Two Nigerian teachers miss $1m Global Teacher Prize

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Two Nigerian teachers, Ayodele Odeogbola from Abeokuta Grammar School and Itodo Anthony from Gateway Excel College Otukpa, Benue State failed to make the final 10 shortlist for the Global Teacher Prize of $1million.

The duo were among the best 40, out of 30,000 nominees globally, but could not make the list announced by Microsoft founder Bill Gates today.

Ghanaian Sitsofe Enyonam Anku, a professor of mathematics who runs Meagasa Mathematics Academy in his own home to support children aged between 6 and 18 in mathematics, also failed to make the last 10.

(watch Bill Gates announce the 10 finalists:

Bill Gates, the philanthropist billionaire chose the 10 finalists himself and as Varkey Foundation said on its website, they are the teachers who have made “an outstanding contribution to their profession”.

“These are all teachers who have made a significant difference in their students’ lives – sometimes against all odds – and they deserve to be celebrated”.

The winner of the 2018 Global Teacher Prize will be announced during the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai on 18th March

The Global Teacher Prize is the brainchild of Varkey Foundation, under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister, and Emir of Dubai.

The Global Teacher Prize is a US $1 million award presented annually to an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to their profession.

The prize, called the Teachers Nobel, serves to underline the importance of educators and the fact that, throughout the world, their efforts deserve to be recognised and celebrated.

It seeks to acknowledge the impacts of the very best teachers – not only on their students but on the communities around them. It seeks to change the way society looks at teachers. The award is now in its fourth year.

Itodo Anthony from Benue State: misses the final shortlist
Ayodele-Odeogbola: from Ogun state, also misses the final list

One of the finalists this year is Nurten Akuuş from Turkey, who founded the first kindergarten in her community.

“Her students went from hardly being able to introduce themselves to strangers to becoming literate and numerate. Their rate of knowledge and skill acquisition increased from 20% to 90%. Their behaviour disorders decreased.”

Nurten was chosen as “Teacher of the Year in Turkey” by public vote in 2015 and 2016. In 2017, she was chosen for “Turkey’s 30 Women Leaving a Mark on the Future”.

Marjorie Brown from South Africa is also a winner.

She is a former human rights activist, who started and still leads the Kids Lit in SA programme, devoted to improving children’s literacy in South Africa. She also popularised South Africa’s participation in the international Kids’ Lit Quiz.

Children representing South Africa have won the competition three times over the past 13 years, despite them coming from the poorest country to participate.

To improve literacy among underprivileged South African children, Marjorie introduced the Phendulani literacy quiz for poorly resourced schools.

Other finalists are Luis Miguel Bermudez Gutierrez who was Colombia’s best teacher last year, Jesus Insilada, Philippines, Glenn Lee, USA, Diego Mahfouz Faria Lima, Brazil, Koen Timmers, Belgium, Eddie Woo, Australia, Andria Zafirakou, UK and Barbara Zielonka, Norway.

Itodo who has a Master’s degree from a university in the UK nurses a grand plan to elevate the teaching profession to a place of pride, to show with his own life that the profession is a noble one whose value is not tied to how much we earn.

Today, the same people who mocked his decision to teach especially in a rural area are publicly celebrating him and his students’ successes.

Ayodele Odeogbola teaches STEM Education and Global Studies to 11-15 year olds in Ogun State. He is passionate about developing his learners to be future leaders and become stakeholders in their world. He uses collaboration, critical thinking, creativity and communication, combined with innovation and new technology to transform learning.

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