Nairobi: A Kenyan Muslim teacher is among 10 finalists nominated for this year’s U.S. Global Teacher Prize, Anadolu Agency (AA) reported.
Ayub Mohammed stands a chance of walking away with 100 million Kenyan shillings ($1 million) for educating youths against violent extremism and radicalization.
The Islamic studies teacher from Eastleigh High School in Nairobi was selected from among 8,000 applicants from 148 countries.
Nairobi’s Eastleigh suburb has been labeled by authorities in Kenya as the main recruiting ground of youth
into the al-Shabaab militia group.
Eastleigh is predominantly inhabited by Somali immigrants; in 2014 more than 4,000 youths were arrested in one week during an anti-terror swoop.
“I hail from Wajir in Northern Kenya, one of the most underdeveloped places in Kenya, so I decided to teach to become a role model to my community,” Ayub told AA reporter who traveled into the heart of Eastleigh Suburb, dubbed "Little Mogadishu" by locals, to meet him.
“Violent extremism and radicalization is a very big problem here in Kenya; the youth are easily coerced into joining militant groups,” Ayub said.
"As a teacher I realized that I should be part of the solution but this time in the school where I try to use the classroom as a safe space, I have been trying to engage these students … bringing about a mindset change," Ayub said, adding that he teaches these students about the ideologies and propaganda used by the violent extremist groups.
The Global Teacher Prize is a US $1 million award presented annually to an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to their profession. It seeks to acknowledge the impacts of the very best teachers – not only on their students but on the communities around them.