In March 2020, Isma’il Yunus, Idris Abdulganiy Yinka and Mustapha Malik decided that they would come together and create a platform for the celebration of teachers.
All based in Kwara, North Central Nigeria, the trio felt the teaching profession was unappreciated in Nigeria, and to change that, they felt the need to light the small corner of their state.
For them, the was meant to make teachers feel seen and to accord them the respect and appreciation that they deserve. To push the idea, the trio formed the ‘Teacher Care Initiative,’ a non-profit, to recognise and reward the efforts of primary and secondary school teachers in Kwara State.
So yearly, the initiative will first write a letter to either the Kwara State Ministry of Education or the Local Government Education Authority.
“A copy of the letter will also be forwarded to the principals of schools whose teachers are to be awarded. We do that just a week ahead of the event to seek the schools’ permission, and immediately after our letter is accepted, we will get to work,” said Yinka, the Media and Publicity officer of the initiative.
The initiative then sends an evaluation form to the schools of the nominated teachers, which is expected to be filled by students, staff, and the management of the school.
“This evaluation form comprises a lot of questions like rating the teachers with qualities like communication skills, teaching method, time management, punctuality, writing skill, neatness, and discipline,” Yinka explained.
The form will be filled out by five or ten students from various classes in the schools where names of the teachers to be awarded will be included, and the students are expected to fill in the span of 30 to 40 minutes.
After the students have submitted the forms. Other evaluation forms will be passed to the school management to carry out their assessment individually.
“After going through all these processes, we bring in experts who will grade the submitted forms before we announce the final winner. We also ensure that the process is transparent,” Yinka told Prime Progress.
Rewarding hard work and excellence
In June 2022, Abdullahi Saka Palahere, a teacher at the Government Day Junior Secondary School Adeta Ilorin emerged as the winner.
Palahere was given a standing fan in recognition of his dedication as a teacher and he didn’t take the award for granted.
“I was happy to be recognised and that day all my fellow teachers in our school rejoiced with me. It was a beautiful moment,” Palahere said.
Also, in December 2022, Mr Olarewaju Muritala emerged as the best among the ten teachers who were evaluated.
Mr Olarewaju Muritala is a Mathematics teacher at Ansarul Islam Secondary School Ogidi, Ilorin, and he was happy to be recognised by the initiative.
“I felt excited to be given a washing machine in recognition of my work,” Muritala admitted.
The washing machine was donated by Mallam Ahmad Bolaji Sholagberu.
Through the years, the activities of the initiative have helped in encouraging teachers in Kwara State to be committed and excellent in carrying out their responsibilities.
Yinka shared that inadequate funds are still limiting the initiative from doing more for teachers in Kwara State.
“Another challenge we are facing includes lack of understanding from the management of some schools because some principals don’t even allow us to be in their schools,” Yinka confessed.
Despite the limitations, the initiative is putting efforts into ensuring that the teaching profession is given more recognition and value, similar to other professions in Nigeria.
“We hope to continue awarding exceptional teachers from local to the national level with huge monetary gifts and other valuable gifts. To achieve that, we are building sustainable partnerships with the SUBEB, TESCOM, and other non-profit organisations and foundations in the state,” Yinka concluded.