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CLOSE-UP: Itodo, Odeogbola, the Nigerians short-listed for Global Teacher Prize

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Two Nigerian teachers, Itodo Anthony from Gateway Excel College Otukpa, Benue State, and Ayodele Odeogbola from Abeokuta Grammar School, Ogun State, are among the 50 teachers shortlisted from across the world for the 2018 Global Teacher Prize.

The award, which comes with a $1 million prize money, was set up by the Varkey Foundation “to recognize one exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession”.

ITODO, UK MASTER’S DEGREE HOLDER WHO TEACHES IN A VILLAGE

A young man who had his first degree in Petroleum Engineering at the University of Port Harcourt, and went ahead to Study Reservoir Evaluation and Management for his Master’s at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh Campus, Itodo Anthony is a Chemistry/Physics Teacher at Gateway Excel College, Ogeneago Otukpa, a small rural school in Benue.

Not many people understood why Anthony would get a Master’s degree from a UK university and end up teaching in a village for “peanuts”.

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His mission is to elevate the teaching profession to a place of pride, to say with his own life that the profession is a noble one whose value is not tied to how much we earn.

In class, he introduces positive values from other parts of the world to broaden their view of life.

In May 2017, Itodo founded New Frontiers Youth Forum, a community-based organisation for the youth. This organisation welcomes membership from young people aged 13 to 35 , and the aim is to raise an army of young leaders who will act as positive change agents within the community.

Itodo is an exceptionally brilliant, multi-award-winning essayist. But his number-one strength is that he is a young man who breathes teaching. An avid Facebook user, majority of his posts are about his pupils and the teaching profession. He is reputed for consistently soliciting funds for indigent students, for prizes to endow awards of excellence for his outstanding pupils, for driving the kind of technology that simplifies teaching and eases learning for students.

ODEOGBOLA USES TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE STUDENTS’ OUTCOME

A graduate of Tai Solarin University of Education, with more than 10 years of experience in teaching in public-sector education, Odeogbola has an unparallelled passion for technology, innovation, and global best practices to transform the Nigerian education system.

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Ayodele, who teaches STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Education and Global Studies at Abeokuta Grammar School, Ogun State to pupils aged 11 to 15, is passionate about developing his students to become future leaders and stakeholders in the world.

Rather than teach the same thing in the same way to all, he adapts his methods to match the different needs, potentials and learning paths of each pupil.

“For every human challenge in the new world we live, there is always a technological solution,” Ayodele believes.

He has brought technology industry experts into his classroom, and linked his class using Skype and social media to peers in schools in India and Lebanon.

Ayodele was nominated among the world’s best teachers in the Microsoft’s 2014 class of Mentor Schools and the Inaugural Class of Expert Educators.

In 2012, he was first runner-up in the category ‘Teaching as Innovator and Change Agent’ at the Microsoft Global Partners in Learning Forum.

“I hope to make a difference in education in Nigeria. There is not a lot of budget for education in the country, but I believe that access to technology can level the playing field for children from all backgrounds,” he said.

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A total of 30,000 nominations were received from 173 countries of the world, out of which 50 persons were initially shortlisted.

The winner will be announced at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai, the UAE, on March 18, 2018.

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