The announcement of the winner of the 2019 Global Teacher Prize comes as a shock, and surprise to many, as it was not expected that it would be a physics and mathematics teacher from a secondary school in a very remote village in Kenya. Peter Tabichi, a Kenyan who carried the day. The 2019 award of (the best teacher) $ 1 million awards went to Tabichi, who was called on stage by Hugh Jackman, the Holywood star in a ceremony held in Dubai. Tabichi was specifically chosen from 10 finalists who were selected across all corners of the world. Besides them teaching in deep remote villages, towns, and cities, they all advocated for child rights and inclusivity, nurturing students’ abilities and confidence with the use of robotics, technology, and science. The Global Teacher Prize,, is awarded annually to “an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to their profession.”
In addition to his commitments in teaching and education, the organizer of the award said that Mr. Tabichi dedicated his life and resources to help the poor and less fortunate. Mr. Tabichi consecutively gave 80% of his salary from teaching to local community activities and projects such as education, peace-building, and sustainable agriculture. This sacrifice won the hearts of many in his community before extending to the award organizers and later across the planet. Mr. Tabichi influenced the lives of his students in a vast number of ways, including promoting peace between different religions and ethnic groups and the introduction of several clubs including science club. He also assists to address the issue of food insecurity, a major challenge in his community which is a famine-prone area. Mr. Tabichi teaches at Keriko Secondary school, which is a mixed school in the Pwani village in a semi-arid part of the Rift Valley in Kenya. In this part of the world, children from diverse religions and cultures learn in a poor environment and in particular poor classrooms. Life can also be so tough in this region when famine and drought are frequent. Early school dropouts, teenage pregnancies, suicide cases, drug abuse, and food shortages are the main challenges in Mr. Tabichi village. Other hardships are, but not limited to; poor internet, a student-teacher ratio of 50:1, less than three computers and poor roads that are impassable during the rainy season and also students walk more than 7km from home to school and back.
“I felt that the surrounding communities, they also needed my help. I said let me help and extend the same love to the surrounding community, and that’s what made me come to this school,” Mr. Tabichi said in a video interview.
Mr. Tabichi’s journey started right from nurturing and introducing science club, which helped many students to design their projects so well to earn a chance in the national competition. He mentored his students through engineering and science fair 2018 act of Kenya, where students showcased a device, they had just innovated to help deaf and blind people to measure objects. He also greatly helped his school to emerge first nationally in the category of public school (Ridenhour, 2019). The physics and mathematics teacher also qualified to participate in the international science and engineering fair 2019 in Arizona, USA. All these achievements and commitments made Mr. Tabichi the best among his colleagues who had participated in the award event. It is evident that everyday Africa turns a new page and a new chapter as well. Although the award was a personal achievement, it’s a broad reflection of the great youths of Africa with great abilities and potentials.