“It is unbelievable, God-given and a great honour,’’ are the only words a Kenyan teacher who has been named in top 10 finalists for the $1 million Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2019 could utter after he was selected.
When he was applying for the competition last year, Peter Tabichi, a mathematics and physics teacher at Keriko Mixed Day Secondary School in Pwani Village in Nakuru, says he was just trying his luck.
“I was aiming at gaining an experience on technology and modern teaching methods. But I learnt a lot through the application. I did not expect to win or emerge anywhere among the top 10 finalists. I just wanted the experience,” says Peter.
But when he was called to be informed that he had been shortlisted among the finalists, Peter was in disbelief.
“I got a call around 3am. I was so shocked, I couldn’t go back to sleep. When I tried preparing my breakfast, I was shaking. But I later composed myself. I feel appreciated,” says Peter.
His family, friends and colleagues are planning a party to celebrate his win.
The 36-year-old Egerton University graduate has been a teacher for 12 years and says he became a tutor having been inspired by his father, cousins and uncles.
“I admired the kind of work they were doing for the society. I thought I would make a real difference. The profession is in my blood,” Peter told Nation while waiting to meet Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui.
“His dedication, hard work and passionate belief in his student’s talent has led his poorly-resourced school in remote rural Kenya to emerge victorious after taking on the country’s best schools in national science competitions,” says Varkey Foundation on their website.