Omikunle, Martin named top 10 finalists for inaugural Africa Education Medal
For their outstanding contributions, impact, leadership and advocacy in the field of African education, two outstanding individuals, Folawe Omikunle, Chief Executive Officer of Teach For Nigeria (TFN) and Jide Martin, Founder and CEO of Comic Republic, Africa’s largest publisher of independent comic books and the continent’s first digital comic book company, have been named as top 10 finalists for the new Africa Education Medal, launched this year by T4 Education in collaboration with HP and Intel.
Omikunle and Martin joined eight other outstanding individuals from across Africa, including former President of Tanzania and Chair of the Board of Directors of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), Jakaya Kikwete.
The Africa Education Medal was founded to recognise those who are transforming education across the continent and celebrate the stories of those who have lit the spark of change, so others will be inspired to take up the torch.
Managing Director at HP Africa, Brad Pulford, congratulated the duo for being named among the finalists. Pulford expressed hope that with the recognition, others would be inspired to follow their outstanding examples as leaders in the field.
He said: “HP is committed to enabling better learning outcomes for 100 million people by 2025. Achieving this bold goal would not be possible without empowered education leaders and trailblazers who are at the forefront of the rapidly changing education environment. Quality education empowers not just individuals, but entire communities. It would skill the next generation to fulfil their full potential in a world being transformed by technology.”
Apart from Kikwete, other 10 finalists include, Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng, Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Town, South Africa; Basuti Bolo, Founder and CEO of GoToSpace, in Botswana; Cyrille Nkontchou, founder and Chairman of Enko Education, in Ivory Coast, Felix Malombe, Executive Director of STEAM Labs Africa, in Kenya; John Mugo, Executive Director of Zizi Afrique Foundation, in Kenya; Musu Bakoto Sawo, National Coordinator of Think Young Women, in The Gambia; and Noella Coursaris Musunka, Founder and CEO of the Georges Malaika Foundation, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Nominations for the award opened in April 2022 for individuals working to improve pre-kindergarten, K-12, vocational and university education, who are either educators, school administrators, civil society leaders, public servants, government officials, political leaders, technologists, or innovators.
The winner of the Africa Education Medal will be announced in September. Finalists will be assessed by a Jury comprising prominent individuals based on rigorous criteria.
Omikunle’s TFN works to tackle educational inequities by recruiting university graduates and working professionals from diverse backgrounds to serve as full-time teacher leaders in Nigeria’s most underserved schools.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, she launched the design and development of a remote learning programme that engaged parents, teachers and government officials. This programme supported learning among children in underserved communities, an initiative that led to the launch of the Teach For Nigeria Radio School.
This effectively assisted in bridging the educational gap for children with limited access to technology and impacted millions of kids across Nigeria. This initiative went on further to be replicated by other countries in Africa and beyond.
Martin is an illustrator and entrepreneur with a passion for shaping Africa’s narrative through art and he utilises the power of comics to tell compelling African stories.