For this year, 10,000 competitors came from 179 countries to win the prize of $1,000,000.
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Every day in Africa we turn a new page and a new chapter. This prize does not recognise me but recognises this great continent’s young people. I am only here because of what my students have achieved. This prize gives them a chance. It tells the world that they can do anything.
Teachers entering the final stage of the competition represented many parts of the world. They included India, Australia, the US, Kenya, the Netherlands, Brazil, Japan, Argentina, Great Britain, and Georgia.
Actor Hugh Jackman announced the name of the winner at the award ceremony held in Dubai. The winner is Peter Tabichi, a Kenyan science teacher and Franciscan friar. Seven years ago, Peter was a teacher at a private school. He told The National he decided to become a Franciscan friar and to leave his job. Living by his code, he accepted a position in a somewhat ascetic lifestyle. His code also requires him to help others.
Peter now teaches at a school that has one teacher for 58 students, along with one computer. Many of the students must walk long distances, often on washed-out roads. Most of his students come from poor families, or they are orphans. His school lacks tremendously in financial support.
Enter Peter, who donates 80 percent of the money he earns to go to the development of the school. This includes school uniforms, textbooks, and other materials needed by the students. Working in the small African village, Peter’s students have gained fame for the wins they have scored in international science competitions. This was one of the factors that attracted the attention of the foundation.
Peter plans to create a computer science class with part of his winnings, he told The National. He also wants to develop the science lab, as well as provide new projects that will help to improve people’s lives. The one million dollars is not given in one lump sum. He will receive $100,000 per year.
There are also provisions that he must remain a teacher for five years. Also, he must serve as a global ambassador for The Varkey Foundation. This involves visiting different events, speaking to the media, and participating in various training.
Peter was definitely a deserving winner of this coveted award. Hopefully, he will create some new teachers among his students to carry the torch in the future. Also, hopefully, many people around the world will hear about this excellent example of a teacher and a human being.