, 28 January, 2020 / 4:31 AM
The award-winning Kenyan science teacher, Br. Peter Tabichi has expressed his appreciation for the International Day of Education Summit 2020 that took place in New York last Friday, having had the opportunity to engage with “other education stakeholders” from across the globe and the inspiration to forge inclusivity efforts for vulnerable learners in his country, Kenya.
“It was a great opportunity for me to meet other education stakeholders from all parts of the world and to compare notes on how other people are doing it elsewhere,” said Br. Tabichi in an interview with ACI Africa Monday, January 27, a day after he jetted back to Kenya from the summit.
Br. Tabichi was among dignitaries that were invited for the annual event that took place on Friday, January 24 at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York.
Held under the theme, “Aligning Inclusive Quality Education Policies with the Sustainable Development Goals,” the event brought together education stakeholders from around the globe to share ideas and their experiences in the sector as well as to forge partnerships with each other.
“I travelled to New York last Tuesday, had enough time to interact with people from other nationalities before the Friday summit. I flew back to Kenya yesterday (Sunday),” Br. Tabichi, a Franciscan Friar, told ACI Africa.
The 2019 Global Teacher Prize winner and Maggie MacDonnell who won the prize in 2017 were invited to represent teachers at the summit.
According to the Franciscan Friar, talks at the conference stressed the importance of “nurturing learners holistically rather than focusing on academic grades.”
“In Kenya, we have had the challenge of measuring a learner's capability in terms of their grades. But there is need to appreciate that learners have varied strengths and therefore the need to pay attention to every learner's individual needs,” Br. Tabichi who teaches at Keriko Mixed Day Secondary School in Kenya’s Rift Valley said.
The Franciscan Friar has received wide recognition for his exemplary teaching skills. He became the first African to win the coveted teachers’ prize and was last year crowned 2019 UN Person of the Year in Kenya.
The Franciscan Brother was also recognized for his determination and hard work in promoting education and promoting achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
While announcing the Global Teacher Prize 2019 winner, globalteacherprize.org referred to Br. Tabichi as a selfless teacher.
“Peter Tabichi is a science teacher who gives away 80 percent of his monthly income to help the poor. His dedication, hard work and passionate belief in his student’s talent has led his poorly-resourced school in remote rural Kenya to emerge victorious after taking on the country’s best schools in national science competitions,” read the message on globalteacherprize.org.
He was further acclaimed for breathing life to the deprived Kenyan school where 95 per cent of the pupils reportedly came from poor families. He combines his top-notch teaching skills with charity, nurturing the pupils according to their strengths.
The 38-year-old Franciscan started a talent-nurturing club and expanded the school’s Science Club, helping pupils design research projects of such quality that 60 percent now qualify for national competitions.
Teacher Tabichi said last week’s New York conference inspired him to do even more for the pupils and teachers he interacts with.
“I have a set of skills that I have always used in the execution of my responsibilities as a teacher. I am now inspired to share them with other teachers so that we may make the impact of a good teacher, felt by large populations,” said Br. Tabichi.
He added, “I am especially passionate about the most vulnerable learners especially those in refugee camps and the challenge they face in their effort to access education. I also think about the challenges that girls face as they compete in the same space with their male counterparts.”
Having participated in the second International Education Day Summit 2020, an event organized by the UN General Assembly’s Office of the President in collaboration with UNESCO as well as other Permanent Missions of UN member states in view of strengthening a “collective action for education,” Br. Tabichi expressed the intention to reach out to the relevant education entities in his country that can facilitate inclusivity in matters formal education.
I need “to rethink the plans I have for my career,” he said and explained, “Not just at an individual level but by working with other teachers and if possible, education stakeholders in Kenya to strategize on the best way to integrate the most vulnerable learners as we aim to achieve inclusivity.”
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa