Trailblazing Thai school named in Top 10 shortlists for World’s Best School Prizes 2024
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Trailblazing Thai school named in Top 10 shortlists for World’s Best School Prizes 2024

Starfish School named in Top 10 shortlist for World’s Best School Prize for Innovation

An inspirational Thai school has been named in the Top 10 shortlists for the World’s Best School Prizes 2024. The five World’s Best School Prizes, founded by T4 Education in collaboration with Accenture, American Express, and the Lemann Foundation, are the world’s most prestigious education prizes and this year’s winners will share a $50,000 prize fund.

Starfish School, a charity-funded kindergarten through primary school in Chiang Mai, Thailand, which is redefining education for marginalised communities through its "3R Innovation Curriculum" and Makerspace Programme, has been named in the Top 10 shortlist for the World’s Best School Prize for Innovation.

The five World’s Best School Prizes – for Community Collaboration, Environmental Action, Innovation, Overcoming Adversity, and Supporting Healthy Lives – were established in the wake of COVID in 2022 to give a platform to schools that are changing lives in their classrooms and far beyond their walls, sharing their best practices to help improve education everywhere.

The winners of the five Prizes will be chosen by an expert Judging Academy based on rigorous criteria. In addition, all 50 shortlisted schools across the five Prizes will also take part in a Public Vote, which opened today. The school which receives the most public votes will receive the Community Choice Award and membership to T4 Education’s Best School to Work programme to help them support teacher wellbeing and solve the teacher recruitment and retention crisis.  

Vikas Pota, Founder of T4 Education and the World’s Best School Prizes, said:

“Unless we solve the urgent challenges global education faces – from learning gaps exacerbated by COVID to chronic underfunding and the growing teacher wellbeing, recruitment and retention crisis – we will have failed the next generation.

“Trailblazing Thai schools like Starfish School, which have cultivated a strong culture and aren’t afraid to innovate, show the difference that can be made to so many lives. Schools everywhere can now learn from their solutions, and it’s time governments do so as well.”

About the school:

Starfish School, a charity-funded kindergarten through primary school in Chiang Mai, Thailand, is redefining education for marginalised communities through its "3R Innovation Curriculum", Makerspace Programme, Project-Based Learning method and use of education technology solutions, equipping students with crucial skills in a culturally inclusive environment. Since its founding in 2006, the school has focused on creating equitable learning opportunities for its 234 students, integrating local wisdom with advanced teaching methodologies to ensure inclusivity and empowerment.

Central to Starfish School's innovative approach is the "3R Innovation Curriculum," designed to simplify Thai language learning for non-native speakers and integrate Thaiglish to facilitate English learning. This curriculum, along with the Makerspace Programme, fosters critical thinking and problem-solving skills by encouraging self-directed learning through STEAM activities.

Results for programmes like the Maker Space have already received governmental accolades, and have seen success stories like one student developing an air conditioner from local materials, demonstrating practical application of STEM learning. Such projects exemplify the school's commitment to blending modern technology with traditional knowledge, preparing students for future challenges while respecting cultural heritage.

The school’s leadership adheres to the UPRISE framework – Useful, Problem-Solving, Real World, Impactful, Self-Directed, and Experiential learning – ensuring that educational practices are meaningful and impactful. This philosophy has led to collaborations with government and non-government organisations, enhancing the educational impact and earning recognition as a Sandbox School since 2021.

If awarded the World's Best School Prize for Innovation, Starfish School plans to expand the Starfish Learning Hub, enriching community learning and fostering sustainable social entrepreneurship, further cementing its role as a leader in educational innovation.

Next steps:

The Top 3 finalists for each of the five World’s Best School Prizes will be announced in September 2024 followed by the winners in November. The winner of each Prize will be chosen based on rigorous criteria by a Judging Academy comprising distinguished leaders across the globe including academics, educators, NGOs, social entrepreneurs, government, civil society, and the private sector.

A prize of US$50,000 will be equally shared among the winners of the five Prizes, with each receiving an award of US$10,000. Meanwhile, the winner of the Community Choice Award, as determined by the Public Vote, will receive membership to Best School to Work - an independent, evidence-based mechanism to certify schools for their culture and working environment. Membership comes with detailed feedback, actionable insights, and benchmarking data to help schools transform their culture to attract and retain the best teachers.


We believe every child, everywhere, deserves a good education. We are building the world's largest community of teachers and schools to achieve this. Together. Our digital media platform provides opportunities for educators to network, collaborate, share good practices, and support each other's efforts to improve learning and school culture. We work to amplify teachers’ voices because the world we want to see will only be built by listening to those at the heart of education.

For more information, please contact Salman Shaheen:

The Picture of the celebration of success on the announcement day of the Top 10 schools for the World’s Best School Prize for Innovation.
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The Picture and teaching activities at Starfish School that led to its nomination for the World’s Best School Prize for Innovation.
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The Vice Minister of Education sends a message to all Thai people!! Please send your support and vote for Starfish School, representing Thailand, as it competes for the World’s Best School Prize for Innovation.
Link (Thai) :
Link (Eng) :

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