Yasser Muhammad Rashid recently helped his school win a competition put on by the Egyptian Ministry of Education and was announced as the no. 1 teacher in the nation. His reward for 20 years of service to his school and ministry was 30 Egyptian Pounds (about 4 USD), according to al-Arabiya.
And not even $4 up front - he was granted an investment certificate that can be sold for its amount after 20 years.
Rashid has been teaching at the Kufr Suleiman Primary School in Zagazig City North of Cairo for the past two decades, and his efforts to improve the school have earned him attention from both his community and his nation.
During his tenure, the school has gone from one of the worst in the region to one of the best schools of its kind, and the no. 1 school in the province. This is due in no small part to the long hours that Rashid has worked, and the programs he started in his own time.
The primary school teacher had a vision of creating a “Model School”, and he worked with both faculty and parents to create activities for children that support them both in and out of school. Rashid, with encouragement from his superiors and from the community, worked unpaid hours after his shifts, weekend days, and straight through vacations in order to make it a reality.
“Through dividing the students into teams and encouraging them academically and mentally, through linking sports with education, through working long hours, we were able to take the school to its no.1 ranking in the province.”, Rashid told Egyptian Al-Youm Al-Sabaa.
Rashid was nominated to represent his school in a competition focusing on environmental awareness, and when he was announced as the winner he was presented with the $4 certificate.
The certificate stunned and frustrated Rashid, who told Al-Youm Al-Sabaa “I’m not looking for any kind of physical reward, but how can I go back to my students with [4 dollars]? … Where is the encouragement and support for us to keep up with our projects and keep the school environmentally-friendly?”
The Egyptian economy has been weakened since the Arab Spring, and it’s primary schools have taken a hit as well. Citing overcrowding and lack of funding, a large portion of Egypt’s education system is lagging behind the curve.