Peter Tabichi (36) a teacher in Kenya has won the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2019, which comes with a $1m cash prize.
Tabichi teaches maths and physics at Keriko secondary school in Pwani Village, in Rift Valley and donates most of his salary (80%) to help poor students.
He beat 10,000 nominees from 179 countries to emerge as the World’s best teacher.
The school only has one computer and poor internet connection and the student-teacher ratio of 58:1.
More than 90% of Tabichi’s pupils are from poor families and almost a third are orphans or have only one parent. Drug abuse, teenage pregnancies, dropping out early from school, young marriages and suicide are common. Students have to walk 7km along roads that can become impassable in the rainy season to reach the school and the area can be affected by drought and famine.
Tabichi started a “talent nurturing club” and expanded the school’s science club, helping pupils design research projects of such quality that many now qualify for national competitions. He mentored his pupils through the Kenya Science and Engineering Fair 2018 – where students showcased a device they had invented to allow blind and deaf people to measure objects. Peter saw his village school come first nationally in the public schools category. The Mathematical Science team also qualified to participate at the INTEL International Science and Engineering Fair 2019 in Arizona, USA, for which they’re currently preparing. His students have also won an award from The Royal Society of Chemistry after harnessing local plant life to generate electricity.
Accepting the prize, Tabichi said: “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.”
“Seeing my learners grow in knowledge, skills and confidence is my greatest joy in teaching! When they become resilient, creative and productive in the society, I get a lot of satisfaction for I act as their greatest destiny enabler and key that unlocks their potential in the most exciting manner,” He said.
“You are a shining example of what the human spirit can achieve” H.E President congratulated Peter Tabichi in a video.
Another Kenyan teacher, Maina Gioko, who teaches at Aga Khan Academy, Mombasa, also emerged among the top 50 finalists in the Global Teacher Prize 2019.