A Kenyan has bagged Sh100 million for being the world’s best teacher.
Peter Tabichi, a teacher at Keriko Mixed Day Secondary School in Nakuru County, emerged the overall winner of Global Teacher Prize, bagging $1 million (Sh100 million).
Started in 2013, the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize rewards teachers for being real champions of change and inspiring millions of learners across the globe.
Besides inspiring his student to succeed with very few resources and equipment, Mr Tabichi, a Catholic Franciscan Brother who teaches chemistry and mathematics, was recognised for giving away 80 per cent of his monthly income to help the poor.
“His dedication, hard work and passionate belief in his students’ talents have led his poorly-resourced school in remote rural Kenya emerging victorious after taking on the country’s best schools in national science competitions,” stated the foundation.
Tabichi was, at the event held in Dubai yesterday, credited with turning students’ lives around in a school with only one computer, poor internet and a student-teacher ratio of 58:1
“This is no easy task, not least when to reach the school, students must walk seven kilometres along roads that become impassable in the rainy season,” the foundation said.
The teacher’s efforts in nurturing students in the Science Club and propelling them to national and international engineering fairs earned them an award from The Royal Society of Chemistry.
“Despite teaching in a school with only one desktop computer with an intermittent connection, Peter uses ICT in 80 per cent of his lessons to engage students, visiting internet Café and caching online content to be used offline in class,” states a tribute to Tabichi.
He was also recognised for dramatically improving his students’ performance and self-esteem.
Keriko Day Secondary School in the remote parts of Pwani village fits a description of a real village school, struggling against the many odds to produce the best and curve a name for itself among academic giants.
A Franciscan Brother, Tabichi told the world his secret to excellence. “You have to do more, talk less and understand students better and let them have a friend in you,” he said.
Tabichi was the only one from Africa who made it to the top 10 list.
“It is an honour, I could not believe in my wildest dreams that I could one day be recognised for my efforts in impacting positively to the students through my projects. I have always dedicated my efforts towards improving education in remote schools and making them develop a liking for Sciences,” he said.
Thanks to his efforts, two students are preparing to represent Kenya at Intel International Science Contest to be held in Arizona, United States.
Last year, two of his students also qualified to participate in the prestigious contest that only selects 1,800 best learners across 75 countries from the pool of more than 100,000 teachers.
“It has been a journey. First, the school lacks some facilities and key equipment, but we have managed to pull through by using the little resources we currently have,” he says.
Previously, Mr Tabichi taught in a private school, fully equipped with state-of-the-art laboratories, library and even a computer room. But he decided to join the neighbouring public school.
“I then joined Keriko Day School, a new school with loads of challenges. The classes were, and still are, barely enough, there is no library, just a single laboratory for all sciences and for all classes, no administration block and only one computer to its name,” he said.
Besides dedicating 80 per cent of his salary towards helping the society’s poor, he also initiated science clubs, which saw more students enrol for science subjects.
“Our laboratory does not have everything, but I challenge them to think wider and use local resources in coming up with something that will have an impact,” he said.
He says he drew inspiration from his parents.
“I grew up admiring to be a teacher. My father was one, my uncles and cousins too. I admired the impact they had in the society, and wanted to better their script,” he said.