Okon Bassey in Uyo
In fulfilment of its pledge to honour the 2016 Maltina Teacher of the Year, Mr. Imoh Eno Essien, Nigerian Breweries Plc, has unveiled an ultra-modern block of classrooms, library and toilet facilities at the Special Education Centre for Exceptional Children in Uyo, Akwa lbom State.
The provision of the facilities in the school where Essien teaches was part of his prize for emerging as the 2016 Maltina Teacher of the Year.
Essien, who defeated nine other finalists to the coveted prize last year, also got N1 million cash prize, an oversea training plus another N1 million to be paid to him annually for five years.
The Managing Director, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Mr. Johan Doyer, who was represented at the occasion by the Corporate Affairs Adviser, Mr. Kufre Ekanem, explained that the idea of the school-based project was to ensure that when a teacher wins, the community where he/she teaches also wins or benefits.
He said the Maltina Teacher of the Year initiative was hinged on the realisation that teachers hardly get the recognition they deserve in spite of the pivotal role they play in determining the quality of education and the future of the country.
“We set out with an aspiration to recognise, celebrate and embolden teachers. So far, the initiative has produced 42 state champions and two overall winners selected by an independent panel of judges.”
Handing over the keys of the building to the state government, Doyer thanked Governor Udom Emmanuel for accepting to inauguate the facility for use by the school.
“It is a unique time to have his excellency commission this project which has further drawn attention to our collective responsibility of nurturing our children with special needs in a conducive learning environment.”
Doyer also thanked the Federal Ministry of Education and other stakeholders for the support and partnership with the company since the commencement of the Maltina Teacher of the Year initiative.
The governor, who was represented by the Commissioner for Education, Mr. Paul Udofia, congratulated Essien for making the state proud and commended the company for the worthy initiative aimed at celebrating exceptional teachers in Nigeria.
“This is an excellent motivation to spur them to greater heights. The package for the winner is breath taking and I am proud that an Akwa Ibom teacher has risen to the greatness of conquering teaching profession in Nigeria.”
In her remarks, the Principal of the school, Mrs. Deborah Benjamin thanked Nigerian Breweries for what she described as an unparalleled support for the cause of education in the country.
“This singular gesture is a significant milestone in the entire reward system adopted by Maltina Teacher of the Year organisers by bringing the school that produced the champion into their scheme of activities.”
An excited Essien also commended the company for the gesture, adding that it takes commitment on the part of the company to appreciate the sacrifice and contribution of teachers to the development of the nation. He enjoined his fellow teachers across the country to rededicate themselves to the profession and deepen their passion for their calling.
The Maltina Teacher of the Year is an initiative of the Nigerian Breweries/Felix Ohiwerei Education Trust Fund. The fund was established in 1994 with a take-off capital of N100 million to assist the company play a more active role in the development of education in Nigeria.
Since the fund was inaugurated, it has impacted over 25,000 students across the country, building nearly 300 classrooms and about 30 libraries equipped with furniture and books in primary and secondary schools across communities in the country.