The African Union has for the first time given three outstanding teachers on the continent $10,000 (£8,000) each.
The teachers are Augusta Lartey-Young (Ghana), Erick Ademba (Kenya) and Uganda’s Gladys K.
“It is a key instrument in our efforts to enhance the quality of teaching and learning in Africa,” Beatrice Njenga, the head of the AU’s education division, said.
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Mr Ademba noted the award will spur teachers on to be innovative as well as promote the image of teaching in Africa.
The Continental Teacher Prize was established as a means to demonstrate respect for teachers and the teaching profession, by encouraging and celebrating the committed teachers in Africa.
According to the AU, “the Prize raises the status of teaching, facilitates sharing of best practices in teacher excellence, and inspires the best possible candidates to join the teaching profession. Furthermore, the AU Teacher Prize is meant to serve as a catalyst for similar programmes at regional and national levels.”
The three outstanding teachers were selected for demonstrating the following qualities:
“Engaging in quality teaching which results in high standards of student achievement;
• Demonstrated knowledge of the subject matter, while keeping up with recent developments;
• Encouraging desirable behaviour among students through positive feedback and other methods;
• Managing classes to enhance the quality of learning processes, while ensuring accommodation of students with varied learning needs and abilities;
• Engaging in activities and networks that enhance the social and cultural value of learning;
• Helping students to achieve their long term career goals by organizing engagement with relevant agencies and information;
• Demonstrating multi-valency in facilitating acquisition of knowledge and skills, as well as values for peace building and responsible citizenship
• Positive engagement with fellow teachers encouraging mutual learning;
• Positive reputation from stakeholders and community members;
• Highly commended by students and staff members.”
A 2018 UNICEF report on Teacher Performance in Africa, pointed out that: “There is a tacit and longstanding assumption that if we want better teachers all we need to do is give them more training and/or on-the-job support: the more the better. However, even a few moments reflection on one’s own experience should be enough to convince most readers that this is not true. Yes, we might come back from (good) training invigorated and with new ideas, but it is not too long before what we have learnt begins to fade, unless we have other drivers to make us continue to apply such learning. Professional development is necessary both at the beginning of a teacher’s career and throughout that career, but it is not sufficient to ensure high (or better) levels of performance. Performance needs to be actively managed. In any job, not just teaching, the other things that drive us to do better are: how motivated we are; whether we feel valued; how high our morale is; what roles we fulfil; whether our performance is aligned to the incentives we receive; and whether we are held to account for our performance.”