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Kenya’s award-winning teacher Peter Tabichi visits the U.K to share his teaching methods

Peter Tabichi, the winner of the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2019, discussed how to engage young people in the sciences with top UK teachers in London.


In his first-ever visit to the home of British science, Peter Tabichi, the Kenyan teacher who won the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2019, held a talk at London’s prestigious Science Museum. Tabichi took part in a session with UK teachers run by the Science Museum Group Academy, that explored how to engage young people in science and encouraged STEM professionals to exchange ideas and best practice.

The Science Museum Group Academy offers inspirational research-informed science engagement training and resources for teachers, museums and STEM professionals.

Peter discussed how he developed his school’s Science Club, reached out to parents and pupils on the importance of science learning and helped his students succeed in the sciences in a severely under-resourced school.

A blog about the session will be published by the Science Museum Group Academy on its website. Peter Tabichi said:
“When I teach my students about the world and why it turns when I show them how the basic forces of our planet work, I see the wonder in their eyes. The same wonder I felt looking around me at all the awe-inspiring things exhibited here in the Science Museum. There is nothing like showing science in action to switch students’ minds on to all its study can achieve.”

“It is such an honor to be here in the home of British science to talk about how we can capture the imaginations of students in Africa. With the right education in Africa, like Great Britain, will one day produce scientists whose names will be famous in every corner of the globe. Great women and men who will go on to solve some of the greatest challenges our continent faces from climate change to food insecurity. All they need is a spark.”

Susan Raikes, the Science Museum Group’s Director of Learning said:  “We were delighted to host Peter at the museum and I’m sure the teachers taking part in the session were fascinated to hear about Peter’s innovative teaching methods in an under-resourced school. Alongside the engagement training and resources, we can provide STEM professionals, there’s huge value in simply bringing together people who care deeply about inspiring the next generation and facilitating the exchange of ideas and experiences.”

Whilst in London, Peter Tabichi will also visit the Royal Society and the Wellcome Trust as well as the Royal Over-Seas League where he will be in conversation with Sir Anthony Seldon, British educator, historian, author and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham.

Peter will also set those in power in the UK a “Science Challenge” to help skill Africa’s youth to go on to solve the vast, urgent problems on their own doorstep: from climate change and drought to food insecurity and disease prevention.

Peter Tabichi won the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2019 at a ceremony in March hosted by actor, singer, and producer Hugh Jackman. Peter teaches at Keriko Mixed Day Secondary School in Pwani Village, situated in a remote, semi-arid part of Kenya’s Rift Valley.

Turning lives around in a school with a student-teacher ratio of 58:1 is no easy task, not least when to reach the school, students must walk 7km along roads that become impassable in the rainy season.

Undeterred, Peter started a talent nurturing club to find the best in his students and expanded the school’s Science Club. Peter mentored his pupils through the Kenya Science and Engineering Fair 2018 – where students showcased a device they had invented to allow blind and deaf people to measure objects. His students, who had never stepped on a plane before, went on to win the UN Sustainable Development Goal Award at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Phoenix, Arizona this year.

Despite teaching in a school with only one desktop computer with an intermittent internet connection, Peter uses ICT in 80% of his lessons to engage students, visiting internet cafes and caching online content to be used offline in class.

Peter gives 80% of his salary to help the poor in his local community.

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