Peter Tabichi, a math and physics teacher from a secondary school in a remote village in Rift Valley Province, Kenya has bagged home the USD 1 mn Global Teacher Prize for 2019.
Founded in March 2015, Global Teacher Prize is a USD 1 Mn award presented annually to an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to their profession.
Peter Tachibi has been prodigiously helpful to pupils in his school to an extent of giving away 80 percent of his monthly income to the poor.
While giving his acceptance speech in the Global Education and Skills forum Tabichi said, “I accept this recognition on behalf of all the hard-working teachers around the world who are transforming the lives of others.”
The 36-year old tutors at the Keriko Mixed Day Secondary School in Pwani village, a school located in a remote and semi-arid region of Kenya’s Rift Valley. His unrelenting resilience, diligence and brimming passion for his students has made it possible for the school, with almost zero learning facilities, to emerge the best in national science competitions.
“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.”
The Dubai-based Varkey Foundation heaped praise on Tabichi for his “dedication, hard work and passionate belief in his students’ talent”. With all these put into consideration, 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”.
95 percent of pupils in Keriko Mixed Day Secondary “hail from poor families, almost a third are orphans or have only one parent, and many go without food at home,” the statement revealed adding “Drug abuse, teenage pregnancies, dropping out early from school, young marriages and suicide are common.”
Some students walk seven kilometers to get to school and the roads get impassable during the rainy season. The school has a student-teacher ration of 58 to 1 and has only one desktop computer for the pupils with poor internet. Despite all these myriad of challenges, Tabichi remained undettered. A statement from the foundation reveals that he “uses ICT in 80 percent of his lessons to engage students.”
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta sent a video message congratulating Tabichi. “You are a shining example of what the human spirit can achieve; not just for Kenya; not just for Africa; but for the whole world. Peter you chose to teach in a remote part of Kenya at Keriko mixed day secondary school and you chose to transform lives in such a situation. You give me faith that Africa’s best days are ahead of us and your story will light the way for future generations.”
Featured Image Courtesy: Jon Gambrell/AP