Dubai – A math’s and physics teacher at Keriko Mixed Day Secondary School in Pwani Village – Nakuru, part of Kenya’s Rift Valley, has won the $1 million Global Teacher Prize for 2019, organisers have said.
Peter Tabichi, 36, received the prize at a ceremony Saturday in Dubai hosted by Hollywood star Hugh Jackman.
“Every day in Africa we turn a new page and a new chapter… 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,” Tabichi said.
Adding that, “This prize gives them a chance. It tells the world that they can do anything”
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta congratulated Tabichi in a video message, saying “your story is the story of Africa, a young continent bursting with talent”.
Africa Tembelea has learnt that Tabichi beat nine finalists from around the world to claim the award.
Other finalists included Andrew Moffat from Parkfield Community School (United Kingdom), Ms. Daisy Mertens, an all-subjects teacher (Netherlands), Débora Garofalo a Technologies for Learning teacher from Brazil, Hidekazu Shoto, an English language and ICT teacher at Ritsumeikan Primary School in Japan, Martin Salvetti, Head of Automative Studies and Adult Professional Training from Argentina, Melissa Salguero, a music teacher also from United States, Vladimer Apkhazava, a civic education teacher at Chibati Public School in Georgia and Swaroop Rawal, a life skills teacher at Lavad Primary School in Gujarat, India.
Finalists were selected from over 10,000 nominees and applications from 179 countries.
The Dubai-based Varkey Foundation, which organises the event and handed out the prize for the fifth time, praised Tabichi’s “dedication, hard work and passionate belief in his students’ talent”.
All this combined, it said in a statement, “has led his poorly-resource school in remote rural Kenya to emerge victorious after taking on the country’s best schools in national science competitions”.
Around 95 percent of the school’s pupils “hail from poor families, almost a third are orphans or have only one parent, and many go without food at home,” the statement added.
“Drug abuse, teenage pregnancies, dropping out early from school, young marriages and suicide are common.”
To get to school, some students have to walk seven kilometres (four miles) along roads that become impassable during the rainy season.
The school, with a student-teacher ratio of 58 to 1, has only one desktop computer for the pupils and poor internet, but despite that Tabichi “uses ICT in 80 percent of his lessons to engage students”, the foundation said.