The panel of judges of the Maltina-Teacher-of-the-Year initiative is set to announce winners from the 33 states (including Federal Capital Territory, Abuja) that are jostling for the coveted education prize.
According to Mrs. Emete Tonukari, CSR/Sustainability Manager, Nigerian Breweries PLC, the panel of judges which includes eminent Nigerian professionals, academicians and careerists will make public the list of 33 winners from the state level of the competition anytime from now.
It will be recalled that the Nigerian Breweries-Felix Ohiwerei Education Trust Fund announced the Panel of Judges for the on-going Maltina Teacher-of-the-Year initiative listing eminent Nigerian academics and professionals in the panel. Members of the panel, which is chaired by Prof. Pat Utomi, Founder/CEO, Centre for Values in Leadership; also includes: Mrs. Mopelola O. Omoegun, Professor of Education, University of Lagos, Prof. Thomas I. Ofuya – Vice Chancellor, Wellspring University and Member, Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities and Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi, Chairman, Editorial Board, ThisDay Newspapers. Others are: Dr. (Mrs.) Abdulrahman Binta Fatima, National President, All Nigeria Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools; and Professor Tijjani Abubakar, Dean, Faculty of Education, Ahmadu Bello University.
The panel was saddled with the responsibility of judging the entries to select winners at the maiden edition of the initiative.
Welcoming the Panel of Judges to its inaugural meeting, which held at the headquarters of Nigerian Breweries in Iganmu, Lagos, the company’s Corporate Affairs Adviser, Mr. Kufre Ekanem stated that they were selected to serve on the panel based on their pedigree, uprightness, professionalism and dedication to duty. “We are glad you honoured our invitation to serve as a judge on this panel. We requested your support on this initiative because over time, you have each earned a good and respectable place in your chosen professions. So, your input is an added credence to our plan to celebrate Nigerian teachers with the Maltina-Teacher-of-the-Year initiative”, he said.
Ekanem reiterated that the essence of the Maltina-Teacher-of-the- Year initiative is “to identify, showcase, and reward exceptional professionalism in order to encourage our teachers and restore the pride, dignity and respect of the profession. It is also conceived to inspire people in the profession, especially to make teaching aspirational to the wider populace”. He explained that the job of the panel is to score the validated entries received from across the country to determine state and overall winners at the inaugural edition of the initiative.
Corroborating him, the Human Resources Director of NB, Mr. Victor Famuyibo said the initiative is very dear to the company. “This initiative is very dear to our heart because of the important role teachers occupy in rightly moulding young members of society. Teaching should be encouraged to thrive. The pride and dignity of the profession must be restored. It was there before, and we believe we can assist to bring it back. That is why the Maltina-Teacher-of-the-Year initiative is a step in the right direction,” he said.
Famuyibo said he was optimistic that the judges would bring the lofty standards they have attained in their respective professions to bear on the judging process. “We believe that anyone that makes it through this distinguished panel would have eminently qualified to be named the Maltina-Teacher-of- the-Year.”
Responding, Prof. (Mrs.) Mopelola O. Omoegun, who disclosed that she had taught at all levels of education in Nigeria, said “It is encouraging when people talk about celebrating and rewarding exceptional teachers because that is one important way we can enhance our educational system. This project is a step in the right direction,” she enthused.
Also, Mr. Aisuedion Abel Akhere, an Assistant. Director in the Department of Basic & Secondary Education in the Federal Ministry of Education who represented the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, commended Nigerian Breweries-Felix Ohiwerei Education Trust Fund for the initiative adding that “the Ministry is proud of this initiative.”
In his comments, the Chairman of the panel, Professor Utomi explained that “the initiative is immensely laudable and would go a long way in restoring the pride of the teaching profession”.
Nigerian Breweries-Felix Ohiwerei Education Trust Fund recently instituted the Maltina Teacher-of-the-Year Award initiative with prizes worth N50 million annually, to reward commitment and diligence to duty by exceptional teachers across the country. A grand ceremony is scheduled for October 12, 2015 to award prizes to teachers who emerge winners. Ekanem explained that “On October 12 when the prizes will be awarded, the teaching profession will be put on a scale and celebrated in a grand event. Teachers are used to watching other professions celebrated on TV, now is their time to be celebrated,” he declared.