Peter Tabichi is a science teacher from rural Kenya, who has given away a majority of his salary to some of his most disadvantaged students, so they could go through their education with a bit less stress. Earlier this year, Tabichi was recognized as the world’s best teacher, and won a prize of a million dollars.
For years, Tabichi has taught science at the Keriko Mixed Day Secondary School in Pwani Village, and has given 80% of his salary to needy students so they can afford things like uniforms and books. Some of Tabichi’s students walk up to four miles just to attend class, as this is their only opportunity for education.
After accepting the Award, Tabichi said he hopes that better access to education will allow young people in Africa can have a better future.
“As a teacher working on the front line I have seen the promise of its young people – their curiosity, talent, their intelligence, their belief. Africa’s young people will no longer be held back by low expectations. Africa will produce scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs whose names will be one day famous in every corner of the world. And girls will be a huge part of this story,” Tabichi said, according to BBC.
Tabichi was among 10,000 other teachers from 179 countries who were nominated for the award.
The judges noted that his students showed incredible improvement despite an extreme lack of resources at the school. Tabichi had to take his students on regular field trips to an internet cafe so they were able to get the most up to date scientific information.
He also faced other constraints, like large class sizes that were often double the recommended size. It is also sometimes difficult to keep children in school, because the families don’t always believe that it is necessary, especially for girls, who are expected to become mothers at a young age.
“It’s morning in Africa. The skies are clear. The day is young and there is a blank page waiting to be written. This is Africa’s time,” Tabichi said.
Many of his students have gone on to college, which is not something that would have typically been expected considering the circumstances. They have also had success in national and international science competitions, and received awards from prestigious organizations like the Royal Society of Chemistry in the UK.
Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, congratulated Tabichi, saying, “Peter – your story is the story of Africa, a young continent bursting with talent. Your students have shown that they can compete amongst the best in the world in science, technology and all fields of human endeavor.”