Two Nigerian teachers have been shortlisted for the prestigious Global Teacher Prize, funded by His Highness, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum — the Vice President of the United Arabs Emirate, Prime Minister and Emir of Dubai all rolled into one.Sheikh Mohammed bin
The two teachers are Messrs Ayodele Odeogbola and Itodo Anthony, who teach in Abeokuta, Ogun State; and Otukpa, Benue State, respectively.
Al Maktoum funds the award through the Varkey Foundation, his not-for-profit organisation established to improve the standards of education for underprivileged children throughout the world.
“Our mission is that every child should have a good teacher,” the Foundation says on its website.
The Global Teacher Prize is a $1m award presented annually to an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to their profession. Citizens of any country are free to apply.
The first award was presented in 2015, and 2017 marks the first time that any Nigerian teacher would feature on the finalists’ list.
According to the sponsors of the award, the prize serves to underline the importance of educators and the fact that, throughout the world, their efforts deserve to be recognised and celebrated.
Ayodele Odeogbola teaches STEM Education and Global Studies to 11-15-year-olds in Abeokuta Grammar School, Ogun State.
According to his bio on the GTP website, Odeogbola is passionate about developing his learners to be future leaders and become stakeholders in their world, using collaboration, critical thinking, creativity and communication, combined with innovation and new technology to transform learning.
“In class, he has chosen gifted students as leaders to head groups and review every learning activity – many of these have gone on to become leaders in higher education.
“Rather than teach the same thing in the same way to all, Ayodele seeks to match the different needs, potentials and learning paths of each child,” his biography reads.
The second nominee, Itodo Anthony, teaches at the Gateway Excel College, Otukpa, Benue State.
At the beginning of his career in a small rural school , not many people understood why Anthony would get a masters degree from a UK university and end up teaching in a village for ‘peanuts.’
“But this was part of his mission – to elevate the teaching profession to a place of pride, to say with his own life that the profession is a noble one whose value is not tied to how much we earn,” his biography says.
When Anthony teaches in class, he tries to introduce positive values from other parts of the world to broaden pupils’ view of life, educating them about the virtues of justice, institutional soundness, community service, and value creation
In line with tradition, the Top 10 finalists will be announced in February 2018, while the winner will receive his/her prize in March.