At the World’s Best School awards on Saturday, five schools—among them a multilingual, integrated Jewish-Arab school in Jerusalem—won for their achievements in promoting mental health, assisting the community, and building harmony.
The winners of the awards, which were introduced by the international network for educators T4 Education last year, shared a $250,000 reward. The winners were also from Brazil, Colombia, India, and South Africa.
The Overcoming Adversity prize went to the Max Rayne Hand in Hand Jerusalem School for their successful integration of Arab and Jewish students.
Lessons are taught in both Hebrew and Arabic to more than 600 students. The school won the prize amid Israel’s war in Gaza, which was launched in response to the deadly attack on southern Israel by Palestinian militant group Hamas on Oct. 7.
“Winning an award as ‘the best school in the world’ would normally be a cause for celebration. With a war waging and thousands of precious lives lost, this is not the time for celebration. It is the time for resolution,” Dani Elazar, chief executive of the Hand in Hand schools network, said in a statement.
The community collaboration prize went to SPARK Soweto, based in the South African township where former president Nelson Mandela once lived.
It was recognised for teaching students how to vote, curb waste pollution and address gender based violence. Its students also teach younger children to read.