Africa: Why AU Recognised Kenyan As Teacher of the Year

23 December 2020

For her unique relationship with students in the use of ICT in teaching, Nyeri's Othaya Girls Principal Jane Waceke has earned recognition from the African Union. The regional body has named her the winner of the 2020 African Union Continental Teacher of the Year.

She was recognised for her positive approach towards her students, which has resulted in desirable behaviour as well as exemplary performance and quality teaching.

The AU Continental Teachers Award was introduced in 2016 with the aim of celebrating teachers in Africa for their students' performance, utilisation of innovative education delivery approaches and positive influence in the community and school.

It also considers the teachers' moral standards, commitment to passing on values to students, positive support to fellow staff, and positive engagement with parents.

"Helping students to achieve their long-term career goals by organising engagement with relevant agencies of information," the award certificate read.

I emerged the best.

The winners of the award are identified through calls for nomination at local and international levels.

The selection process involves public officials, teachers, academics, journalists, entrepreneurs, company directors, scientists and entertainment industry figures in Africa.

"I was nominated by the Teachers Service Commission as one of the two teachers in Kenya to the AU Secretariat in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. As the competition progressed, there were six of us left and I emerged the best," she told the Nation in an interview yesterday.

This is not the first time that Ms Waceke has been feted. In June 2019, she won TSC's Principal of the Year Award (POYA), a title she still holds to date.

"We have been able to engage the students using technology. We send them the work and even teach them virtually, all thanks to the technology we adopted a long time ago," Ms Waceke said.

"We engaged the community and taught students from the community. We also had students from as far as South Africa and, this way, I learnt that as a country and continent we can better education using technology," she added.

Team spirit

Ms Waceke prides herself in the team spirit she has instilled in the school. She says that she introduced team teaching where marking is done through conveyor marking and students benefit from all the teachers of a particular subject.

The school has departmental weeks where they do rigorous work on particular subjects. The students also carry a pocket solution which is a problem that they identify in the morning and must get a solution by evening.

Nyeri TSC County Director Elija Omwega lauded the principal, saying the award was well-deserved.

"The process did not start in March but when she was employed. She has been induced, coached and mentored as a teacher. We have also invested in training and capacity building," he said.

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