By Funmi Ogundare
The Lagos State Ministry of Education recently flagged off the ‘Teachers Merit Award 2020’, aimed at recognising, showcasing and appreciating public school teachers.
The initiative, which is private sector driven, is also designed to, aside promote education in the state, emphasise teachers’ outstanding ideas and innovations so that other educators can replicate them to enhance learning outcomes in all schools.
The application which kicked-off online with the link http://lagosstateteacherawards.ng on December 21, has been broken down into seven categories. A total of 13 teachers and principals- three from the primary school level, three from the junior secondary school level, three from the senior secondary school/technical college, one head teacher in the primary school, one principal each from the junior, senior secondary and technial college, will be selected for the awards.
Speaking to journalists during the unveiling ceremony, the Chairperson of the Awards Committee, Mrs. Lai Koiki decribed this year’s edition as special because of the peculiarities of the global challenges caused by the Coronavirus. This she said has brought out the can-do spirit, resilience and creativity in the teachers as they tried to minimise the learning loss in their students
“That is part of what makes this year’s award very special, as it is giving the state another opportunity to appreciate teachers in public schools. The award aims to appreciate teachers who not only persevered during this period, but who also found ways to excel and distinguish themselves.”
Through their teaching and learning, Koiki who is also the Executive Director of Greensprings School, said the teachers ensured that no child was left behind or disadvantaged.
She noted that the merit award will be different from the one previously held by the state government as teachers are free to apply on their own rather than being norminated, and support their claims with video evidence of outstanding leadership or contribution in improving teaching and learning, evidence of positive holistic impact on students’ learning beyond classroom protocol, efficiency and effectiveness; attestation, references from the students and their bosses, communities, among others, as criteria for selection.
“There are three stages to the application; the first stage is the preliminary where a lot of people will leave, the second stage is where the evidences come into play, at that time, we have only 30, and those 30, we are going to invite them to a retreat. Even though they are not going to win the award, they deserve to be given a special treatment. So we are going to put them through some trainings and we are going to select 13 of the various categories.
“We are looking at having this completed by the end of February. The application will roll out from Monday and will close by January 25. We will do the first selection and get in touch with the people.
“We hope this intervention will motivate our teachers and others to start respecting this noble cling as a profession to be proud of and supported.”
In her remarks, the Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Folashade Adefisoye said her ministry decided to make it a private sector driven initiative so as to make the process rigorous, transparent and fair.
She described the teaching profession as sacrificial, saying that it is not for anybody who couldn’t find a job, adding that the state will continue to sustain the initiative.
“We must respect teachers at every level as it takes a lot of dexterity and passion to teach children. It is the greatest profession anyone can do, we must celebrate them.”
The Director of Vivian Fowler Memorial College for Girls, Lagos, Mrs. Funke Fowler-Amber encouraged everyone to celebrate teachers.