Kenyan teachers feted for Global teacher award

Keriko secondary school students Esther Amimo(left ) and Salome Njeri with their teacher Peter Mokaya presenting their winning Maths project in school located at Njoro,Nakuru county on May 24,2018. [Kipsang Joseph/Standard]
Two Kenyan teachers are among other 50 across the world who have picked for the Global Teacher Prize.

Peter Tabichi of Keriko Day Secondary School in Nakuru and Maina Gioko of Aga Khan Academy in Mombasa stand a chance of winning the Sh102 million ($1 million) award after beating more than 10,000 applications from 179 countries.

The award recognises exceptional teachers who have made an outstanding contribution to their profession. 

“Our top 50 finalists include teachers developing peace-building skills and advocates for inclusivity of teachers changing curriculum in their countries and integrating migrants into classrooms – they are all champions for change and are inspiring students and communities around them,” says globalteacherprize.org.

In congratulating the two, Sunny Varkey, founder of the Varkey Foundation and the Global Teacher Prize, said: “I hope their stories inspire those looking to enter the teaching profession and highlight the incredible work teachers do all over the world every day.”

Mr Tabichi’s “extra-ordinary contribution”, according to the organisation, has been two-fold. He is praised for his contribution in the education sector where he donates 80 per cent of his income earned through teaching to the Franciscan Brothers, of which he is a member, for helping the needy.

He is praised for starting a talent nurturing club, which has seen 60 per cent of the students’ projects subsequently qualified for the Kenya Science and Engineering Fair 2018 where the school emerged the best in public schools category.

He integrates ICT into 80 per cent of his lessons, along with science quizzes, low-cost apparatus and fosters collaboration by incorporating peer-to-peer learning, with students identifying topics, generating questions and working in teams.

Internet connectivity

“...the Mathematical Science team has qualified to participate at the INTEL International Science and Engineering Fair 2019 in Arizona, United States. Peter has also pioneered ways to increase the availability of teaching aids, such as recording videos of lessons for digital reproduction,” the organisation says on its website.

Due to public recognition, the school enrollment has increased from 200 in 2015 to 400 this year, and 26 students joined universities and colleges in 2017.

If awarded the Global Teacher Prize, Mr Tabichi says he will use the money to promote and expand the talent nurturing club, the Science Club and Inter-School Science Project Competitions.

He said he would put up a computer laboratory with internet connectivity in the school, which currently has one desktop computer shared between the secretary, teachers and students.

Maina Anthony Gioko discussing with his MYP Design Class Student at Aga Khan Academy Mombasa.(Courtesy)
As for Mr Gioko, he and his students conduct a deworming exercise every year, combining this with community education on hygiene and environment care.

According to the organisation, the results and popularity of his teaching have seen students taking his work/study projects grow tenfold over the last five years, having begun with two students out of a class of 30. Now he has 25 students out of a class of 65.

“It has also been a scientific learning opportunity for the class, as every year they have been able to monitor the level of wellness and the quality of water in the area, linking this back to their studies,” the organisation says.

Gioko frequently broadcasts about educational issues on local radio and has been a keynote speaker at six Kenya Primary Headteachers Association conferences.

He is also a Microsoft Innovative Educator, plus a runner-up in the Innovative Content category of the Microsoft Teacher Awards.

Influenced students

Gioko’s practical orientation is attributed to his lessons on energy usage, where he has influenced his students to engage their parents to evaluate the energy consumption in their homes, leading to families changing to energy-saving bulbs and movement sensors or timer-controlled security lights.

“His school has been recognised as a Microsoft Showcase School, partly due to his influence and class practice. Student projects have been recognised by the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Project Zero, which resulted in Maina being invited for a fellowship there,” says the organisation.

He says if awarded the Global Teacher Prize, he would develop a pedagogy resource centre to try out new teaching ideas, as well as replicate evidence-based practices in other parts of the country through mentoring, print and online means.

The winner of the global teacher award will be announced at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai in on March 24 next year.

The winner will be chosen by the Global Teacher Prize Academy made up of head-teachers, educational experts, commentators, journalists, public officials, tech entrepreneurs, company directors and scientists from around the world.

[Additional reporting by James Wanzala]

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Global teacher awardKeriko Day Secondary SchoolPeter TabichiGlobal Teacher PrizeMaina GiokoAga Khan Academy