For the second consecutive year, Ghana has been shortlisted to compete for the Global Teacher Prize scheduled for Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, in March 2019.
Mr Robert Gbari Gariba, a Special Education Teacher attached to the Richard Akwei Memorial School in Accra, has been shortlisted as one of the top 50 teachers in the world to contest for the ultimate prize of $1 million.
The Global Teacher Prize is an annual $1-million award by the Varkey Foundation to a teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession.
Nominations are open to teachers who teach children who are in compulsory schooling or between the ages of five and 18.
Teachers who teach children aged four and above in early years government-recognised curriculum are also eligible, as well as teachers who teach on a part-time basis and teachers of online courses.
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Besides, the teacher must spend at least 10 hours per week teaching children face to face and plan to remain in the teaching profession for the next five years.
The first Ghanaian teacher to reach the top 50 of the Global Prize was Professor Sitsofe Enyonam Anku, the Founder and Executive Director of the Meagasa Mathematics Academy at Lashibi, near Accra.
What he does
Writing on Mr Gariba, the Varkey Foundation, organisers of the prize, said he “encourages students to learn under their own direction within helpful guidelines: topics are given for private study and each student is later given the opportunity to tell the class about what they have learned”.
“Robert also monitors children’s vision and hearing in order to identify those with impairment, so that teaching can be adapted. Robert also uses inclusive methods of teaching that exploit available technology.
“Students with cerebral palsy and disabilities have been helped to use computers, so they can sit their Basic Education Certificate Examination for the first time, as well as using software that helps them prepare for the final examination,” it added.
The foundation said Mr Gariba not only taught outside school hours but also advised parents on how to take care of their children with special needs at home and mentored teachers to help prepare them for specific jobs such as facilitating workshops.
Speaking on his nomination, Mr Gariba told the Daily Graphic that he was pleasantly surprised to have been nominated and was grateful to God, the Ghana Education Service (GES), his school, colleague teachers and family for the encouragement and support.
Mr Gariba, who was adjudged the Best Teacher in the Primary Category in the 2018 Ghana Teacher Prize, called for prayers from all Ghanaians, saying: “I am going there to represent Ghana and if anything comes out of it, it is for Ghana and not for me.”
He said the prayer should be that he should first of all be included in the top 10, from which group the overall winner would be picked, and pledged that should he win the prize, he would organise regional training programmes on specific learning difficulties for all teachers in the country.
“If I win the ultimate prize, it will be for Ghana and many more people are going to be trained, people’s lives will be improved, the school dropout rate will be minimised in the country and social vices will reduce because when the child is in school, he or she will come out with something good,” he said.
As a passionate special education teacher, Mr Gariba asked both teachers and parents to change their attitude towards children with disabilities.
“We should all accept the inclusive education policy,” he said.