By Emeka Aginam, in Cape Town, South Africa
While Nigerian participant did not make it to the semi-finals, no fewer than five African countries, including Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Mauritius and Lesotho are vying with other participants from around the world to win the 2010 Microsoft Partners in Learning Innovative Education Awards later today in Cape Town, South Africa.
Meanwhile, other countries outside African continent that have also qualified for the semi-final include Northern Ireland, Pakistan, Sweden, among others.
With this development, 12 finalists will now be selected from the twenty five semi-finalists to win one of the 12 worldwide innovative education award, a centerpiece of Microsoft’s global US$500 million Partners in Learning programme, which helps teachers and school leaders to use technology as a tool for innovative teaching and learning in the 21st century knowledge economy.
As the judges went round the exhibition hall this morning for further evaluation of projects before the final results will be announced, there appears to be expectations and anxiety among the twenty five finalists given the fact that only 12 will make the finals.
Even with the heightened anxiety, some of the semi-finalists who spoke to Vanguard CyberLIFE shortly after the result was announced were confident that they will make the finalists list.
“Africa has come a long way. Iam flying African flag here. Ima happy to be among the semi-finals.
I will not fail Ghana. I will not West Africa. I will not fail Africa. Iam sure to be among the finalists that will win the prestigious worldwide innovative education awards initiated by Microsoft years back” Samuel Avornyo, of Maabang Senior High School, Ghana who was among the semi-finalists told CyberLIFE in a chat.
According to him, Africa has creative minds to compete for any award in the 21st century knowledge society, adding that Africa can more be consumers of technology but among the countries of the world that produce what could be exported to foreign markets.
For David Muya of Kisumo Girls High School, Western Kenya region who also scaled the huddle for the semi-finalists, Microsoft has done a good thing by introducing the competition which according to him will change the shape of things to come in learning.
“Iam glad to make it to in semi-finalists. It is not easy. It is an engaging work. I almost gave up at the initial stage but was encourage that nothing good comes so easy. I hope to make it in the finals” he said.
Flying the flag for the Northern Ireland, an excited Barry Corrigan, a teacher in the Millennium Integrated Primary School Northern Ireland who also scaled the huddle for the semi-final said that it was not an easy task coming a long. “It was a long journey to success.
Iam happy to have made it to this stage. The judges visisted my stand again where so many questions were asked. Iam waiting for the final result. Iam sure to make it. I deserve it having worked round the clock” he added.
Before now, about one hundred and twenty five countries from seventy countries around the had competed to win one of 12 Microsoft Partners in Learning Innovative Education Award.
It would be recalled that teachers from one hundred and fourteen countries around the world including Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Pakistan Brazil, Singapore, Australia, Eastern and Western Europe, the US among others participated in the competition .
The award was designed to celebrate their best practices in the classroom and having been previously chosen as winners at the country and local level, school leaders who participated represent some of the most innovative primary and secondary schools in the world.
They participated in the professional development to enhance their leadership skill as they embark on journey of transformation.
Celebrating innovation that leads to educational transformation and helps improve 21st century objectives, driving collaboration among educators to promote innovative programs, promoting best practice in education, creating innovative education leaders, connecting educators with one another to network and develop relationships., celebrating the creativity and innovation in education and establishing a strong worldwide community of innovations are the major goals of the capacity building program.