Another Kenyan teacher in race for Sh100m global prize

Linah Anyango, a biology and chemistry teacher from Changamwe Secondary School, Mombasa County. [Courtesy]

A Kenyan teacher has once again been shortlisted for the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2020.

Linah Anyango, who teaches biology and chemistry at Changamwe Secondary School, Mombasa, was selected from over 12,000 nominations and applications from over 140 countries.

Last year, the prize was awarded to Peter Tabichi, a mathematics and physics teacher at Keriko Secondary School, in Nakuru County. The winner gets 1 million dollars.

The Global Teacher Prize was set up to recognise that teacher, who makes an outstanding contribution to the profession as well as to shine a spotlight on the key role teachers play.

Anyango is among only five Africans in the list. The others are Mokhudu Machaba (South Africa), Olasunanmi Opeifa (Nigeria), Rosemary Nyirumbe (Uganda) and Trust Matekwa (Zimbabwe).

Anyango started teaching at the school 10 years ago and is determined to turn around the sense of hopelessness and low self-esteem felt by many students then.

Best nationally

She has since started a cultural music club, which enables the students to open up, share and appreciate each other’s culture, promoting peace among them and reducing radicalisation, which was a challenge.

The music team competes annually in the Kenya Music Festivals, and this has boosted their self-esteem.

Anyango also started a Girls in STEM club to inspire the learners to take up STEM courses and careers after high school.

She trains them on coding and web development to kindle the passion of technology in them.

This has led to an increase in the number of girls taking up physics, from zero in 2017 to 22 in 2019.

Last year, the school had two groups of girls in the National Science Fair, with one emerging the best nationally. The winning team was selected to represent Kenya in the ESKOM Fair in South Africa.

Having coached more than 200 teachers from within and nearby schools on ICT Infusion, Microsoft selected Linah as a Microsoft Educator Expert and Trainer.

By unearthing thousands of stories of heroes that have transformed young people’s lives, the prize hopes to bring to life the exceptional work of millions of teachers from all over the world.

With 10 years to go to meet United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal Four of providing quality education for every child, the prize has partnered with United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to ensure teachers are right at the top of governments’ agenda.

Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director General for Education UNESCO, said: “Every child deserves an inspiring teacher and inspiring teachers deserve wide social recognition. As we enter what must be a ‘decade of action’ on education we have partnered with the Global Teacher Prize because it is such a powerful advocate for the critical role teachers play in society.”

Renewed purpose

The top 50 shortlist has representatives from 37 countries and by highlighting their stories, the Varkey Foundation hopes the public will be able to join in passionate debates about the importance of teachers.

The winner will be announced at a ceremony at the Natural History Museum in London on October 12, 2020.

Sunny Varkey, founder of the Varkey Foundation and the Global Teacher Prize, said: “The Global Teacher Prize will start this new decade with renewed purpose and energy, moving the prize ceremony around the world, spreading the message deeper into new host countries, and making the prize’s reputation live up to its name as a true global celebration of teachers.

“We are also proud to partner with UNESCO as we all must now work together to do whatever it takes to give every child their birthright: a great education. Our generation will not be forgiven if we continue to deny the lifeblood of education to those in the next,” she said.