- The awards recognises educators who have created innovative approaches to driving excellence.
- Bett MEA Women in EdTech Award is presented to the outstanding female individual that does trailblazing work.
Two Kenyan teachers have been named as the winners in the Bett MEA Awards 2020.
A Mombasa teacher, Dickson Karanja emerged top in the innovation in teaching and learning category while Radhika Lee from Nairobi International school won the Women in EdTech award beating Danielle Platten from UK and Linda Parsons from Deira International School UAE.
Bett MEA Innovation in Teaching and Learning Award is for educators who have created innovative approaches to driving excellence through innovation in education within the classroom.
The Bett MEA Women in EdTech Award is presented to the outstanding female individual that does trailblazing work in the field of Education Technology to enhance learning outcomes for students and staff.
Mr Karanja from Sacred Heart High School battled the award with Global Indian International School, Abu Dhabi and Shirin Farzana from Winchester school in UAE.
At the school, the teachers broke into prayers, songs and dance praising God for the win.
The school’s deputy principal, Ms Catherine Matuku led the teachers in congratulating the humble teacher for the win and flying the institution’s flag high.
“I am so happy; I cannot hide it I have been dancing ever since we got the news. We are currently doing exams but we will definitely plan a proper celebration for today we were thanking God and Mr Karanja for the win. We have to do something for the teacher, he has made us proud. He is passionate about ICT and he does it so diligently,” said Ms Matuku.
“This win means teachers from public schools can go a long way in achieving success. Mr Karanja can do anything for ICT, during holidays he goes out of his way to ensure his students undertake ICT lessons,” she added.
An emotional Mr Karanja was lost for words for an hour before granting us an interview.
“First and foremost I want to thank God because it is all about Him. It has been a long journey and I cannot hide it, I am so excited. It is humbling moment in my career and little did I know God will take me this far,” he said.
Mr Karanja said he never expected the win because he was competing against giant international schools globally.
Surely no man is limited. My family is so excited, they are sending me congratulatory messages, they have been praying day and night. I cannot wait to break the news to my son, Elvis Karanja 13, who has also been helping me with ICT lessons,” he said.
“I am grateful to my parents, they saw something good in me and pushed me even when I refused to do teaching, they begged me to do it for their save. I have done it for them by honouring their counsel,” he added.
Bett MEA event director, Victoria James congratulated Mr Karanja for his achievement and revolutionising education sector.
He will get a trophy and certificate among other goodies when he travels to Dubai in 2021 for the awards ceremony.
“The awards were set to be held year but were hampered by the coronavirus pandemic. I will travel next year to Dubai for the ceremony,” he said, adding that he has never participated in the local teacher awards.
In 1994, Mr Karanja joined Egerton University after he was begged and persuaded by his parents. His parents were overjoyed being their first child to go to the university.
Mr Karanja wanted to join military or do any course in computer but his B- (minus) grade got him a Bachelor of Education Arts majoring Geography and Economics course at the university.
Coming from a family of teachers including his parents and three elder siblings, Mr Karanja wanted something different.
“I tried changing my course but it was impossible. My parents insisted that I should do the course I was selected for, they were so happy but I was very sad,” said Mr Karanja during an interview with Nation.
He graduated in 1998 and started teaching at Aberdare technical girl’s secondary school in Nyandarua, he later went to Skylink school in Nyahururu, Busara forest view academy then Mustard Seed schools in Nakuru.
He got his first posting in 2006 to St Theresa girl’s secondary school in Kilifi where he taught Geography and Business Studies.
In 2008 he was transferred to Sacred Heart High school in Mombasa where he is teaching geography and Business studies. He introduced ICT lessons to motivate his students.
“When I came here, I was discouraged and worried because of the poor performance. I had to improvise and spice up my teaching to ensure my students participate in class and learn. I went to YouTube and looked innovating ways to teach and motivate students but I tumbled on the use of technology,” he said.
In 2015, he bought a laptop to improvise his teaching through the unused school projectors. He started making power point slides and showing them video on different topics such as earthquakes and floods.