congratulations

    Yehiya Saturday, 23 February 2019 08:28 AM

    All our assets are shifted. Garbage

    Jj Saturday, 23 February 2019 09:10 AM


    Sangaralingham Saturday, 23 February 2019 10:28 AM

    All in the person his her attitude to self society family love of children intrest in educations fellow humans with mental outlook for glorification of life for others

    ace Saturday, 23 February 2019 11:28 AM

    This is the only thing left. SL born Can they ever say, SL live?

    Modaya Saturday, 23 February 2019 01:52 PM

    Congratulations and best wishes. it's best you continue your good work in Australia as you can't teach anything to any one in SL.

    Trudy Ranasinghe Saturday, 23 February 2019 02:35 PM

    Congratulations and best wishes to you Miss Selvakumaran. May God bless you! My daughter too is a Maths Teacher.

    SL Saturday, 23 February 2019 06:12 PM

    Congrats! For me still the best teacher in the world is the KOTAPIYO sir in DRC kandy! And of course old days Rajas teachers were the best in Kandy

    Daya Dayatilake Sunday, 24 February 2019 03:55 AM

    Wonderful Selvy! Keep it up! I am sure you will build up many more depressed minds especially in children among migrant communities! Great service to humanity! Best of luck!

    Neville Gunasekara Sunday, 24 February 2019 11:18 AM

    Can you do something for the motherland as well

    Mohamed Sunday, 24 February 2019 05:11 PM

    Congratulations and God Bless you what a loss for SRI LANKA

    Kunam Monday, 25 February 2019 07:45 AM

    Congrats , proud of you, keep up your good work

    Emm Wednesday, 27 February 2019 08:36 AM

    Why does our media keep harping about SL born. These people had to leave this Country either to save their lives or they choose to give a better life to their children. Is SL supposed to feel proud about that. It's s crime that we lost all this talent

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