EL teacher up for prestigious global award

Varkey Foundation approaches Ghanaian-born educator to apply

AFTER coming first in the Excellence in Secondary School Teaching category for the National Teachers’ Award (NTA), East London Science College economics teacher Solomon Onwona has been asked to apply for the Varkey Foundation’s 2018 Global Teacher Prize.

Onwana, who will be representing the district in the final rounds of the NTA in November, was approached by representatives of the Varkey Foundation, encouraging him to apply for the international award.

Onwona was featured in the GO! recently (Teacher in line for top award, August 24) as one of the first foreign national teachers to be up for the NTA.

Now in its fourth year, the $1-million (R13.5-million) international award is the largest prize of its kind and is set up to recognise one exceptional teacher who has made an invaluable contribution to the profession, as well as to emphasise the important role played by educators in society.

“I am in the process of filling out the forms and I am just so excited to be a part of something of this magnitude. It means everything to me, I feel as if I’m fulfilling the dream of my late father,” said the enthusiastic Ghanaian-born teacher.

Onwona has been teaching for more than 12 years, both in his home country Ghana and in South Africa. For him teaching is more than just a means to make a living, it is a passion, a calling.

It means everything to me, I feel as if I’m fulfilling the dream of my late father

Apart from ensuring an outstanding set of results is achieved by his economics students, Onwona dedicates his time and efforts to helping, motivating and encouraging his students in all facets of life, making him an excellent candidate for the Global Teacher prize.

As a non-profit organisation, the Varkey Foundation strives to improve the standards of education for underprivileged children throughout the world by motivating and supporting teachers, as well as acknowledging innovation and excellence in the profession.

“Our mission is that every child should have a good teacher. We do this through building teacher capacity, advocacy campaigns to promote excellence in teaching practice at the highest levels of policy making and providing grants to partner organisations that offer innovative solutions in support of our mission,” Varkey Foundation marketing executive Prerana Srungaram said.

Teacher in line for top award

As part of the Varkey’s Global Teachers Prize, nominated teachers or those who apply, can potentially be short listed as the top-50 candidates later in the year have their inspirational stories publicised, helping to raise the bar of respect for the profession.

“Going international is a fulfilment of the words of my Grade 5 teacher, who used to call me “my best teacher” due to the way I used to answer questions and present topics in class. My teacher always told me I’d make a difference in the world and now that time has come,” Onwona said.

“If I get to the top 50, I’ll be really happy and winning the award would give me the chance to go the extra mile in order to make even more of a difference in the lives of these future leaders.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here