The Foundation For Tomorrow presented the Teacher of Distinction Award to ten teachers from Meru District on February 5, 2016. The award recipients each received a certificate of recognition and cash prize of 500,000 Tanzanian shillings (equivalent to $250). The awarding happened in the presence of officials and officers from the Meru District Education Office, headed by Mr. Tumsifu Mushi, and about 200 head teachers and ward education officers from the district. These ten teachers were selected from more than 200 nominated teachers through a multi-stage process comprised of shortlisting, interview, scrutiny of their planning documents as well as their teaching aids, and a teaching demonstration.
The process was long and tedious, but necessary for this award that carries so much weight and meaning for the teaching community. The Teacher of Distinction Award is the first of its kind in Arusha, or even in the whole of Tanzania. The nominees to the award were selected using these four criteria: (1) Ability to stimulate critical and analytical thinking among students; (2) Ability to create a rewarding and engaging learning experience; (3) Innovations on teaching methodology and curriculum development; and (4) Commitment to helping students who need learning support.
In her speech during the awarding ceremony, Melissa Queyquep, former Teachers Training Program Manager and now Country Director for The Foundation for Tomorrow said: “As TFFT works to fulfill its mission of securing quality education for the most vulnerable so that they may thrive and realize their full potential, one thing is very clear to us as an organization: we can never provide quality education to these children if we don’t put importance on the teachers who deliver instruction to these children. Much more than physical buildings and resources, quality education stems from quality teachers. ELIMU BORA HUTOKANA NA WALIMU BORA.” Melissa ended her speech with a challenge to the ten teachers who were honored that day, hoping that the recognition they received would further bolster their effort to continue working for the good of their students, for the improvement of their schools, and for the quality of education in the district. She appealed to them to share their knowledge to their co-teachers, offer their services to mentor other teachers, especially the new ones who just joined the service, and to always heed the call to serve the nation through the impeccable service to the teaching profession.
The awarding ceremony was a rousing success. The teachers from the audience expressed appreciation to TFFT for putting emphasis on the contributions of the teachers to nation building and the need for them to be provided opportunities to develop themselves.
Congratulations, 2015 Teacher of Distinction Awardees! Clara Ernest Silayo, Maganga Lorry, Joseph Sikundi, Rose Salim Kimbute, Salma Bakari, Neema Mpinga, Ekaeli Newasha, Redempta Msacky, and Essau Sikawe.