Nigerian, South African Make Top 10 Finalists for 2020 World’s Best Teacher Prize

Two Africans – Nigeria’s Olasunkanmi Opeifa and South Africa’s Mokhudu Cynthia Machaba – have been shortlisted among the 10 finalist for the 2020 world’s best teachers prize.

Every year, one teacher is awarded $1m (£747,000) under the Global Teacher Prize for their contributions to the profession.

Opeifa, who teaches at Government Day Secondary School Karu in Abuja, the West African country’s seat of power, is a graduate of the Lagos State University (LASU). As a student at LASU, he volunteered as a teacher in a free tutorial centre that prepared underprivileged students for secondary school examinations and university entrance.

After graduation, he served for a year in a very remote part of the country, Koma, Adamawa, as the only English teacher in a village school of over 200 students. There, he helped build the school’s first-ever library, a statement on the Global Teachers Prize website said.

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In 2018, Opeifa was awarded Maltina Teacher of the Year (Best Teacher in Nigeria), and in 2019, his school was among the top ten schools nationwide in the Global Diamond Challenge. As a result of winning the Teacher of the Year award, the school was able to build a block of six classrooms with a well-stocked library, combatting overpopulation in classrooms and vastly enlarging the school’s student capacity.

South Africa’s Machaba teaches at a primary school in Limpopo.

Machaba encourages her pupils to aim higher and those who manage to go the universities come back to thank her.

A statement on the prize sponsors website said Machaba was the runner-up in the ISPA Super Teacher prize for ICT Integration in the classroom in 2009.

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It added that in 2015 she was crowned Provincial winner of the National Teaching Award (Technology Enhanced Teaching category), and she has also been recognized as one of the 50 Inspiring Women in Tech for South Africa.

Kenyan teacher Peter Tabichi, a member of the Franciscan religious order, won the prize last year.

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