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Kenyan who won Global Teacher Prize says invest in youth

March 27, 2019
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Kenyan teacher Peter Tabichi is welcomed back by the students from his school upon his arrival at the airport in Nairobi, Kenya Wednesday, March 27, 2018. Tabichi, who won the $1 million Global Teacher Prize, returned home to pomp and pageantry and the Franciscan friar has a message for Africa: Invest in youth. (AP Photo/Khalil Senosi)

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The Kenyan who won the $1 million Global Teacher Prize returned home on Wednesday to pomp and pageantry. The Franciscan friar had a message for Africa: Invest in youth.

Science teacher Peter Tabichi called his win a testimony that the continent has great people.

“It’s a victory for Kenya, for Africa and the whole world. It shows that our young people, given the chance, if we invest in the young people, they are going to do great things,” he said. He also said there is a need to encourage more girls to pursue science and to expose all students to technology.

Tabichi routinely gives away most of his salary to the school. He intends to do the same with his cash prize.

“I intend to give it back to society,” he said.

Africa has the youngest population in the world, according to the United Nations Development Program. Yet many youth express frustration with what they call a lack of opportunities to improve their lives.

The Global Teacher Prize is awarded by the London-based Varkey Foundation.

The award’s citation says Tabichi has turned around lives in at Keriko Mixed Day Secondary School in Nakuru county, which has only one computer, poor internet and a student-teacher ratio of 58:1.

His involvement in the science club has seen 60 percent of the student’s projects qualify for national competitions. Last year the school placed first among public schools in the Kenya Science and Engineering Fair 2018. Students showed off a device they had invented to allow blind and deaf people to measure objects.

Tabichi and four colleagues tutor students in math and science outside class and on the weekends, when he visits students’ homes and meets their families to understand the challenges they face.

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