Peter Tabichi says South African teachers deserve huge recognition for the key role they play in building a brighter new decade for South Africa in the face of global challenges such as climate change, conflict, inequality and automation

Peter Tabichi, who was awarded US$1 million when declared the winner of the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2019 in March, today encouraged “super” South African teachers to apply for the 2020 prize – so their stories can be shared and we can learn from the great work they do in preparing young people to meet the challenges and opportunities of a new decade.

Tabichi also urged parents and pupils to nominate their most inspirational teacher for the prize before the closing deadline of this week.

The Maths and Physics teacher from Pwani Village, Nakuru, Kenya said:

“On my recent visit to South Africa for the World Economic Forum I met so many South African teachers that are innovative in how they inspire and engage their pupils in lessons. They really have a passion for their job and deserve a spotlight thrown on the important work they do in shaping the future of South Africa through the children they teach.

“In my village in Nakuru, students face tremendous challenges. Many are orphans who have grown up in poverty. Many more come to school with their bellies empty, their hand-to-mouth lives made all the harder by the ravages of drought and climate change. But with a good education, they at least have hope for the future and the tools to tackle their very real challenges.

“Not all students face the same difficulties mine do, but every continent has its own problems, from the threat of automation to the workforce, to prejudices, war and want. If the last decade has taught us anything, it is the size of the mountain we have to climb.

“But 2020 can see the start of a better, brighter decade in which we can begin to overcome the many challenges people face around the world if we can provide a great education for all. That starts with great teachers growing the great minds the next generation needs. That is why I encourage super South African teachers to apply for the Global Teacher Prize 2020.”

Sunny Varkey, Founder of the Global Teacher Prize, said:

“We want to give South African teachers a platform where they highlight key issues of importance to the world. If they become 2020 finalists or one very special teacher even becomes the winner then we will look at new and exciting ways to tell their stories to every stakeholder in education – from pupils and parents to CEOs and Presidents. We need to give teachers a seat at the top table as they shape the future everyday through the children they teach.”

South African teachers have excelled with the Global Teacher Prize since it was first awarded in 2015. Marjorie Brown, who teaches history at Roedean School, Johannesburg, was a top 10 finalist for the 2018 prize, while Wendy Horn, who teaches physical sciences at Protea Heights Academy, Cape Town, made the top 50 shortlist that year. Phuti Ragophala, an Economics and Management Sciences and Technology teacher at Pula Madibogo Primary School in Polokwane, made the top 50 shortlist for the 2017 prize. Science teacher Colleen Henning, from St John’s College, Johannesburg, and ICT teacher Warren Sparrow from Rondebosch Boys’ Preparatory School, Rondebosch, both reached the 2016 top 50 shortlist.

Nominations and applications opened on Thursday 01 August 2019, for the US$1 million award, which is now in its sixth year and the largest prize of its kind in education. Nominations as well as applications can be made at and the closing date for applications is Monday 14 October 2019.

The prize is open to currently working teachers who teach children that are in compulsory schooling, or are between the ages of five and eighteen. Teachers who teach children age 4+ in an Early Years government-recognised curriculum are also eligible, as are teachers who teach on a part-time basis, and teachers of online courses. Teachers must spend at least 10 hours per week teaching and plan to remain in the profession for the next 5 years. It is open to teachers in every kind of school and, subject to local laws, in every country in the world.

If teachers are being nominated, the person nominating them will write a brief description online explaining why. The teacher being nominated will then be sent an email letting them know they’ve been nominated and inviting them to apply for the prize. Applicants can apply in English, Mandarin, Arabic, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian. To join the conversation online follow @TeacherPrize on: and

View the Global Teacher Prize 2020 opening nominations video on:



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