Inoyo Toro Foundation Excites Akwa Ibom Teachers

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InoyoToro Foundation Excites Akwa Ibom Teachers

…Lavishes 5.5 Million on Teachers Appreciation

Priscilla Christopher

The 5th day of November, 2021 will remain indelible in the minds of teachers in Akwa Ibom State Public Secondary Schools who received the award for teaching excellence by the Inoyo Toro Foundation (ITF).

The annual event which is put together to appreciate the painstaking efforts of teachers in State Public Secondary Schools was this year staged at the Ibom E-Library complex with much pomp and fanfare.

At the event, Mrs. Eno Etukudo Ese of St. Francis Secondary School, Ikot Ataku in Eket Local Government Area, emerged the Principal of the Year, while Mrs. Ekemini Emmanuel Isok (Secondary School, Etoi), Mr. Ephraim Jacob Inyangudo (Comprehensive Secondary School, Ediene, Abak), Mr. Ekere Robert Mkpa (Etinan Community Comprehensive Secondary School, Etinan), Mr. Uduak Timothy Akpan (Community Secondary School, Iko Town, Eastern Obolo) and Dick Collins Efre (Okoromita Comprehensive Secondary School, Okorette, Eastern Obolo) got the Grand Mentor Teachers’ Award for Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and English Language, respectively. They got the sum of Five Hundred Thousand Naira (N500, 000) each.

Mr. Kusua Senam Ukut of Community Secondary School, Odoro Atan in Ikot Abasi Local Government Area emerged the first place winner of the English Language Teacher Award, as well as Ekpedeme Cyril Akpan (Community Secondary School, Afaha Obo, Ukanafun), Akpan Basil Inyang (Edu Secondary School, Ikot Edeghe, Mkpat Enin) and Ekaette Rebecca Akpan (Etinan Institute, Etinan) in Mathematics, Physics and Economics, respectively. They went home with the sum of Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira (N250, 000) each.

Pouring out her heart, the winner Principal, Mrs. Eno Ese applauded the Foundation for recognizing and rewarding the efforts of Teachers in the State. A first time awardee, she confessed not knowing she was going to emerge the winner, given the rigorous selection process.  

“It’s a memorable day for me. I’m motivated, fulfilled and happy. The Foundation has encouraged teachers with something they would never forget. In those days, they used to say that a teacher’s reward is in heaven but, we have started receiving ours here on earth, courtesy of the Foundation. I was not expecting the award even though I went through the screening. The exercise was very vigorous, detailed and very strict. After the inspection, we were subjected to an examination which was followed by an oral interview. I thank them for impacting the educational system this much and pray God to bless them in abundance”, she said.

While congratulating other awardees on their feat, Mrs. Ese urged them to continue in their zeal for the profession, and encouraged other Teachers who could not make it among the best, to try again next year.

Also expressing gratitude to the Inoyo Toro Foundation, a visibly elated Mrs. Ekemini Emmanuel Isok, one of the Grand Mentor awardees, had kind words for the Foundation. She noted that the Foundation’s mentorship programme targeted at students would inspire and spur the adolescents to become selfless leaders who will be encouraged to give back to the society in the future.

“In the long run, the students produced from the mentorship programme will become selfless people in the future, because when they remember that somebody mentored them and sowed into their lives, they too will want to mentor others”, she stated.

Speaking on her emergence as a Grand Mentor in Biology, Mrs. Isok whose mentees also won the 2nd and 3rd position in Biology told newsmen that her efforts had paid off. “I am very happy. I feel fulfilled that all I have been putting into my work has been rewarded so, the motivation is high. It’s quite inspiring because it makes me want to do more”, she maintained.

As a way of furthering the objectives of the Inoyo Toro Foundation, Mrs. Isok promised to give back to her profession what has been given to her.  “I am going to put back a percentage of this to support my people. Even with my little resources I could do something, now having this, I can put back a percentage of that into my work as a teacher. I could give scholarship to some of my students who are about writing their JAMB and do not have enough money. I could pay for one or two of them and also get instructional materials for the school which I deem necessary”, she promised.

