- The 35-year-old teacher was among three in Africa who were honoured by the AU at a ceremony in Addis Ababa on Wednesday.
- He attributed his success to innovative methods of teaching chemistry at Asumbi Girls' High School where he has worked for 10 years.
- Principal Sati described Mr Ademba as in icon who has made the school excel in chemistry at national level.
Kenyan Erick Ademba, who received the first African Union Continental Teacher Prize for exemplary performance, returned from Ethiopia on on Saturday morning to a grand welcome in Homa Bay County.
Mr Ademba was received at Kabunde Airstrip at about 8am by students and his colleagues at Asumbi Girls' High School, where he teaches mathematics and chemistry.
School principal Linet Sati and the students and teachers had been waiting for him from around 7am.
They sang his praises, blew trumpets and jostled for the opportunity to greet and hug him as soon as he arrived with his wife Dorothy Achieng.
A convoy then snaked its way from the airstrip to St Paul's Catholic Church in Homa Bay town, where teachers students, parents and others held a prayer service.
The 35-year-old teacher was among three in Africa who were honoured by the AU at a ceremony in Addis Ababa on Wednesday. He received a certificate and $10,000 (Sh1 million)
He attributed his success to innovative methods of teaching chemistry at the school where he has worked for 10 years.
“Chemistry is perceived by many students as a hard subject but I invented teaching methods which made my students understand the subject easily,” he told journalists.
At the school where he is a senior master (head of the science department), he is known for his slogan 'Inua Chem' (Lift chemistry up).
The institution nominated him for the Teacher of the Year award in 2018. He represented the region at the national level and emerged second best.
Mr Ademba, who hails from Sori village in Nyatike constituency, Migori County, said he will continue researching better teaching methods.
He said the award motivated him to carry on with that career path.
“I am humbled by this award. It has given me the morale to carry on with my job of imparting knowledge on students,” he said.
Grace Amira, the Teachers Service Commission Director of Education for Homa Bay who accompanied the teacher from Nairobi, described him a role model.
“Teaching requires research and innovation. A 21st century teacher is expected to be friendly in order to be understood by students,” Ms Amira said.
“Ademba’s success is an indication that any teacher can shine. It's just a matter of being creative."
Principal Sati described Mr Ademba as in icon who has made the school excel in chemistry at national level.
Ms Sati further said the teacher is hardworking, committed, concerned about his students' academic welfare and goes the extra mile without demanding more money.
The principal further said the teacher motivated girls at the school to love sciences.
“When I reported to this school three years ago, I found him to be different. His style of working and lesson-planning was remarkable. He would always discourage perception that chemistry is difficult,” she said.
“He once came to me saying he was sick with back pains because he had for long in front of the computer preparing lessons for his students. He would even be within the institution during holidays to prepare lessons."
Deputy Principal Sister Caroline Onyango said Mr Ademba also inspired his colleagues.
Catholic priest Fr Philip Olage, the education secretary at the Homa Bay Diocese, said the teacher’s success promoted the name of the Catholic Church, which sponsors Asumbi Girls'.
The school in Rangwe, Homa Bay, has been a top performer in sciences in national examinations.
In 2014 and 2017, it was among the top in chemistry with mean scores of 11.32 and 9.62 respectively.