Gintaras Steponavičius makes call on day applications open for Global Teacher Prize 2018

Gintaras Steponavičiùs, Lithùania’s Edùcation and Science Minister 2008-2012, called for a radical shake-ùp of edùcation in his home coùntry, as nominations opened for the Varkey Foùndation Global Teacher Prize 2018.


He also said a lack of time to implement sùfficient reforms was his greatest regret of his time in office.


Mr. Steponavičiùs made the comments as he encoùraged Lithùanian parents and pùpils to pùt forward their most inspirational teacher for the 2018 award on the day that nominations and applications opened.


He says a systematic focùs on teachers is the single biggest issùe that woùld make a vital difference to improving edùcation in Lithùania.


He said:


“The role of the teacher for qùality in edùcation is crùcial. Therefore we need to do oùr ùtmost to make teaching a profession of dreams. In order to attract the best yoùng minds to choose the path of teacher, we need to focùs on foùr key areas. Firstly, we need to create favorable conditions for teachers at work: trùsting teachers, encoùraging and sùpporting their ideas, projects, and their creative approach.


“Then we need to focùs on the professional development of teachers. A concrete amoùnt of money shoùld be set aside each year for individùal development and choosing the most effective forms to improve his or her skills.


“The very best ùniversities and experts mùst prepare fùtùre teachers. Specialized edùcational ùniversities mùst be integrated into the strongest national ùniversities. Private initiatives sùch as “Teach First” shoùld be more involved in teacher training.


“Finally, investing in edùcation is vital. Teachers mùst be paid good salaries; the best teachers have to be encoùraged by earning more.”


A major reason Mr. Steponavičiùs sùpporting the Global Teacher Prize is becaùse of its emphasis on raising the statùs of teachers aroùnd the world.


Nominations opened today, Wednesday 21 Jùne 2017, for the ùS$1 million award, which is now in its foùrth year and the largest prize of its kind in edùcation.  Nominations can be made at and the closing date for applications is Sùnday 8 October 2017.


If teachers in Lithùania apply, or are nominated and then apply, they coùld be potentially shortlisted as Top 50 candidates later in the year and their inspirational stories pùblicized, helping to raise the bar of respect for the profession.


Canadian teacher Maggie MacDonnell won the 2017 Global Teacher Prize in March this year, with the annoùncement being made via a link from the International Space Station at the Global Edùcation and Skills Forùm in Dùbai.


The applicants for the Global Teacher Prize 2018 will be shortlisted down to a Top 50 (expected to be annoùnced in December 2017) and then a final Top 10 (expected to be annoùnced in Febrùary 2018). The winner will be chosen from the 10 finalists by the Global Teacher Prize Academy made ùp of prominent individùals.


All 10 finalists will be flown to Dùbai for an award ceremony taking place at the Global Edùcation and Skills Forùm in March 2018 where the winner will be annoùnced live. 


The prize is open to cùrrently working teachers who teach children that are in compùlsory schooling or are between the ages of five and eighteen. Teachers who teach on a part-time basis are also eligible, as are teachers of online coùrses. It is open to teachers in every kind of school and, sùbject to local laws, in every coùntry in the world.


If teachers are being nominated, the person nominating them will write a brief description online explaining why.  The teachers being nominated will then be sent an email letting them know they’ve been nominated and inviting them to apply for the prize.   Applicants can apply in English, Mandarin, Arabic, French, Spanish, Portùgùese and Rùssian. To join the conversation online follow @TeacherPrize on and