Millicent Cassianes, a Kenyan teacher at BL Tezza Complex Primary School has been nominated for the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2023.
Millicent was shortlisted from over 7,000 nominations and applications from more than 130 countries, who were hoping to clinch the $1 million USD prize.
The Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize is organized in partnership with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and Dubai Cares, a worldwide philanthropic organization based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
According to the Varkey Foundation website, “The Global Teacher Prize serves to underline the importance of educators and the fact that, throughout the world, their efforts deserve to be recognised and celebrated.”
“It seeks to acknowledge the impact of the very best teachers – not only on their students but on the communities around them,” reads the website.
Millicent has worked with children with special needs since she was employed by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC).
She decided to get hospital training on how to care for students with special needs, after encountering some with severe hearing loss and infections at an orphanage.
Millicent then registered for classes in Kenyan Sign Language after which she started the BL Tezza Special School for the Deaf.
Her efforts to grow the school saw her secure donations from various organizations including the National Fund for the Disabled of Kenya, in addition to taking out a bank loan to facilitate the construction of the school.
The school currently hosts over 120 hearing-impaired children, incorporating lessons under the competency-based curriculum.
The Global Teacher Prize, currently in its eighth year, is the largest of its kind and is open to educators in compulsory school who teach children between ages five and eighteen.
Online course instructors and part-time teachers are also eligible to apply.
Peter Tabichi, also a Kenyan teacher, won the Global Teacher Prize in 2019.