2 February 2017 - The Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize recognises exceptional teachers who make an outstanding contribution to the profession and shines a spotlight on the important role teachers play in society.
In December the Top 50 Finalists of the 2017 edition have been announced and Limpopo teacher Phuti Ragophala stands a chance to win this US$1 million award.
About the Global Teacher Prize
Now in its third year, the US $1 million award is the largest prize of its kind, and was set up to recognize one exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession as well as to shine a spotlight on the important role teachers play in society.
By unearthing thousands of stories of heroes that have transformed young people’s lives, the prize hopes to bring to life the exceptional work of millions of teachers all over the world.
The top 50 have been shortlisted from over 20,000 nominations and applications from 179 countries from around the world. The top 50 shortlist has representatives from 37 countries and by highlighting their stories the Varkey Foundation hopes that the public will be able to join in passionate debates about the importance of teachers.
The winner will be announced at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai on Sunday 19 March 2017.
About Phuti Ragophala
Phuti Ragophala from Pula Madibogo Primary School in Limpopo grew up in straitened circumstances, but her parents saw leadership and teaching talents within her and encouraged her to try to become a teacher.
She is now a teacher and Principal of her school, always keeping the idea of ‘service beyond self’ strongly in mind. Working in a semi-rural area, most of her learners are orphans, or from families where parents are poor or ill. Instead of turning children away if their parents are unable to pay for classes, she has managed to empower parents by employing them in the running of the school, giving their children opportunities they would not have otherwise had. The parents therefore also become invested in the school, and attendance is high.
Although her own education was very traditional (essentially using just blackboard and chalk), Phuti has undertaken a number of initiatives to widen the education available to her students.
She has launched, with colleagues, a permaculture garden to grow vegetables and herbs for the benefit of the poor in the community. This helps students acquire the desire to become scientists, farmers and pharmacists when they see the application of what is grown in the garden.
Phuti is also a Microsoft Innovative Expert Educator, pioneering the integration of technology in the classroom, and has received many awards from the government and other organisations in recognition of her achievements. With the prize funds, she would improve the facilities of her school, adding a sanitation block, library building, and more computers in the short term.
Source: Global Teacher Prize
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