Opeifa, Nigerian teacher shortlisted for $1m Global Teacher Prize
A Nigerian English Teacher, Mr Olasunkanmi Opeifa, has been shortlisted to be among the top 10 finalists for this year’s Global Teacher Prize.
Opeifa, who teaches English Language at Government Day Secondary School, Karu, Abuja, Nigeria, was shortlisted for the Global Teacher Prize 2020, after being selected from over 12,000 applications from over 140 countries around the world.
The alumnus of Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo, joins Jamie Frost from the United Kingdom, Carlo Mazzone from Italy, Mokhudu Cynthia Machaba from South Africa, Leah Juelke from the US, and Yun Jeong-Hyun from South Korea who were among the top 10 finalists.
The remaining four finalists will be announced one each week in the run-up to the Global Teacher Prize ceremony, which will be virtual for the very first time in its history due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The award, which comes with a $1 million prize money, was set up by the Varkey Foundation “to recognise one exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession”.
Currently, in its sixth year, the $1 million award also gets support from the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
Stephen Fry, an English comedian who also doubles as one of the judges for the competition in a video message congratulated Opeifa saying his teaching approach had improved his students.
“Today I am delighted to announce that Olasunkanmi Opeifa from Nigeria is a top ten finalist for the Global Teacher Prize 2020. Olasunkanmi, you have inspired your students by using edutainment- fun-based learning to teach English language concepts, with essay writing linked to popular dance steps, and phonology and grammar demonstrated by rapping and hip-hop songs,” Fry said.
“You also published a book on learning English in order to reach more students beyond your community and introduced free weekend tutorials in order to cover the syllabus with them.”
“With this approach, examination results have vastly improved and many of your students now meet the benchmark for admission to the university. Congratulations Olasunkanmi and thank you for everything you do.”
Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education at UNESCO commended Opeifa for his efforts in the teaching profession.
“Congratulations to Olasunkanmi Opeifa for being selected as a top ten finalist from such a huge number of talented and dedicated teachers. I hope his story will inspire those looking to enter the teaching profession and also highlight the incredible work teachers do all over Nigeria and throughout the world every day,” she said.
Sunny Varkey, Founder of the Global Teacher Prize, also eulogised the finalists and highlighted the essence of the awards.
“The Global Teacher Prize was set up to shine a spotlight on the important role teachers play in society…Teachers everywhere should be applauded for their creativity, compassion and resolve to fulfil every child’s right to a good education.”
The virtual ceremony is expected to take place on December 3, where the overall winner will be announced.