A Ghanaian teacher has been short-listed, for the second successive time, amongst the top 50 finalists for this year’s Global Teacher Prize scheduled for Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, next month.
Mr Robert Gbari Gariba, a Special Education Teacher at the Richard Akwei Memorial School and the 2018 Best Primary School Teacher, would contend for the $1million ultimate prize.
The awards scheme, instituted by the Varkey Foundation, a global non-governmental organisation, recognises the meritorious contribution of teachers worldwide, to education.
Last year, Prof. Sitsofe Enyonam Anku, the founder and executive director of the Meagasa Mathematics Academy in Accra, became the first Ghanaian teacher to reach that level, since the awards was set up about five years ago.
To celebrate Ghana’s sole nominee for this year, a ceremony was hosted by Ministry of Education, in Accra on Tuesday. It brought together the family, and students of Mr Gariba and other stakeholders in education.
The Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh commended Mr Gariba for providing innovative interventions for children with special needs to have equal chance of learning and develop their full potentials.
Mr Gariba , he said , used his own resources to help the special needs children in diverse ways including transporting them to hospitals and helping them sit for the Basic Education Certificate Examination(BECE).
Acknowledging the resource constraint in special needs education, he said the ministry was pursuing an all inclusive no-child-left-behind policy that covers children with special needs.
The ongoing teacher reform programme, he said would also improve the quality and quantity of teachers and encourage better and more innovative teaching for all categories of students.
Dr Prempeh said the government was proud of Mr Gariba’s achievement and while wishing him the best in the contest, urged him to showcase his skills to the world to improve upon innovation in the educational system.
Dr Evelyn Oduro, Executive Director, National Teaching Council, hailed Mr Gariba for saving several children with special needs from dropping out of school and urged Ghanaian teachers to emulate him.
Jesus Miguel Falcon Perez, a project manager at the Varkey Foundation, said the foundation would continue to recognise outstanding teachers as part of its contribution to education worldwide.
Mr Gariba, for his part, said children with special needs needed devoted support from their parents, teachers and the government to realise their full potentials.
He advocated the setting up of vocational training centres nationwide where such persons would learn various skills instead of dropping out of school and indulging in social vices.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR