LIMPOPO Education MEC Polly Boshielo says she is elated after a teacher Mokhudu Machaba from Ngwanamago Primary School was selected as one of the top finalists for the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2020.
Mokhudu was chosen from more than 12,000 nominations from over 140 countries to continue in the running for this $1 million prize.
Now in its sixth year, the US$1 million award is the largest prize of its kind.
“I am thrilled to have one of our own recognised at a global scale for her determination to help our children rise above challenges presented to them,” said Boshielo.
Machaba joins among others US teacher Leah Juelke and South Korean teacher Yun Jeong-hyun vying for the top prize.
Machaba is recognized for her commitment to ensure the hardships she went through do not befall her students.
Starting with the use of a single cellphone for Internet access in class, she obtained laptops from the Internet Service Providers Association Super Teacher awards, Microsoft, and the South African government – all by showcasing her students’ activities.
She has now introduced her students to Coding Week, using Minecraft as an introduction, and students have also started talking with learners from other countries through the Microsoft Educator Platform and mystery Skypes.
In 2009, Mokhudu was the runner-up in the ISPA Super Teacher prize for ICT Integration in the classroom. In 2015 she was crowned Provincial winner of the National Teaching Award (Technology Enhanced Teaching category), and she has also been recognized as one of the 50 Inspiring Women in Tech for South Africa.
The department said Machaba started with just a single cell phone for internet access in class and went on to win prizes for integrating ICT in the classroom.
“We are proud of her for making it to the finals. We are behind her and rooting for the overall winner position”, said MEC Boshielo.
The awards are set to take place on December 03 2020.
Another finalist, Juelke, a Fargo native, graduated from the school where she now works.
However, her experience spans far beyond the Midwest.
“I’ve always kind of had a passion for learning about different cultures and traveling,” Juelke said.
“My first job was in Taiwan. I worked at a boarding school, and then I worked in Ecuador for three years at a private school as an English and social studies teacher.”
She is the 2018 North Dakota Teacher of the Year and holds certification in the world of English learners programs, formerly known as the English as a second language program, that accommodates students who don’t speak English as their first language to help them learn their curriculum with English.
Students in the English learner track at Fargo South attend their core classes with these accommodations and attend elective classes with the general population of the school.
(COMPILED BY INSIDE EDUCATION STAFF)