Earlier this year, Peter Tabichi, a Catholic Franciscan brother from Kenya who gives away 80% of his salary to help the poor, won the annual $1 million Global Teacher Prize. Established in 2014 by the education-focused Varkey Foundation, the prize is presented to an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession. Tabichi was selected from a list of 10 finalists from around the world. His achievements include more than half the students in his underprivileged school qualifying for college or university and doubling enrolment in three years. Tabichi was also declared the UN in Kenya Person of the Year. He spoke to Africa Renewal's Zipporah Musau about his future plans. These are excerpts:
Africa Renewal: Can you give us a brief background about yourself?
Peter Tabichi: My name is Brother Peter Mokaya Tabichi. I am a maths and physics teacher at Keriko Secondary School in Nakuru [County], Kenya. I teach in a school that is under-resourced and without adequate facilities. It is quite challenging for us to teach in such an environment, but we try as much as possible to be creative. I also mentor my students and help them unlock their potential.
What has brought you to New York?
As the Global Teacher Prize winner, I'm here on a special mission-to talk about the teaching profession. I am here to tell the world that teachers are very important people in the society and deserve recognition. The teacher prize is a great initiative in promoting the teaching profession. I'm also here to promote science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), especially in Africa.
Why are you rooting specifically for STEM?
I promote STEM because I believe it can empower the young generation, our students. STEM is a great way of unlocking the potential of Africa's youth. It also equips them with other important skills such as communication, problem solving, teamwork and how to be creative and innovative. This way they will be able to solve some of the challenges we are facing in Africa today, such as climate change and food and water shortages. We don't need others to come to Africa to solve our problems for us. We have the ideas and the power.
Every child has a unique talent, but sometimes they don't realize their dreams because they are not given proper support or granted the opportunity. I believe STEM is one way of helping them discover their respective talents. But we also need ideas-an integrated approach-on how we should all...