7 African teachers among top 50 finalists for $1 million Global Teacher Prize

The Global Teacher Prize finalists from Africa — Photo Credit: The Global Teacher Prize

Seven teachers from Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa have been shortlisted for the 2018 Global Teacher Prize awarded annually to an exceptional teacher who has made an impact in the profession.

A $1 million-dollar prize is presented to the best teacher by the Varkey Foundation, a not-for-profit organization set up to improve the standards of education for underprivileged children worldwide.

The African nominees for the fourth edition of the awards are Professor Sitsophe Anku (Ghana), Catherine Nakabugo (Uganda), Abdikadir Ismail (Kenya), Todo Anthony (Nigeria), Ayodele Odeogbola (Nigeria), Marjorie Brown (South Africa), and Wendy Horn (South Africa).

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

Professor Sitsophe Enyonam Anku – Ghana

He is a nationally and internationally renowned maths expert and educator. He promotes practical mathematics as a way to overcome the fear of mathematics and help students appreciate its real-life applications. He set up the Meagasa Mathematics Academy in his own home to support children aged between 6 and 18 in mathematics. He also founded the Ghana Mathematics Society.

Itodo Anthony – Nigeria

He is a teacher at Gateway Excel College Otukpa, Benue State. In May 2017,  Itodo founded a community-based organization for youths – New Frontiers Youth Forum. This organization welcomes membership from 13-35-year-olds, and the aim is to raise an army of young leaders who will act as positive change agents within the community. In October 2017, The Forum commissioned a community library.

Wendy Horn – South Africa

She is a teacher and principal of the Protea Heights Academy started in 2015. Seven of the ten educators were beginner teachers and, through her mentoring and guidance, many of them have taken on expanded responsibilities. Wendy also assists with schools in underprivileged areas, where learners come from impoverished areas and backgrounds, and with teachers who do not have the same resources as her school, to improve their Grade 12 Physical Science results.

Marjorie Brown – South Africa

She teaches at the Roedean School. Marjorie is a former human rights activist, teaching history to girls in South Africa and encouraging critical thinking and global citizenship. Her students have gone on to represent South Africa at youth forums, the Paris Climate Talks, and various Ivy League universities. She started and still leads the Kids Lit in SA program, and popularised the Kids’ Lit Quiz in South Africa.

Abdikadir Ismail – Kenya

He is a teacher at the Mwangaza Muslim Mixed Day School. After university, Abdikadir returned to teach in Baragoi, a nomadic, pastoral community in rural Kenya plagued by poverty, high murder rates, and cattle rustling. Abdikadir partnered with a variety of organizations to implement projects to help children and the community, including organizing scholarships to keep students coming to school.

Catherine Nakabugo – Uganda

She teaches math and science at the St.Andrew Kaggwa Gombe High School in Kampala. In 2014, her district won a National Science competition with her project of Pythagoras’s chair. Also in 2015, under her guidance, the school won a regional science and mathematics competition. Catherine is passionate about girls’ education.

As a member of the National Menstrual Hygiene Committee in 2016, she was able to organise the International Menstrual Hygiene Day at her school. The day brought together over 15 partners dealing in WASH issues in the country and the Ministry of Education. Every girl at her school was given free kits of 500 pads by an organization called Afripads, which deals in reusable pads.

Ayodele Odeogbola – Nigeria

He is a teacher at the Abeokuta Grammar School. He teaches STEM Education and Global Studies to 11-15-year-olds. He uses collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and communication, combined with innovation and new technology to transform learning.

In class he has chosen gifted students as leaders to head groups and review every learning activity – many of these have gone on to become leaders in higher education. Rather than teach the same thing in the same way to all, Ayodele seeks to match the different needs, potentials, and learning paths of each child.

This article by Ismail Akwei was first published on face2faceafrica.com

Published by Ismail Akwei

Ismail Akwei is an international journalist, digital media and communications professional, editor, writer, arts, culture and tourism advocate, human rights activist, pan-Africanist, tech enthusiast and history buff. He has worked with multinational media companies across Africa and has over a decade’s experience in journalism.

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