Nigerian named finalist for $1m Global Teacher Prize

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A Nigerian teacher, Olasunkanmi Opeifa, has been named a top 10 finalist for the Global Teacher Prize 2020.

Now in its sixth year, the US$1 million award was established by the Varkey Foundation in partnership with United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

English comedian, Stephen Fry, announced Opeifa as a top ten finalist in a special video message.

“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,” he said.

Also, Assistant Director-General for Education at UNESCO, Stefania Giannini congratulated Opeifa, describing him as a dedicated and consummate teacher.

“Congratulations to Olasunkanmi Opeifa for being selected as a top ten finalist from such a huge number of talented, consummate 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,” she said.

In a speech, Founder of the Global Teacher Prize, Sunny Varkey described the prize as an award set up to shine a spotlight on the important role that teachers play in society in nurturing creativity and midwifing every child’s right to a good education.

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