Flying for first time, Kenyan wins $1 million Global Teacher Prize in Dubai
A teacher from a remote, poverty-ridden, village in Kenya, Peter Tabichi, was announced as the world’s best teacher and was awarded $1million for his outstanding work with his students.
Tabichi was this year’s winner of Dubai’s Global Teacher Prize by the Varkey Foundation, which aims to highlight the importance of the teaching profession.
Tabichi, 36, is a maths and physics teacher at Keriko Secondary School in Kenya’s Pwani Village. His school has only computer with proper internet connection and he gives away 80 per cent of his earnings to the poor. He left teaching at a private school to help students in need.
The winner was announced by Hollywood star Hugh Jackman and the trophy was presented to Tabichi by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, at the Global Education and Skills Forum on Sunday.
“Every day in Africa we turn a new page and a new chapter. Today is another day. This prize does not recognise me but recognises this great continent’s young people. I am only here because of what my students have achieved. This prize gives them a chance. It tells the world that they can do anything,” Tabichi said in his victory speech.
“As a teacher working on the front line I have seen the promise of its young people – their curiosity, talent, their intelligence, their belief. Africa’s young people will no longer be held back by low expectations. Africa will produce scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs whose names will be one day famous in every corner of the world. And girls will be a huge part of this story.
“I believe science and technology can play a leading role in unlocking Africa’s potential. We all know that scientific discovery and innovation fuel progress, facilitate development and can tackle issues such as food insecurity, water shortages and climate change. It’s morning in Africa. The skies are clear. The day is young and there is a blank page waiting to be written. This is Africa’s time.”
He shared some of his own personal challenges that he faced while growing up and said that showed him the importance of an education.
“Growing up, we faced many challenges. I lost my mother at the age of 11. After this, my father – a primary school teacher – had to do everything for the sake of the family, including preparing meals and educating us. Most importantly, instilling moral and ethical values in us. He told us to be hardworking, God-fearing, humble, selfless and resilient,” Tabichi said.
The president of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, gave a special video message right after Tabichi was announced as the winner.
“On behalf of all Kenyans, I congratulate you for winning for the Global Teacher Prize for this year. You are a shining example of what the human spirit can achieve, not just for Kenya, not just for Africa, but for the world. Peter, you chose to teach in a remote part of Kenya. You chose to transform life in such situations – a choice that I’m sure was difficult. You give me faith that Africa’s best days are ahead of us and you’re story will light the way for all future generations,” Kenyatta said.
“Your Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, your support for the teaching profession and your continued patronage of the Global Teacher Prize is changing the lives of many teachers and children around the world. I also recognize the contribution of Sunny Varkey and the Varkey Foundation.”
Ninety-five percent of pupils in Tabichi’s school hail from poor families, almost a third are orphans or have only one parent, and many go without food at home. Drug abuse, teenage pregnancies, dropping out early from school, young marriages and suicide are common.
The students have to walk 7km along roads to get to school. Tabichi started a nurturing club expanding the school’s Science Club, helping pupils design research projects of such quality that 60 per cent now qualify for national competitions.
Peter mentored his pupils through the Kenya Science and Engineering Fair 2018 – where students showcased a device they had invented toallow blind and deaf people to measure objects.
“With the $1million prize, I will make sure that our school and my community has proper facilities, such as computers, fast internet connection, to help them learn better,” he had said.
The prize ceremony also included a surprise performance by Jackman, who was compere for the evening. — KhaleejTimes