Kenyan teacher selected as world’s best has Galway connection

Br Peter Mokaya Tabichi, who received $1m prize, linked to Galway Franciscan Brothers

A Franciscan Brother, whose motherhouse is at Mountbellew in Co Galway, has won the 2019 Global Teacher of the Year Award.

Br Peter Mokaya Tabichi (36), a maths and physics teacher at Keriko Secondary School in Pwani village in his native Kenya, has been presented with a $1 million prize.

The Varkey Foundation awards ceremony was hosted in Abu Dhabi last week by Australian actor Hugh Jackman and attended by Dubai's Crown Prince Hamdan bin Mohammed Al-Maktoum, who presented Br Tabichi his prize.

Franciscan Brothers went to Kenya from Mountbellew in 1976 where they work mainly in education, particularly in the areas of agriculture and rural development. Br Tabichi as been a member of the community there for 10 years.


His mother died when he was just 11 and Br Tabichi was raised, along with his six siblings, but his father, a teacher.


Br Tony Dolan, minister general of the Franciscan Brothers, said winning the award was "a great achievement and a wonderful honour" for Br Tabichi, his family, his school community and the two schools he taught in previously.

"That a teacher from an under resourced government secondary school in a poor rural area of Africa can be recognised as the best teacher in the world gives hope to all who have the vision for a fair world in which each person has the opportunity to live a life of dignity," he said.

Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta thanked Br Tabichi for his efforts and said the win had “brought honour and pride to the people of Kenya” and “will raise the profile of the teaching profession”.

Br Tabichi received a rapturous welcome from his pupils at Keriko School and the wider Nakuru County community on his return home.

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is a contributor to The Irish Times