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Kiswahili Teacher Chosen in World’s First International Fact-finding Commission

Kenyan Kiswahili and history teacher Abdikadir Ismail was on Friday, July 24, selected in a group of 11 Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize finalists from around the world in launching ‘Class of Covid-19’.

The group was selected to investigate the impact of the coronavirus crisis on schoolchildren and young people in Kenya and around the world. 

Ismail is part of the educators spearheading the mission which is the world’s first international fact-finding commission led by young people into how education should change after schools reopen. 

The Kiswahili teacher who was shortlisted for the Global Teacher Prize in 2018, will facilitate a series of focused discussions between schoolchildren in Kenya.

“These discussions will ask children what they have missed about school while it has been closed and what they haven’t, what they’ve learned about themselves during the lockdown, and what they would change about their school when they return to classes,” Varkey foundation stated.

Abdi Ismail, Kenya Staff

Ismail who is the Principal at Mwangaza Muslim Mixed Day Secondary School in Maralal, Samburu County affirmed that it was important to get the views of schoolchildren who had been locked out of their classrooms because of the global pandemic.

“We must give a voice to this Class of Covid-19. It is both vital and urgent that policymakers work to understand the impact of the school closures on young people, and what schools and education ministries can do to help them.

“With schools closed around the world, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to stop and listen to the concerns of young people about the future of their education,” he explained.

UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education Stefania Giannini highlighted the importance of the history teacher using his influence to ensure Kenya’s students are given a voice at the top table on the future of their education.

“I welcome this new fact-finding commission, established by the Varkey Foundation as a member of UNESCO’s Global Education Coalition. It is vital that we hear young people’s voices as we continue to champion inclusive learning opportunities for children all over the world during and after this sudden and unprecedented disruption to global education,” she conveyed.

Ismail was among the top 50 finalist for the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize in 2018. He was shortlisted after being selected from over 30,000 nominations and applications from 173 countries around the world.

The Varkey Foundation supports global teaching capacity and seed excellence and innovation in the next generation of educators. They also founded the Global Teacher Prize to shine a spotlight on the incredible work teachers do all over the world. 

Original article by Michael Musyoka in Kenyans.co.ke.