Dr. Sirhajwan Idek, age 35 from Malaysia. He is an esteemed English language teacher at Keningau Vocational College, Sabah, stands as a testament to educational excellence and innovation. His academic journey led him to attain a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and PhD from Universiti Teknologi Mara Shah Alam in 2011, 2014, and 2019, respectively. Recognized for his transformative education initiatives and profound influence on both teachers and students, Dr. Sirhajwan has garnered an array of prestigious accolades.
His accomplishments resonate as a symphony of educational impact. Notably, he earned the distinction of being the 2017 National Teacher Icon and the 2022 National Youth Icon. His collaboration with colleagues resulted in winning the distinguished 2022 GoAbroad Innovation Award in the Innovative Teach Abroad Program Category. The 2021 Simon Greenall Award and the 2020 YSEALI Seed for the Future further cement his reputation as an educational trailblazer.
Dr. Sirhajwan’s scholarly endeavors have been equally remarkable. His pioneering research on visual literacy earned him the esteemed ISTE Literacy Innovation Award in 2019. His commitment to advancing educational frontiers led him to secure the 2018 SEAMEO-Australia Education Link Award, accompanied by a grant worth AUD 10,000, through his groundbreaking ethnic tales project. Beyond borders, he clinched the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Excellence in Teaching Award in Paris in 2017, making him the first Asian recipient of this esteemed accolade. Simultaneously, he earned a spot among the top 50 finalists for the Global Teacher Prize, a recognition that attests to his global impact.
Dr. Sirhajwan’s influence extends beyond accolades, as he is a guiding force in nurturing students as advocates for diverse causes through social and vocational projects, arts, internationalization, and media literacy. As the head of research and innovation at his school, he has successfully mentored and directed over 700 teachers and students, facilitating their participation in conferences and competitions within Malaysia and beyond through both physical and virtual platforms.
The impact of his mentorship is vividly apparent through the numerous awards, medals, cash prizes, and grants garnered by his students. Noteworthy is the achievement of Alesyah Asa and Nazieha Jasnie, both shortlisted among the top 10 and top 50 finalists for the prestigious Global Student Prize in 2022 and 2023, respectively.
Dr. Sirhajwan’s commitment to innovation shines through his prolific contributions. He has conducted over 300 webinars, workshops, and talks on innovation and research across Malaysia and various regions, including Southeast Asia, China, and MENA. Embracing the revival of arts and folklore, he has nurtured students in performing, literary, and visual arts, resulting in nearly 300 students earning accolades in online art festivals and talent competitions. Some of their literary and visual pieces have been proudly showcased in magazines.
In 2022, Dr. Sirhajwan embarked on an ambitious internationalization program, fostering virtual cultural exchange classes and masterclasses that have united students and colleagues with counterparts from other countries. This groundbreaking initiative has impacted more than 1500 students and teachers nationwide. In 2023, he spearheaded a poignant mental health awareness campaign, culminating in one of his students being invited to speak about the project at a physical symposium in Manila.
Dr. Sirhajwan’s dedication transcends the classroom as he serves as the president of HIVE and the former head of the Malaysian OPEN Alumni. Both teacher associations have been instrumental in conducting continuing professional development programs for Malaysian educators. Through his unparalleled commitment to education, innovation, and advocacy, Dr. Sirhajwan Idek emerges as an iconic figure inspiring generations and reshaping the landscape of education.
Nominated by Ministry of Youth and Sports (Malaysia)