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Education in Egypt is teacher-directed. Children aren’t given room to ask questions and merely repeat what their teacher tells them. Such a classroom environment does not foster creativity or promote learning. As we celebrate World Teachers’ Day today, here’s a shining example of a teacher who made a difference.

Volunteer Rep Hakim Anis joined Coptic Orphans 5 years ago. He decided early on to invest in children by creating intellectual space for them to learn, explore and create. Rep Hakim used innovative techniques such as cooperative learning, which involves structuring classes around small groups that work in such a way that each member’s success is dependent on the group’s success.  This helped hundreds of children draw on academic as well social learning experiences.

“Children drop out of school for many reasons, they should never give up on education because of a teacher. All the trainings provided to me by Coptic Orphans have helped me work with children in a different way.” Rep Hakim says.

Being paid minimal wages, teachers in Egypt skimp in classroom quality instruction and resort to private lessons – an ineffective shadow educational system – to make ends meet. Rep Hakim insists that private lessons destroy learning saying “Children pay their way from one grade level to the next without acquiring skills to tackle problems or process ideas.”

The impact of trainings given to Rep Hakim by Coptic Orphans hasn’t stopped at his immediate circle of connections.  It’s now building momentum to gradually change the direction of education in Egypt. As a member of the Ministry of Education’s Committee on Secondary Curriculum Development, Rep Hakim plans on taking all the experience he gathered throughout his years with Coptic Orphans to contribute to Egypt’s curriculum development.

On World Teachers’ Day, it’s good to remember that quality education is largely dependent on having qualified teachers. Happy World Teachers’ Day Rep Hakim and all teachers who vowed to make a difference in a child’s life.