Nigerian teacher Opeifa makes 50 world shortlist for $1m prize

Opeifa Olasunkanmi makes makes world shortlist of 50 teachers for $1 million prize

English teacher Opeifa Olasunkanmi from Government Day Secondary School Karu, Abuja, Nigeria has been included in the top 50 shortlist for the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2020.

The prize is awarded yearly in partnership with UNESCO.

Now in its sixth year, the US$1 million award is the largest prize of its kind and was last year won by Kenyan science teacher Peter Tabichi.

Opeifa shortlisted for the Global Teacher Prize 2020, was selected from over 12,000 nominations and applications from over 140 countries around the world.

The Global Teacher Prize was set up to recognize one exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession as well as to shine a spotlight on the important role teachers play in society.

By unearthing thousands of stories of heroes that have transformed young people’s lives, the prize hopes to bring to life the exceptional work of millions of teachers all over the world.

With ten years to go to meet UN Sustainable Development Goal 4 – providing a quality education for every child – the Global Teacher Prize has partnered with UNESCO to ensure teachers are right at the top of governments’ agendas.

Opeifa Olasunkanmi has a reputation for innovation and going out of his way to ensure his students receive the best possible tuition, often consulted by other staff on the latest 21st century learning skills, as he uses the flipped classroom model for teaching essay writing, Google Forms or Microsoft Forms for assessment, online videos and e-past questions.

To stimulate his students he has been known to use edutainment/fun-based learning for teaching English language concepts, for example linking essay writing with popular dance steps and, to demonstrate phonology and grammar, he has even taken to rapping and hip-hop songs.

Having published a book on oral English pedagogy in 2014, he has been invited to speak at seminars organised for teachers. He boosted his school’s recognition and good name winning the 2018 Maltina Teacher of the Year Award as the best teacher in Nigeria and as part of the dividend from this prize a block of six classrooms was built at the school with a library well stocked with books, enabling the school to take up to 300 new students a year.

The top 50 shortlist has representatives from 37 countries and by highlighting their stories the Varkey Foundation hopes that the public will be able to join in passionate debates about the importance of teachers.

The winner will be announced live on stage at a red carpet ceremony taking place at the Natural History Museum in London on the evening of Monday 12 October 2020.