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Samburu teacher among Sh100m global prize list

Top 50 contenders will be narrowed down to 10 finalists by a Prize Committee to be announced in February 2018 while the winner will be chosen by the Global Teacher Prize Academy in Dubai a month later

Special Correspodent @charlito56

A teacher from Kenya has been included in the top 50 shortlist for the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2018 at global teacher prize organisation. Now in its fourth year, the US$1 million (Sh103 million) award is the largest prize of its kind.

Abdikadir Ismail, who teaches Kiswahili and history at Mwangaza Muslim Mixed Day School in Maralal sub-county, Samburu County, is shortlisted for the Global Teacher Prize 2018. He was selected from over 30,000 nominations and applications from 173 countries around the world.

The Global Teacher Prize was set up to recognise 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.

Ismail has a huge passion for the myriad uses of technology in teaching and learning. As an administrator of a thoroughly under resourced school, he saw an opportunity to make a difference by using technology.

Lacking a science lab at his school, he sent teachers to schools with those facilities who filmed their practical experiments and these were played back via laptop in his school, embedded into PowerPoint presentations. He is a firm believer in acting local but thinking global.

One way he puts this into practice is by using Skype in the classroom. He has been able to help his chemistry teacher colleagues and their students interact with students from a school in Malaysia as they collaborated on a joint project on collection of oxygen and carbon (IV) oxide.

“Honestly, to say that I am excited will be an understatement. When my colleague from Microsoft asked me to apply for this, I just texted him back to thank him for thinking highly of me, but I laughed it off. I just didn’t know…I am extremely elated to have made it among the Top 50,” the Mwalimu said.

The recognition is likely to be a real game changer as it will be a motivation to members of his community and country. “I am just too excited to write, I feel like standing on top of the roof or the nearest tree and call out…. Hey there, the educators world appreciates all our efforts,” he said.

The top 50 shortlist has representatives from 33 countries and by highlighting their stories, the Varkey Foundation hopes that the public will join in passionate debates about the importance of teachers.

The winner will be announced at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai on Sunday March 18, 2018. Congratulating Ismail for reaching the final 50, Sunny Varkey, founder of the Varkey Foundation and the Global Teacher Prize, said: “I hope his story inspires those looking to enter the teaching profession and shines a spotlight on the incredible work teachers do all over the world every day.

Varky said they were overwhelmed by the huge support the Global Teacher Prize received this year. “The over 30,000 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 said.

The top 50 shortlisted teachers will be narrowed down to 10 finalists by a Prize Committee, with that result announced in February 2018. The winner will then be chosen by the Global Teacher Prize Academy in March.

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