News Analysis

Meanwhile: a Franciscan wins $1 million

Brother Peter Tabichi (Getty)

Franciscans are defined by their poverty and simplicity. So Brother Peter Tabichi has a conundrum on his hands: what to do with a $1 million prize for being the world’s best teacher.

Brother Peter was named last week as winner of the 2019 Global Teacher Prize. At a ceremony in Dubai, the Franciscan, who teaches in rural Kenya, received the award from the actor Hugh Jackman. The judges, who had to choose from 10,000 nominated teachers, were impressed by Brother Peter’s financial generosity: he gives 80 per cent of the salary to buy uniforms and books for pupils at the Keriko Mixed Day Secondary School in Pwani Village, Nakuru.

The region suffers from frequent drought and famine, as well as drug abuse and family breakups.

Judges were also struck by his optimism: he sees scientific education as key, and predicts that “Africa’s young people will no longer be held back by low expectations. Africa will produce scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs whose names will be one day famous in every corner of the world.”

Most news sources downplayed Brother Peter’s faith. But recorded him telling their reporter: “It is unbelievable. I owe it all to God. I am very grateful to the almighty God.’’