A science teacher from Kenya, who gives away most of his salary to support poorer pupils in his rural community, has won a $1m prize for the world’s best teacher.
Peter Tabichi, a member of the Franciscan religious order, won the 2019 Global Teacher Prize at a ceremony organised by the Varkey Foundation in Dubai.
Brother Peter has been praised for his achievements in a deprived school with crowded classes and few text books, and he says he wants pupils to see “science is the way to go” for their futures.
The award, announced in a ceremony in Dubai, recognises the “exceptional” teacher’s commitment to pupils in a remote part of Kenya’s Rift Valley.
He gives away 80% of his pay to support pupils, at the Keriko Mixed Day Secondary School in Pwani Village, Nakuru, who otherwise could not afford uniforms or books.
“It’s not all about money,” says Brother Peter, whose pupils are almost all from very disadvantaged families. Many are orphaned or have lost a parent.
He wants to raise aspirations and to promote the cause of science, not just in Kenya but across Africa, he says.
Brother Peter beat 10,000 other nominations from 179 countries for the prestigious award, and admits there are “challenges with a lack of facilities” at the school, including not enough books or teachers.
The founder of the prize, Sunny Varkey, says he hopes Brother Peter’s story “will inspire those looking to enter the teaching profession and shine a powerful spotlight on the incredible work teachers do all over Kenya and throughout the world every day”.
“The thousands of nominations and applications we received from every corner of the planet is testimony to the achievements of teachers and the enormous impact they have on all of our lives,” he says.