NEWS

Nigerian Reaches Top Ten Finalist for $1m Global Teacher Prize

NEWSMAN, Abuja – An English teacher from Government Day Secondary School, Karu, Abuja, Olasunkanmi Opeifa, has been named a top 10 finalist for the Global Teacher Prize 2020.

Opeifa was shortlisted for the Global Teacher Prize 2020, after being selected from over 12,000 nominations and applications from over 140 countries around the world.

English comedian and one of the judges, Stephen Fry, announced Opeifa as a top ten finalist in a special video message, saying, “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.”

“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 university. Congratulations Olasunkanmi and thank you for everything you do.”

Also, Assistant Director-General for Education at UNESCO, Stefania Giannini, said, “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.”

Founder of the Global Teacher Prize, Sunny Varkey, said, “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.”

Now in its sixth year, the US$1 million award was established by the Varkey Foundation in partnership with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, with the virtual ceremony expected to take place on December 3, 2020 where the overall winner will be announced.

Opeifa, is the winner of the 2018 Maltina Teacher of the Year Award as the best teacher in Nigeria, he has a reputation for innovation and going out of his way to ensure his students receive the best possible tuition, often consulted by other staff on the latest 21st Century learning skills, as he uses the flipped classroom model for teaching essay writing, Google Forms or Microsoft Forms for assessment, online videos and e-past questions.

As a way of stimulating his students he has been known to use edutainment/fun-based learning for teaching English language concepts, for example, linking essay writing with popular dance steps and, to demonstrate phonology and grammar, and has even taken to rapping and hip-hop songs.

Opeifa expressed his joy to have been selected as one of the Top 10 Global Teacher Prize.

He joins UK teacher Jamie Frost, Italian teacher Carlo Mazzone, South African teacher Mokhudu Cynthia Machaba, US teacher Leah Juelke and South Korean teacher Yun Jeong-hyun as a top 10 finalist. The remaining four top 10 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.

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