Two Nigerian teachers, Itodo Anthony of Gateway Excel College Otukpa, Benue State and Ayodele Odeogbola of Abeokuta Grammar School, Ogun State have made it to the last 50 finalists of the coveted Global Teacher Prize for 2018.
The Global Teacher Prize is the biggest teacher prize in the world. It is a 1 million dollar prize given to an outstanding teacher by the Varkey Foundation, UK in recognition of the great contributions of teachers to society and with the aim of elevating the status of the teaching profession globally. It is popularly referred to as the Nobel Prize for Teaching. As a Top 50 finalist, a teacher becomes a part of the prestigious Varkey Teacher Ambassadors programme, which has the Top 50 finalists from the past three editions as members.
In the past three editions of this prize no Nigerian teacher made Top 50. Africa’s representation is usually dominated Kenyan teachers over the years. Ghana has also been doing fairly well over the years. So is a thing of great excitement to have two Nigerians made the final 50.
An excited Itodo has this to say:
I am happy we’re changing the narrative and opening the path for other Nigerian teachers.
And his biggest attraction:
For me this is one of the biggest attractions of the prize, the opportunity to share a platform with over 200 of the world’s finest teachers…to learn and share best practices. Top 50 was my primary target…and I achieved that.
On his part, Ayodele was just feel with excitement as can be seen below
— Odeogbola Ayodele (@Ebunayo) December 13, 2017
He also dedicates the feat to all educators in Nigeria
I feel so delighted to be part of the finalists for the 2018 Global Teacher Prize. This is dedicated to all educators in Nigeria and the world at large. Thank you Varkey Foundation. Acknowledging @AnthonySalcito IREX, Bridgewater State University,…https://t.co/JudDPpoNbA
— Odeogbola Ayodele (@Ebunayo) December 13, 2017
Their incredible profiles:
At the beginning of his career, in a small rural school in Nigeria, not many people understood why Anthony would get a masters degree from a UK university and end up teaching in a village for “peanuts”. But this was part of his mission – to elevate the teaching profession to a place of pride, to say with his own life that the profession is a noble one whose value is not tied to how much we earn. Today, the same people who mocked his decision to teach especially in a rural area are publicly celebrating his and his students’ successes.
When he teaches in class he tries to introduce positive values from other parts of the world to broaden their view of life. When he told them that in some European countries a woman gets half the property at divorce, it shocked them, coming from a culture where gender inequality is grave and women can actually be kicked out of their husband’s homes at will. So he preaches the virtues of justice, institutional soundness, community service, value creation, among others that are elements from other cultures that can help create an ideal value system in Nigerian youth.
In May 2017, Itodo founded a community-based organisation for youths – New Frontiers Youth Forum. This organisation welcomes membership from 13-35 year olds, and the aim is to raise an army of young leaders who will act as positive change agents within the community.
This October, The Forum commissioned a community library. The community had no library where students and others could study in comfort or have access to resources they could afford.
Ayodele teaches STEM Education and Global Studies to 11-15 year olds in Ogun State, Nigeria. He is passionate about developing his learners to be future leaders and become stakeholders in their world. He uses collaboration, critical thinking, creativity and communication, combined with innovation and new technology to transform learning.
In class he has chosen gifted students as leaders to head groups and review every learning activity – many of these have gone on to become leaders in higher education. Rather than teach the same thing in the same way to all, Ayodele seeks to match the different needs, potentials and learning paths of each child. He says, “For every human challenge in the new world we live, there is always a technological solution”. As part of this he has brought technology industry experts into his classroom, and linked his class using Skype and social media to peers in schools in India and Lebanon.
He is active in many projects focusing on education and youth development. He acts as mentor to other teachers, Youth Service Corps leaders and young African leaders. He was lead of Beyond School Community Challenge Project – a flagship initiative of Mandela Washington Fellowship Alumni Association of Nigeria. The initiative involved over 300 schools in developing young people to be the solution to their communities, in line with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Ayodele has also developed a professional development scheme that has so far trained over 2,000 teachers with the support of the United States Mission in Nigeria, Microsoft Nigeria and Ogun State Government.
Top 10 finalists will be announced in February, and the winner of the 1 million dollar prize, taken from this top 10 will be announced at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai next March