Teacher from Keningau, Sabah puts Malaysian educators on the world map with
Cambridge Awards recognition

Khalifa Affnan, a vocational teacher from Keningau Vocational College, Sabah was named global winner of the 2022 Cambridge Dedicated Teacher Awards. Run by Cambridge University Press, the Dedicated Teacher Awards is a global competition that recognises and celebrates the efforts of educators around the world. This year, the competition received over 7,000 nominations from 113 countries, in which Khalifa was shortlisted as one of the regional winners from the Australia, New Zealand and South-East Asia region.

In fact, this is the first time ever that a Malaysian teacher is chosen as a winner for the Awards on both global and regional levels. Khalifa won the 2022 Cambridge Dedicated Teacher Awards for his achievement in initiating a STEM project where he trains students in robotics, drones, coding, and other technology-based disciplines. His effort has increased the active participation of female students and special needs learners in STEM activities.

Speaking on his win, Khalifa shared: “My late grandfather, who was a language teacher, greatly inspired me to follow in his footsteps. Like many teachers before me, I too have faced many challenges throughout my journey but with resilience and creativity, I am happy to say that I will continue to do what I do thanks to the satisfaction of seeing my students develop new skills and benefit from the STEM programmes. 

“My passion in STEM came about when I participated in a teacher exchange programme organised by the Teacher Professionalism Division. The experience broadened my mind about the world of technology and opened up my eyes to the mechanics behind drones, robotics, coding and many more. This fuelled my passion in teaching ICT-based subjects, on top of the language-based subjects that I already teach. I am most grateful to the Cambridge Dedicated Teacher Awards for giving me this recognition and motivating me to drive forward.” 

The Awards were established in 2018, in which students, teachers and other members of the public are encouraged to nominate a current teacher who has impacted them in one of these four categories – demonstrating innovative lesson ideas; promoting charity work; fantastic pastoral care; or inspiring students beyond school. Upon nomination the teachers are measured based on their impact, resulting in the shortlist of six regional winners by expert judges. To select the global winner, members of the public are encouraged to vote for their teacher of choice. Khalifa Affnan received 26% of the votes and was therefore announced winner.


Kanjna Paranthaman, Cambridge University Press Director for ASEAN, said: “It gives me great pride to see a teacher from Malaysia winning the Cambridge Dedicated Teacher Awards on both global and regional levels. This is a momentous milestone for teachers in Malaysia and speaks volumes on the quality of teachers we have in the country. Khalifa’s STEM programmes have had a great impact on ensuring everyone in his community has access to a quality education, which is a value that we hold dear at the Press. Hopefully, Khalifa’s achievement will inspire our teachers, equipping us with dedicated individuals to guide the younger generation to come.”

As winner of the 2022 Cambridge Dedicated Teacher Awards, Khalifa will receive class sets of books and digital resources of choice by Cambridge University Press, as well as a professional development package. He will also be featured on the front of every new Cambridge University Press Education textbook from February 2023 onwards.

To find out more about Cambridge University Press and the Cambridge Dedicated Teacher Awards, please visit https://dedicatedteacher.cambridge.org/