A volunteer teacher from Kilifi County has become the only African to be nominated for a Sh90 million global teachers’ award.
Ms Jackline Jumbe, who has devoted her time working as a volunteer and helping bright but needy students in Kilifi access education, is now among the 10 finalists in the contest.
Speaking at a reception hosted by her colleagues and other interest groups at Bofa Primary School, where she teaches, Ms Jumbe said that her quest to improve education standards in Kilifi was what led her to take part in the contest sponsored by the Varkey Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation that is also involved in supporting education, including building classrooms.
Ms Jumbe told the gathering that she was inspired by the plight of learners, some of whom are from disadvantaged families, who try to get an education, and vowed to do something for them.
“I have seen how people go through hard times in getting education when I was working with an NGO before going back to my teaching career,” she said.
Apart from teaching, Ms Jumbe has been sponsoring students to further their education and improve infrastructure in schools in remote areas of the county, where many schools are in a poor state not always conducive for learning. According to her, this is one of the reasons learners from the region perform poorly in national examinations.
HOPE OF MANY CHILDREN
“Most schools in this county are in a dilapidated condition. I will dedicate this award, if I win it, to improving the schools’ infrastructure. That is where the hope of many children in this county lies,” she said.
Among those in the running for the award are teachers from the US, India, the UK and Afghanistan. These are; Richard Spencer from the UK, Azizullah Royesh from Kabul in Afghanistan, Kiran Bir Sethi from Ahmedabad in India, Guy Etienne from Port-au-Prince in Haiti, Nancie Atwell from Maine, USA, Naomi Volain from Massachusetts, USA, Neang Phalla from Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Madenjit Singh from East Timor and Stephen Ritz from New York, USA.
Ms Jumbe started her career as an untrained teacher in 1989 at Mwafuga Youth Polytechnic in Taita-Taveta County and later joined Kisii Teachers Training College.
After graduating, she was posted to Canon Kituri Secondary School where she taught geography and religious studies.
“I was later posted to Mpangarini Primary School under the Global Education Partnership, where I taught computer and social studies,” she told the gathering.
She later left teaching in 2004 to work for an international NGO that coordinated children and education programmes.
In 2009, she left the organisation for further studies after securing a scholarship to learn in the UK.
She went back to teaching after obtaining a Master’s degree in project management and planning and opted to work as a volunteer.
The Global Teacher Prize, supported by the Varkey Foundation and Dubai Gems International Education Group, received entries from 127 countries and will be awarded for the first time next month.
The idea behind the competition and the million-dollar prize is to raise public recognition for the importance of the teaching profession and to encourage high-quality recruits.
According to the Varkey Foundation website, whoever wins the million dollars will not be able to walk away from the classroom because the money will be paid in instalments over a decade and one of the conditions for winning is that the ultimate winner has to continue working as a teacher for at least five years.