For her passionate desire to bring out the best in students and help create a workforce that would redeem the image of Nigeria, a Chemistry and Mathematics teacher from Federal Government Girls College (FGGC) Onitsha, Mrs. Nkemdilim Rose Obi, has emerged winner of the 2015 Maltina-Teacher of the-Year-Award.
The award instituted by the Nigerian Breweries-Felix Ohiwerei Education Trust Fund was aimed at restoring the pride of teachers and the dignity of the teaching profession.
The race for the award, which generated unprecedented interest from teachers across the country, started on Wednesday, May 20, 2015.
For emerging the overall winner, Obi won N1m cash prize and another N1m to be paid into her account yearly for five years on every World Teachers day. Her school (FGGC, Onitsha) would be a beneficiary of infrastructural development and projects worth N25m.
The second and third place winner, an English Language teacher from Federal Government College, Borno, Mohammed Binta Lawan, and a Chemistry teacher from Northern Annang Commercial School, Akwa Ibom State, Daniel Sunday Udiong, went home with N750,000 each, respectively.
This is aside from N500,000 cash prize for each of the 19 state champions, from which the last 10 and then the winners were drawn.
Speaking at the unveiling ceremony, Monday night, the chairman of the panel of judges and Founder/Chief Executive Officer, Centre for Values in Leadership, Prof. Pat Utomi, stressed the need for teachers to be regularly exposed to training.
He said but for the groups that were competent and grounded on the job, some of the findings on teachers’ competency during the screening were disappointing.
He said, “We looked at the passion they have for teaching, their general competence on their subject and a particular philosophy of teaching that they deployed to be effective with the students, their commitment to long-term goal.”
“If, indeed, Nigeria desires to solve the challenges of national progress, she must educate her citizens, and teachers are central in this. We need to continually train our teachers to be able to keep them up with the speed of the world. And teachers must be encouraged to learn how to learn.”
Speaking with The Guardian shortly after receiving her award, 37-year old Obi, and a graduate of Chemistry, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Anambra State, said her desire to expose students to rudiments of learning and guide them in career development is her staying power as several opportunities to leave the profession due to poor remuneration has presented itself.
Obi, a masters degree holder, whose mum was also a teacher said, “I have succeeded in shifting from a traditional method of teaching to a discussion-based methodology. The strategy brings about a synergy between what happens in the classroom and what happens real life. It brings out analytical skills from students.
“I am following my mum’s footsteps, my mum was a teacher, and I also have passion to bring out the best from students. Give them the best training and get them prepared to enter the workforce of the country. Secondary education is very important in career development, thus my resolve to give the best to students,” she said.