• Wednesday, February 28, 2024
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BusinessDay

Nine years of sustained reward for Nigerian teachers

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For those in the teaching profession, the sarcasm that ‘teachers rewards are in heaven’ no longer bears relevance, as millions of cash and other prizes roll in every year. Writes Bassey Bassey

The Maltina Teacher of the Year Competition 2023 has come and gone but its echoes keep reverberating in the Nigerian educational circle.

Indeed, it was a night of stars at the Jewel Aedia, Lekki, Lagos, where the grand finale held on October 20, 2023. The award, in its 9th year, has transformed the lives of many teachers, bringing them from obscurity to stardom.
An initiative of the Nigerian Breweries-Felix Ohiwerei Education Trust Fund, the Maltina Teacher of the Year Competition recognises, celebrates, and rewards extraordinary teachers who have made significant contributions towards molding Nigerian children and youth.
As the popularity of the competition among teachers made headlines this year, recording its highest number of entries ever, a record-breaking 1,499 entries nationwide, the story gets more interesting with an impressive 1,203 valid entries for grading.
At the end of the rigorous evaluation by the esteemed panel of judges, the top 10 finalists emerged, and on the night of October 20, 2023, the Maltina Teacher of the Year was unveiled to roaring applause.
Adeola Adedunke Adefemi of Keke Senior High School, Agege, Lagos was crowned winner, and like previous shining lights of the award, she will receive a total cash prize of N6.5 million (N1.5million immediately and N1 million annually for the next five years) from the Nigerian Breweries – Felix Ohiwerei Trust Fund.
But it is not only Adefemi that is having cause to smile; her school, Keke Senior High School, Agege, is in jubilation, as the sponsors of the programme, is to build either a fully equipped computer laboratory or a six-classroom block worth N20 million for the school.
The roll-call of winners continued with Azuh Chike, a teacher with Ezemu Girls Grammar School, Delta State as the first runner-up, with a total cash prize of N1.5 million. Adam Abdulqadir Ndi of Model Science College, Niger State, the second runner-up went home with a N1.25 million cash prize while the remaining 27 teachers who emerged as State Champions were rewarded with the sum of N500, 000.00 each.

The event which played host to past winners, the top 10 finalists, management and staff of Nigerian Breweries Plc, as well as dignitaries and gentlemen of the press was filled with fun and enlightenment.
Among the dignitaries present was Yusuf Sununu, the minister of State for Education who, in his goodwill message, commended the efforts of Nigeria Breweries plc-Felix Ohiwerei Education Trust Fund, to celebrate outstanding teachers across Nigeria. He cited the growing national efforts to bring back the glory days of teachers in the country.
“Education is our collective responsibility, and its failure can be taken as the failure of the entire country. It is based on this that the Federal Ministry of Education recognises and commends the efforts of Nigeria Breweries plc-Felix Ohiwerei Education Trust Fund to celebrate outstanding teachers,” Sununu said.
Jamiu Alli-Balogun, Lagos State commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, who represented the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, also lauded Nigerian Breweries plc for the significant contributions towards making the teaching profession an enviable one stating that the state government appreciates the significance of such competition in improving the quality of teaching and students’ performance.
Sade Morgan, the corporate affairs director, Nigerian Breweries plc, commended stakeholders for their support, particularly the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), which gave the company access to its database of verified teachers.
In the euphoria of the moment, the winner of the coveted prize, Adeola who was delighted to be among the illustrious list of past winners, was filled with gratitude to Nigerian Breweries plc for shining the light of recognition on the teaching profession and rewarding teachers through the initiative.
Since its inception nine years ago, the Maltina Teacher of the Year Competition has
recognised a total of 211 State Champions, and eight National Champions and equipped eight schools with educational facilities such as blocks of classrooms, an auditorium, and computers.
All eyes are on 2024, when the competition will be ten years. Just as the government at the state and federal levels are working towards improving the lives of teachers, it will
be a thing of delight if such initiatives can spring from other sources too. This will make
teachers more respectable and dignified in society, boost interest in the profession, and no longer will we hear that statement of resignation: ‘Teachers’ rewards are in heaven.’