Two Lagos teachers make top 50 finalists for $1m global prize.

Two female teachers from Lagos public schools, Dr Peace Sule and Mrs. Stephanie Akinwoya, have emerged among the 50 finalists for this year’s Global Teacher Prize.

They were shortlisted from over 7,000 teachers, who were nominated and applied for the global award this year from 130 countries across the globe.

The competition, which has a star prize of USD1 million (over N1 billion) for the overall winner, is free and open to all teachers globally.

However, while Mrs Sule teaches Information and Communication Technology at Akoka Junior High School, Yaba, her colleague, Mrs Akinwoya is a Physics teacher at Iju Senior Grammar School, Obawole under the Education District 1.

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Their emergence were announced on Wednesday by the Verkey Foundation, the organiser of the competition through its website. 

According to the foundation, the 50 finalists are from Europe (12), Asia(6), Africa(9), South America(7), North America(8) and Australia(2)

The foundation explained that all the nominees, who will now be branded just like the previous finalists, as Global Teacher Ambassadors, were chosen because they advocate for inclusivity and for child rights, and also integrate migrants into classrooms, and nurture their students’ abilities and confidence.

It stated further that all the finalists are champions for change as they are inspiring their students and communities around them.

The overall winner will be announced later in the year from 10 finalists, who would emerge from these 50.

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Interestingly, only six Nigerian teachers have so far shortlisted among the 50 finalists of the competition since it was instituted in 2014.

From the number, only Mr. Olasunkanmi Opeifa, who teaches English language at Government Day Secondary School, Karu, Abuja, was able to reach the last stage of 10 finalists in 2020, while the others including Samuel Itodo and Ayodele Odeogbola (2018), Soji Megbowon(2019), Adeola Adefemi and Olusegun Adeniyi (2021) failed to go beyond the 50 finalists.

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Verkey Foundation, a non-governmental organisation, and with headquarters in the United Kingdom, instituted the award in collaboration with UNESCO,  to identify and celebrate exceptional teacher, who has made outstanding contributions to the teaching profession each year irrespective of subject area.

The award is free and open to all teachers in every kind of school and subject to local laws, in every country globally and the applicants must be ready to remain in the teaching profession for the next five years.

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