The Australian Centre for Education (ACE) – part of IDP Education – has become the first school outside Europe to win the prestigious PIEoneer Award for Language Educator of the Year.
The winners of this year’s PIEoneer Awards – selected by an international panel of 43 judges from leading universities, institutions and professional bodies from 25 countries across the globe – were announced at a ceremony at London’s Guildhall on September 3.
The annual PIEoneer Awards are merit-based, with winners selected according to the quality of the product or service being assessed following a rigorous nominations process.
ACE beat off stiff competition from peer finalists in Australia, Canada, the UK, the US and Vietnam.
ACE principal Ashley Irving said that,after the most challenging year in the organisation’s history, the award was a dream come true for the whole ACE team, students, parents and the Cambodian English-language teaching industry.
“We are honoured to be recognised for our outstanding performance during the most challenging year in our history.I am so proud of every ACE department, our students, parents and partners who have worked tirelessly to ensure the uninterrupted delivery of quality language education for our students, including catering to around 100,000 enrolments over the past 18 months,” Irving said.
ACE and IDP Education Cambodia country director Mao Sreng credited the award to the ACE team.
“Our team has done an incredible job during the pandemic to pivot to digital learning and ensure world-class education continues for thousands of our students across the country.
“We are also supporting the government’s efforts to tackle Covid-19,using one of ACE’s campuses as a vaccination centre and providing care packs and refreshment to frontline workers and stakeholders. Approximately 15,000 people have already been vaccinated at the campus,” Sreng said.
IDP Education CEO Andrew Barkla said the award was a testament to ACE’s performance as a team this year.
“I am proud of the way our teams in Cambodia have worked tirelessly to make virtual, online learning function on such a large scale. The work and agility being demonstrated is phenomenal, to drive the highest standards of education and safety for our students, teachers and employees.”
The Minister for Education, Youth and Sport HE Dr Hang Chuon Naron congratulated ACE on the award.
Chuon Naron has been at the forefront of driving the education reform agenda for quality, equity and inclusiveness, and acknowledges language education as a crucial component.
“With English as the main language for education and business, I appreciate the role ACE plays in building the English language proficiency of our Cambodian students,” the minister said at ACE’s anniversary celebrations before the pandemic.
Australian Ambassador to Cambodia HE Pablo Kang also congratulated ACE.
“Institutions founded by Australia, including the Australian Centre for Education, have played a crucial role in promoting and providing English language training in Cambodia.
"ACE has equipped Cambodians with the English they need for their jobs or studies abroad, including in Australia. I am very pleased to witness the growth of the Australian Centre for Education in Cambodia and ACE’s successful pivot to offering online learning during the pandemic,”Kang said.
CEO of The PIE and host of the PIEoneer Awards Amy Baker said she was "delighted" for ACE’s win and with the level of industry engagement following the decision to hold both a live and virtual event.
“The hybrid format worked really well, and of course it is great to award winners in person. The PIEoneer Awards 2021 enabled over 200 [virtual] industry friends and colleagues to get a real flavour of the event – and of course find out live the results too.
"To win an award is truly a remarkable achievement – the calibre of entries is outstanding,and our judges often comment on the wide range, high quality and inspiration offered by our entrants,”Baker said.
ACE and IDP Cambodia’s recent awards include two Global CSR awards (Best Community Program Award and Excellence in Provision of Literacy and Education Award) in 2019, Best Companies to Work for in Asia Award,and Cambodia Best Brand Award, both awarded in 2020.
The full list of PIEoneer Award-winners is available on The PIE News website and social media pages.