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 awards were established by the Varkey Foundation in partnership with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.
English comedian and one of the judges, Stephen Fry, announced Opeifa as a top ten finalist in a special video message, saying, “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 the university. Congratulations Olasunkanmi and thank you for everything you do.”
Also, Assistant Director-General for Education at UNESCO, Stefania Giannini, said, “Congratulations to Olasunkanmi Opeifa for being selected as a top ten finalist from such a huge number of talented 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.”
Founder of the Global Teacher Prize, Sunny Varkey, said, “The Global Teacher Prize was set up to shine a spotlight on the important role teachers play in society…Teachers everywhere should be applauded for their creativity, compassion and resolve to fulfill every child’s right to a good education.”
Opeifa, an English teacher from Government Day Secondary School, Karu, Abuja, Nigeria, was shortlisted for the Global Teacher Prize 2020, after being selected from over 12,000 nominations and applications from over 140 countries around the world.
He joins UK teacher Jamie Frost, Italian teacher Carlo Mazzone, South African teacher Mokhudu Cynthia Machaba, US teacher Leah Juelke and South Korean teacher Yun Jeong-Hyun as a top 10 finalist. The remaining four top 10 finalists will be announced one each week in the run-up to the Global Teacher Prize ceremony, which will be virtual for the very first time in its history due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The virtual ceremony is expected to take place on December 3, 2020, where the overall winner will be announced.