On his part, Mr. Kusua Senam Ukut, the 1st position awardee in English Language, gave kudos to the Foundation for what he described as “a transparent selection process”. He recalled that the entire selection process was transparent, beginning from the micro teaching evaluation to written examinations and oral interview from “experts” from the Department of English in the University of Uyo, adding that he felt fulfilled not only as a subject teacher, but for his mettle to have been tested, proven and approved by scholars.

“I never thought I could emerge but by the grace of God, I emerged. It has been a wonderful experience and I see this as a spur to do more”, he maintained.  

Earlier, a board member of the ITF, Mrs. Lebari Ukpong, had informed newsmen that the Foundation was set up 14 years ago to eradicate poverty in Akwa Ibom State through education, using teachers’ appreciation as the vehicle.

She informed that the board consists of educationists, including lecturers and professors, and often takes a rigorous but open process.

“People who are on the board are people of integrity who have been in education, who personally appreciate education and want the best for it. The process starts with the results from public schools. If the result on a particular subject is very good, the teacher is invited to sit for an exam and attend an interview. Based on their score, they are then graded and given the award”, she explained.

“There’s not been any complain on the process of selection so far from any of the teachers. We had to do the test online this year”, she added.

Mrs. Ukpong who dismissed the notion that the Foundation would in no time consider extending its tentacles to Private Secondary Schools in the State, stressed that they were focused on the public sector because that is where the majority is, and because the Foundation wants to support what the State government is doing in the education sector.

Speaking on the students mentorship programme, the Foundation board member hinted that the motive for it was to allow students draw from the wealth of experience of successful people in the society.

“When we give award to teachers, we have sponsors who will identify a school to invite for the award ceremony. They also mentor the students so, the students get mentorship out of this. They are able to see and learn from somebody who has been through their kind of challenges and was able to focus and achieve what they want through education”.

“It is supposed to open their minds to possibilities and opportunities; to help them focus on their academies abilities and we have been seeing results from that. A number of the students who are very good, have been privately sponsored through school by some of these mentors”, she hinted.

Mrs. Labarie Ukpong also thanked the award sponsors including: Savannah Energy PLC, Anchor Insurance, Hensek Integrated Services, Boda Services, Bassey Ukpong Udo Foundation, Mr. Aniekan Ukpanah and others, for supporting the Foundation’s dream of rewarding diligence and hard work among the teachers.

In his address, the Chairman, Award Screening Committee of the ITF, Dr. Enobong Joshua, averred that the Foundation believes that teacher motivation and appreciation are critical in addressing the apathy exhibited in the teacher’s work experience and will subsequently enhance performance and service delivery in the State public schools.

He urged drew the attention of teachers to the fact that children would excel to whatever height in their academics if given proper mentorship by their teachers, while advising them to create curiosity in the minds of their students as they teach.  

Themed “Recapturing Societal Values”, 2021 edition of the ITF Annual Awards for teaching excellence featured a brief remark by Dr. Emmanuel Abraham, Proprietor of Top Faith University who was the Guest Speaker and an address by Mr. Tony Okpanachi, Managing Director/CEO, Development Bank of Nigeria, the Special Guest of Honour.

In attendance were the Regional Manager, South East, Savannah Energy, Mrs. Nkoyo Etuk; Managing Director, HENSEK, Mr. Uwem Okoko; Advisor of the Board of Trustees, ITF, Mr. Udom Inoyo; Vice Chancellor, University of Uyo, Prof. Nyaudo Ndaeyo; Vice Chancellor, Akwa Ibom State University, Prof. Nse Essien; the State Commissioner for Environment and Mineral Resources, Hon. Charles Udoh; State Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, Comrade Edet Okon Abang; the State Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Idongesit Etiebet and others.

A total number of 21 teachers and a Principal were awarded by the Foundation.