Kenyan teacher shortlisted for Sh100 million award

Thursday, March 19th, 2020 15:43 | By
Linah Anyango in class. Photo: Courtesy

A Kenyan teacher has been named in the top 50 shortlist for Sh100 million Global Teacher Prize 2020.

Biology and Chemistry teacher Linah Anyango from Changamwe secondary school, Mombasa, Kenya, has been included in the top 50 shortlist for the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2020 in partnership with UNESCO. 

Now in its sixth year, the Sh100 million award is the largest prize of its kind and was last year won by Kenyan science teacher Peter Tabichi. 

Linah Anyango, shortlisted for the Global Teacher Prize 2020, was selected from over 12,000 nominations and applications from over 140 countries around the world. 

The Global Teacher Prize was set up to recognize one exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession as well as to shine a spotlight on the important role teachers play in society. 

By unearthing thousands of stories of heroes that have transformed young people’s lives, the prize hopes to bring to life the exceptional work of millions of teachers all over the world.

With ten years to go to meet UN Sustainable Development Goal 4 - providing a quality education for every child - the Global Teacher Prize has partnered with UNESCO to ensure teachers are right at the top of governments’ agendas.

Global Teacher Prize 2019 winner Peter Tabichi, a Maths and Physics teacher at Keriko Secondary School, Pwani Village, Nakuru, said:

“I am so proud that a Kenyan teacher has been shortlisted for the Global Teacher Prize 2020. Winning the prize last year was such an honour, but more than that it was a tremendous platform to help me promote STEM learning among young people in Africa. Linah Anyango is doing just that in the incredible work she does every day and I wish her all the best this year.”

Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director General for Education at UNESCO, said:

“Every child in the world deserves an inspiring teacher and inspiring teachers deserve wide social recognition. As we enter what must be a “decade of action” on education we have partnered with the Global Teacher Prize because it is such a powerful advocate for the critical role teachers play in our societies. Now, more than ever, in a world of competing priorities, governments throughout the world must invest in teachers to meet their commitments to deliver universal quality education by 2030.”

Linah Anyango determined to do all she could to turn around the sense of hopelessness and low self-esteem felt by so many of the students at her school when she arrived 10 years ago.

She started a cultural music club which enabled the students to open up, share and appreciate each other’s culture and the beauty in their diversity, thus promoting peace among them and reducing radicalization which was a big problem.

The music team compete annually in the Kenya Music Festivals from the Sub-County to the National level. This boosted their self- esteem, made them believe in themselves and consequently led to reduced absenteeism.

Since girls were performing poorly in Sciences, Linah started a Girls in STEM club to inspire them take up STEM courses and careers after high school, training them on coding and web development to kindle the passion of technology in them.

This worked wonders as there was an increase in the number of girls taking up physics from none in 2017 to 22 in 2019. In addition, the girls gained the courage to participate in various STEM fairs and competitions.

Last year the school had two girl’s teams in the National Science Fair with one emerging the best nationally and selected to represent the country in the ESKOM Fair in South Africa.

Having trained and coached more than 200 teachers from within and nearby schools on ICT Infusion, Microsoft selected Linah as a Microsoft Educator Expert and Trainer.

The top 50 shortlist has representatives from 37 countries and by highlighting their stories the Varkey Foundation hopes that the public will be able to join in passionate debates about the importance of teachers.

The winner will be announced live on stage at a red carpet ceremony taking place at the Natural History Museum in London on the evening of Monday 12 October 2020.

Sunny Varkey, founder of the Varkey Foundation and the Global Teacher Prize, said:

“The Global Teacher Prize will start this new decade with renewed purpose and energy, moving the prize ceremony around the world, spreading the message deeper into new host countries, and making the prize’s reputation live up to its name as a true global celebration of teachers.

As the home of the Varkey Foundation and a great global city we’re proud to announce that London is the first of our new host cities.

“We’re also proud to partner with UNESCO as we all must now work together to do whatever it takes to give every child their birthright: a great education. Our generation will not be forgiven if we continue to deny the lifeblood of education to those in the next. 

“Congratulations to Linah Anyango for reaching the final 50. I hope her story inspires those looking to enter the teaching profession and highlights the incredible work teachers do all over the world every day.

“Our recent Global Teacher Status Index finally gives academic proof to something that we’ve always instinctively known: the link between the status of teachers in society and the performance of children in school.  Now we can say beyond doubt that respecting teachers isn’t only an important moral duty – it’s essential for a country’s educational outcomes.” 

The top 50 shortlisted teachers are narrowed down to ten finalist teachers by a Prize Committee, with that result announced in June 2020.

The winner will then be chosen from these ten finalists by the Global Teacher Prize Academy.

All ten finalists will be invited to London for the Award ceremony at the Natural History Museum on Monday 12 October 2020, where the winner will be announced live on stage.

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