From fruitless strikes, to indisciplined students, to stubborn parents, to slow learners, teachers have experienced it all. But through those struggles and challenges, they have still managed to produce the best students in this country, the most innovative minds, the most futuristic leaders and most of all the most productive citizens this country has ever had. It’s therefore in order that they get the appreciation that they deserve.

The Golden Chalk Program, is a concept developed by a retired teacher, Mrs Hannie Biwott who felt the need to appreciate, empower and provide an opportunity for serving teachers. Mrs. Hannie Biwott taught in several schools within her long and productive career including: Embu Girls Secondary School, NkubuBoys High School, Dagoretti Boys High School, Huruma Girls Secondary and Loreto Convent Valley Road.The program seeks to facilitate a private 10-day adventurous pilgrimage to Israel’s historic, cultural and important Biblical religious sites, schools and its entrepreneurial ventures for 20 deserving teachers. The program will organize two annual trips to Israel in April and August, each having 10 teachers from the various schools that will have been chosen for the program.

Mr. Tonny Kirui, Mathematics and Chemistry Teacher, Agha Khan High School

The aim of the program is to appreciate hardworking teachers and motivate others to also follow in their colleagues’ footsteps. Apart from that, the teachers will also get a lot of exposure and an opportunity to learn from Israel’s cultures and education system. The pilot schools that were chosen by Mrs Biwott after much deliberation were Starehe Girls High School, Agha Khan High School, Nairobi Primary School,Gundua High School, Isiolo Girls High School, Nzauni High School, Mary Hill, St Patrick’s Iten, Biwott Secondary School

Students from each school were given the opportunity to choose their best teacher in the whole school through a democratic secret ballot box voting process. The teachers weren’t made aware of the process until the day of the voting to avoid any possible campaigns or altering of the process.

In Agha Khan High School, Mr Tonny Mcdonald Kirui, a prolific Chemistry and Mathematics teacher emerged victorious after a tough electoral process. Mr Kirui will be joining his colleagues from the other 9 schools for a fully paid trip to Israel. “I am very happy to be part of the pilot phase of this very promising program. It gives me much pleasure to know that I was chosen by my students in the belief that I will represent them perfectly well. Therefore I have to take advantage of the opportunity and explore the various innovative ideas that I will interact with during the trip so that I can impact my students positively when I come back. I would also like to get ideas that will inspire my science students to come up with more creative and innovative projects next year during the National Science Congress,”states Mr Kirui.

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Mr Kirui is just on of the many teachers who are set to benefit from this privately funded program. The program has so far partnered with Ministry of Education and Royal Media Services as they look to expand the program and cover more schools. Hopefully every school will get the opportunity to participate in this ambitious concept.