By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A teacher from Special Education Centre for Exceptional Children, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Mr Imoh Essien, has emerged the 2016 Maltina Teacher of the Year.
Mr Essien was named winner of the annual competition at the grand finale held in Lagos on Thursday.
For the feat, Mr Essien was rewarded with N1 million in addition to N500,000 he received as state champion from Akwa Ibom.
He will also get N1 million every year for five years, a training programme abroad and a block of six classrooms built at his school.
Mr Essien teaches Computer, Basic Sciences and Physical Education at his school.
The elated teacher said he draws his inspiration for teaching from his fun loving personality through which he is able to help children with special needs.
According to him, a strong emotional and mental stability is vital to positively impact children with special needs, a job he has done for 12 years.
However, an English teacher from Borno State, Mr Mohammed Binta Lawan, who was the first runner-up last year, retained his position this year, while Ogwu Patrick from Government Day Secondary School, Adankolo, Lokoja, Kogi State emerged second runner-up.
While welcoming guests at the event, the Managing Director, Nigerian Breweries Plc., Mr Nicolaas Vervelde, explained that Nigerian Breweries operates with a philosophy of “Winning with Nigeria” and has championed causes that add value to the society since its inception in 1946.
“In 1994, we raised the profile of our support of the education sector when we established the Nigerian Breweries-Felix Ohiwerei Education Trust Fund to enable us contribute to the development of the sector. Everywhere in the world, teachers play a vital role in sustainable national development by training, coaching and modeling which is critical to determining the quality of education.
He informed that the company recently handed over a twin 3-bedroom staff residence to Federal Government Girls College, Onitsha, in honour of last year’s winner, Mrs Roseline Obi.
He thanked the stakeholders in the education sector for their support especially the Federal Ministry of Education, the ministries of education in all the states across the country, the Nigerian Union of Teachers, the All Nigeria Conference of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPSS), the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria amongst several others.
Professor Anthony Anwukah, the Minister of State for Education commended the initiative and described it as laudable. He advised teachers to invest in themselves to raise their standard, adding that the ministry looks forward to signing the Memorandum of Understanding with Nigerian Breweries on the Maltina Teacher of the Year initiative.
Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr Oluranti Adebule, who was represented by Mrs Ajoke Gbeleyi, Director of Private and Special Education, Lagos State Ministry of Education, described teachers as the most critical asset of the nation and thanked Nigerian Breweries for the initiative she described as a big boost to teachers and the teaching profession.
Pat Utomi, chairman of the Jury revealed that the job of selecting the winners was challenging but enormously important because of the role teachers play in moulding children.
The Maltina Teacher of the Year, established to recognize, reward and celebrate exceptional teachers in Nigeria, is an initiative on the platform of the Nigerian Breweries – Felix Ohiwerei Education Trust Fund. Teachers and other stakeholders in the education sector have praised Nigerian Breweries for the initiative.
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