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Education Updated: 13 Mar 2018

BBVA Foundation honors teachers who have transformed the struggle to learn into the pleasure of discovery

BBVA Group Executive Chairman handed over the Francisco Giner de los Ríos Awards for Improvement in Educational Quality which acknowledge the effort on the part of teachers to spark their students’ curiosity and creativity while keeping in mind that the effort to learn and the pleasure of discovery always go hand-in-hand.

Francisco González, presidente de BBVA, junto a los galardonados en los Premios Giner de los Ríos

A garden to teach mathematics, a choir meeting organized for students with special needs,  a reading of ‘El Quijote’ in 26 languages and a workshop to build robots are some of the award-winning projects at the 32nd edition of these prizes jointly granted by BBVA Foundation and the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport.

During the award ceremony - also attended by the Secretary of State for Education, Professional Training and University, Marcial Marín Hellín - Francisco González pointed out that being a teacher is “a job that benefits us individually and as a group.”

Given the importance of teachers, there are surprisingly few occasions in which their work takes front stage not to be examined but for praise”. Francisco González

"Given the importance of teachers, there are surprisingly few occasions in which their work takes front stage not to be examined but for praise,” he added. “A stimulating education is the pillar of a society that knows how to develop the qualities of the individual members of that society and take advantage of them to grow.”

Francisco González also underscored the value of effort which the teacher helps to transform into reward. “In the complex and rapidly changed society of the 21st century, it is still the teacher shows how to put forward ideas, to persevere, … to think.  It is the teacher who helps link the effort to learn to the satisfaction of feeling that the world itself opens out. To learn is to discover and discovery, in our species, is rewarded with pleasure”.

Eight innovative projects

A total of eight prizes in eight categories were awarded amounting to a total of 129,000 euros (€24,000 for the special prize and €15,000 for each remaining category). Over the course of its more than 30 years of existence, Giner Prizes have been awarded to over 280 projects from all across Spain and have become a point of reference in innovative education.

The Special Prize for the Best Work was awarded this year to the creation and staging of a work of theater which explores the roots of current culture centered around the Mediterranean Sea, which, as the students and authors of the play point out, is the stage on which a real-life tragedy, involving tens of thousands of refugees, is unfolding.

“With Ancient Greece as the point of departure, the adventure we engaged upon led us on many occasions to look upon our own image in recognizing the cultural values of other countries and the absolute necessity and obligation to integrate these values into our own culture”, explains Carlos García Ramos, teacher and coordinator of the project at the Vega del Guadalete Secondary School in La Barca de la Florida in Cadiz.

Prizes at all stages of education

The Prize for the second phase of Infant Education went to the project ‘Climate Change’ by  Catalina Navarro Guillermo of the San Agustín Infant and Primary School Casas Ibáñez in  Albacete.

The Primary Education section received two prizes. The first was for the project LEESCRIBO (READWRITE), which was coordinated by Pedro Jesús Serrano La Roda and developed by a total of 37 teachers at the Margarita Salas Infant and Primary School Arroyo de la Encomienda in Valladolid. The other prize-winning work was ‘Don Quijote in Numbers and Letters’ by Inmaculada Espinosa Quintana of the Amor de Dios School in Cadiz.

In the Compulsory Secondary Education, Baccalaureate, Professional Training, Professional Arts Education, Official Language School Education and Sports Educations, the jury awarded prizes to the following projects:

  • Science-Technology Area: 'Plantando Números (Planting Numbers)’, a proposal by Pedro Peinado Rocamora, Salvador Sandoval High School, Las Torres de Cotillas (Murcia)
  • Humanities and Social Sciences Area: ‘Letra Vivas (Living Letters),’ promoted by María Luisa Oreo Malo at Santamarca High School (Madrid).
  • Other subjects and areas of study: ‘Convivencia-encuentros coros escolares (School Choir Meetings),’ coordinated by Rosa María Lanau Morancho, developed at La Alegría Special Education Center, Monzón (Huesca).
  • Application and development of skills that help transition into the professional and social world: ‘Edumakers,’ a proposal by Antonino Vara Gazapo, Vegas Bajas High School, in Montijo (Badajoz).

For more information on each project, please visit BBVA Foundation’s website.