Peter Tabichi, a school teacher from rural Kenya and Franciscan brother, was awarded one million dollars and the Global Teacher Prize, beating 10,000 nominations from 179 countries.
Peter Tabichi, aged 36, is a Franscian Friar and science teacher at Keriko Mixed Day Secondary School in Pwani Village, Nakuru, a remote part of Kenya’s Rift Valley. Brother Tabichi says the school has “challenges with a lack of facilities,” there aren’t enough teachers or books and classrooms are overcrowded. The school doesn’t have a library or laboratory, and many students walk over four miles on dangerous roads to get there.
Tabichi said he’s determined to give his students a chance to learn about science and broaden their horizons. He donates 80% of salary to help the poorest students, and travels to cyber-cafes to download resources for his lessons as their sole computer at the government run school has shoddy Internet access.
At the school, Tabichi started a “talent nurturing club” where students design research projects that have qualified for international competitions, even winning an award from the U.K. Royal Society of Chemistry for a project involving plant-based electricity generation. In the three years since, enrollment has doubled to nearly 400 students and girl’s achievement has risen dramatically.
Beating out 10,000 other nominations from 179 countries, Tabichi’s “exceptional commitment” and selfless work was recognized with the Global Teacher Award, crowning him the world’s best teacher. In a ceremony hosted by actor Hugh Jackman at the Atlantis Hotel in Dubai, Tabichi received the award and a one million dollar prize. Accepting the award, he said
“I feel great. I can’t believe it. I feel so happy to be among the best teachers in the world, being the best in the world. I am only here because of what my students have achieved. This prize gives them a chance. It tells the world that they can do anything.”
Tabichi plans to use the prize money to improve the conditions at his school and feed the poor.
“Africa’s young people will no longer be held back by low expectations. Africa will produce scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs whose names will be one day famous in every corner of the world. And girls will be a huge part of this story.”
In a video message, Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta recognized Tabichi’s achievement:
“Peter, your story is the story of Africa, a young continent bursting with talent. Your students have shown that they can compete amongst the best in the world in science, technology and all fields of human endeavour.”
Tabichi ended his acceptance speech saying Africa’s youth will no longer be held back by low expectations.
“I believe science and technology can play a leading role in unlocking Africa’s potential. It’s morning in Africa. The skies are clear. This is Africa’s time.”