KARACHI - Ten Secondary Science Teachers from Pakistan became the first recipients of a newly launched national teachers award called the Anita Ghulam Ali (AGA) Teachers Award. The chief guest, federal secretary of education, acknowledged the vital importance of the award at a time, when Pakistan needs teachers of high excellence as social reformers. He appreciated Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) Public Trust for this initiative and appreciated all its sponsors such as OUP, Female Education Trust and the Kifayat Academy. He offered support for such initiatives in the future. He urged the participants to give inputs to draft education policy. He appreciated the formal receiving of the World Teachers Day Recommendations 2008 from UNESCOs representative Ichiro Miyazawa to inform policy on teachers standards and professional development. Professor Khawaja Masud, an eminent educator and former principal Gordon College Rawalpindi, chaired the ceremony. He reminded teachers of the core attributes of care for students, tolerance for diversity and skills for dialogues, the classical pedagogical tool used by the world-renowned Greek teacher Socrates. The awards comprised cash prizes from Rs100,000 (1st), to Rs50,000 (2nd), Rs30,000 (3rd) to Rs15,000 (4th ) a shield, medal and a comprehensive citation for each winner. Of the 10 teachers, 70 per cent were from government schools and 70 per cent were women, a reassuring trend for raising the perception of government schools and female teachers. It is vital that both systems must learn from, and share with each other about their good practices, lesson plans and approaches to assessment. On the occasion of the AGA awards ceremony Dr Syed Azhar Hussain, chairman of the Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF), paid tribute to the winners, ITA and to Professor Anita Ghulam Ali and committed support to the teachers and ITA through PSFs programmes. These include science clubs, research projects and competitions in schools. Professor Rafique Tahir, director Training and Colleges Federal Directorate of Education, was honoured that two of the 10 winners represented the FDE schools and was grateful to the sponsors of the award for a very powerful and much needed initiatives. Baela Raza Jamil thanked all the winners, honourable guests and the sponsors for making a dream turn into reality. She reminded all present that this award neither donor nor government funded, but it needs support to create an endowment for sustainability and to honour many more teachers on merit each year. She suggested that the award should extend to other living legends in Pakistan including Professor Khawaja Masood. Professor Anita Ghulam Ali spoke to the audience and thanked each of the honourable guests and winners for their positive support and cooperation. She was hopeful that this award would reposition the status of teachers in Pakistan.