Fingers crossed as teacher eyes coveted Global Prize

A Kenyan teacher whose monthly salary goes into charity has attracted international attention and is a hurdle away from winning the Global Teacher Prize.

Peter Tabichi, a member of the Franciscan Brothers of the Catholic Church has already bagged the African Teacher of the Year Award and is among the ten teachers shortlisted from across the world for the coveted global award.

Should Tabichi, a Physics and Mathematics teacher at Keriko Secondary School in Nakuru County be declared the Global Teacher, he will pocket a cool Ksh100,000,000 among other benefits.

He is the only African in the top ten list and Kenyans are praying for him to bring the victory home.

Already, excitement is in the air especially in his home county of Nyamira and particularly his Mokorongosi village in Kitutu Masaba where several people converged recently to pray for him and wish him well.

In the ceremony held at Kerongo Primary School where he got his early education, Tabichi was installed a Gusii elder by the Abagusii Council of Elders.

“What this young man has done is historical…it is not a mean achievement to be known globally. We welcome him to join our council,” the elders’ council’s Nyamira branch chairman Peterson Meroka said.

Meroka said Tabichi, a soft spoken 37-year-old man had proven to be an exemplary teacher.

The elders’ secretary, Barnabas Bosire said the council was elated that a son from the community had propelled them to the global stage.

“We install him an elder of Omogusii because he has demonstrated exemplary service and given us recognition and respect,” Bosire said.

“Tabichi has demonstrated humility, fortitude and selfless service for others,” the elders said.

The rise and rise of the teacher has confirmed once again that despite one’s humble beginning, there is a chance to impact the world positively.

Family’s take

Tabichi was born to a Catholic family and his mother died when he was barely 11, leaving the burden of bringing up the children to his father, Lawrence Tabichi.

When senior Tabichi rose to speak, he did not hide his joy as he addressed the gathering in English before he switched to Ekegusii.

“My name is Lawrence Tabichi. I’m the father of the global teacher,” he said amid applause.

The retired primary school teacher, just like his eldest son Fidelis Mangura was in consensus that from his childhood, the teacher displayed rare traits.

“He loved making independent decisions. He loved children and protected them whenever they did something wrong, saying they were still children and will be able to make better decisions when they became adults,” Mangura said.

Tabichi is an old student of Nyansabakwa High School where he sat for his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) and excelled to join Egerton University.

Henry Manoti who is the current principal of the school said Tabichi left an indelible mark due to his good performance and high level discipline.

“Although I was not at the school during his time, I have checked his records. His school leaving certificate says that he was a very good and exemplary student,” Manoti said.

At his Keriko Secondary School, Tabichi has won hearts of students, teachers and the entire community for his selfless service.

“We are proud of this teacher. He joined our school in 2005 and he is the Head of Department of Mathematics,” the school’s principal, Daniel Muriri said.

Giving life to school

Although Tabichi found the school with less than 100 students, the population has shot to about 500, partly due to his efforts.

The Scholar learnt that the school has a catchment for students from humble families and the teacher has sacrificed to among other things, be innovative in teaching his subjects, source for funds to build a laboratory and donate his salary to help the community.

In 2017, the school emerged the best at the nationals during the Kenya Science and Engineering Fair and two of its students will represent Kenya in an international competition in Arizona USA, in May.

“Mwalimu supports children from poor families and is devoted to touch lives positively,” Muriri said.

In his home tuff, excitement is in the air as locals look forward for more visitors who may wish to trace the teacher’s background.

Already, an earthen road linking his home from the Kisii-Chemosit Road at Mote Momwamu area has been murramed by the County Government of Nyamira.

Kitutu Masaba MP Shadrack Mose has also injected Sh1 million from the National Government’s Constituency Development Fund to spruce up Tabichi’s former primary school.

“Kerongo is now going to be a model school. I hope and pray that the school will produce more champions of Mwalimu Tabichi’s calibre,” Mose said.

He thanked the Keriko school fraternity for giving the teacher an enabling environment and support which had seen him rise to grab international recognition.

Serving for the love of it

However, during the homecoming ceremony, attendees were surprised to learn that Tabichi did not know anything about the competitions until a teacher who had seen his deeds told him about it.

“I learnt about the the Global Teacher Prize from my friend here (Nicholas Misoi) who also participated. My other friend here is Dr Maina Kioko who is among the 50 best teachers globally,” Tabichi said.

The two friends said if Tabichi wins, they too will be winners, for in the teaching profession, they have embraced collaboration instead of competition.

Winning the prize is not a walk in the park. It attracted 10,000 entrants from across the globe and so far ten contestants are remaining ahead of the finals which will be held in Dubai on March 24th.

The prize recognises teachers who go an extra mile to emerge super stars in the profession.

“Although I lost my mother when I was 11, my dad brought us well and instilled in us good morals and values. I chose to become a teacher so that I get an opportunity to help people,” Tabichi said.

He said all his salary goes to the poor and the vulnerable in the society, for he believes that it is in giving that he receives.

“My school has 470 students and is in a small village. We have dedicated teachers with whom we collaborate for good results to be realised,” Tabichi said.

“It is through collaboration that we have made several strides but my greatest pet is innovation. We were ranked the best last year and we will represent the country in the US in May. I hope we will shine, once again.”

It is uncommon for The Scholar to take a stand in a news page but we are thrilled and wish Tabichi all the best. He will definitely do not only Kenya but Africa, proud! 

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