By ETIM ETIM
In a year that some of our sportswomen are breaking world records in athletics and making Nigeria proud, a young Akwa Ibom man has achieved a major milestone as the first teacher from the State to participate in the Fulbright Teaching Excellence and Achievement (Fulbright TEA) program in the United States. The Program brings secondary school teachers from across the world for a six-week program in the US. The teachers are hosted by a university where they undergo intensive professional development, in addition to exciting travels across the country.
No Akwa Ibom teacher has ever won this prestigious award until Ephraim Jacob Inyangudo, a physics teacher at Comprehensive Secondary School, Ediene, Abak, travelled to the University of Nevada, California, last January for the six-week program. He returned in March. ‘’My entire orientation about my career and my entire outlook in life have changed’’, he told this writer this week. The program has made enormous impact in my life. My entire teaching career has been turned around, and I am eternally grateful to Inoyo Toro Foundation for recommending me for the program’’, he enthused.
Already, Inyangudo and the Foundation have been receiving commendations from across the state. ‘’Inyangudo is one of our best teachers in Akwa Ibom’’, notes Dr. Enobong Joshua, a mathematics professor at the University of Uyo, who is also the Chairman of the Foundation’s Award Screening Committee. I can only hope that the State government will do a better job of promoting science and maths education in the state’’, he added.
Speaking further on behalf of the Inoyo Toro Foundation, Dr. Joshua congratulated Ephraim Inyangudo ‘’for shinning his stars beyond the shores of Nigeria’’. He added: “We feel very proud and happy of the international feat; that one who scaled through our selection processes over the years is able to scale through the Fulbright award selection processes, is a clear indication that our processes are solid, strong and laden with integrity. Our selection processes are thorough, rigorous, and molded by correct guidelines, such that only the best can scale through. If we were dolling out our awards to family and friends, how would our awardees be able to compete and win on global stage like the latest one? This is not the first time.”
An indigene of Ika LGA, Inyangudo studied physics in UNICAL and graduated in 1996. He also has Post graduate diploma in Education (PGDE), Post graduate diploma in petroleum and Gas engineering (PGDPE), Master’s degree in Petroleum and Gas Engineering (M.ENG), Master’s degree in Education (M.ED), Teacher’s grade 2 (TC 11) and a diploma in Data Processing & Information Technology.
Inyangudo has always been an achiever, multiple-award winner and an exemplar to his colleagues. In 2013, he won the Inoyo Toro Foundation Mentors Award in Physics; Grand Mentord Award in 2015 and another Mentors Award in 2019 – all from the Foundation.
Prompted by Inoyo Toro Foundation, he applied for the Fulbright program last year, went through series of competitive selection process that entailed writing, presentations, oral interviews and examination. ‘’I must have forwarded up to 200 videos showing my work and projects to the screening committee’’, he recalled with a tinge of pride.
He was selected as the best teacher in Nigeria/Africa to receive this global award – 90 teachers were selected from 55 countries of the world for this award. Three from Nigeria. The other two are from Lagos.
After successfully completing the six-week program, Inyangudo was crowned and certified by the US Government as a 21st Century educator; a fellow of Fulbright Teaching Excellent and Achievement International; registered as an alumnus of Fulbright International and placed on Fulbright World Wide Global Championships.
‘’This was my first trip outside Nigeria; my first trip to the US. I am eternally grateful to the Inoyo Toro Foundation for this lifetime opportunity’’, Inyangudo told this writer. The Foundation was established by Mr. Udom Inoyo and his wife in 2006 for the purpose of promoting quality teaching in Science and Mathematics in Akwa Ibom.
By this award, Inyangudo has joined 39,000 best brains around the world who have received this award / grant since its inception in 1946 (75 years ago). Some of them include 60 Nobel Laureates, 86 Pulitzer Prize winners,75 MacArthur Fellows, and thousands of leaders across the private, public and non-profit sectors. He has joined the ranks of many distinguished Fulbright alumni globally. A few have become heads of state, judges, ambassadors, cabinet ministers, CEOs, University presidents, as well as leading journalists, artists, scientists, and teachers
Inyangudo is now representing the U S – Nigeria interest in Education, and is mandated by the US Government to design each year projects that will benefit his students, teachers and the communities and send proposals to the U S government for rectification and sponsorship. He is to do this as long as he lives. So, he will work closely with his employer – Akwa Ibom State Secondary Education Board – whenever he wants to design such projects for the benefit of Akwa Ibom students and teachers.
For Dr. Enobong Joshua, the State government should give Inyangudo due recognition to encourage him and motivate others.
In addition, the university don will like the awardee to keep the Foundation in view and focus, while working with the SSEB on whatever project he intends to design for his school and students.
I congratulate Ephraim Inyangudo. I commend Inoyo Toro Foundation for promoting education in the state through teacher motivation and other programs. My sincere hope is that this award will encourage our state to invest a lot more in quality education.
Etim Etim is a politician and public relations consultant, lives in Abuja