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Liverpool teacher shortlisted for $1m global teacher prize

global teacher prize

Liverpool teacher shortlisted for $1m global teacher prize

A UK PE teacher who has pioneered new ways of teaching sports to visually impaired children at a special needs school in Liverpool has been shortlisted for this year’s prestigious global teacher prize.

David Swanston, a teacher at St Vincent’s school, is in the final 10 out of 8,000 nominations and applications for this year’s $1m (£730,000) award, which is intended to showcase the work teachers do preparing young people for their future. It is funded by the Varkey Foundation and endorsed by Unesco.

He is joined by Elliott Lancaster, a 24-year-old postgraduate student at Keele University, who is shortlisted for the first global student prize, a sister award that rewards exceptional achievements in learning and extracurricular activity, with a $100,000 prize.

Swanston has taught children with visual impairments for more than a decade at St Vincent’s, which is a specialist school for children with sensory impairments. In 2020 he was appointed deputy principal.

Swanston specialises in PE but teaches a range of subjects including geography and art. He pioneered techniques to enable students with visual impairments to participate in sports, since they on average accumulate less than half the recommended 60 minutes of moderate daily activity. Several of his students have gone on to become Paralympians.

His work has included modelling techniques and examples to enable blind students to understand how sports pitches are laid out. He is developing a version of rugby specifically for blind children, which uses textures and electronics to model game play and create ball prototypes.

If he wins the global teacher prize, Swanston plans to use the funds to support physical activity, horticulture and wellbeing programmes at the neighbouring Alder Hey children’s hospital, as well as to develop inclusive and blind ice hockey across the UK. He will also use the funds to support his charity, Sightbox, which aims to improve access to adapted sport for visually impaired students in developing countries.

Lancaster is a postgraduate student at Keele University and a sustainability campaigner. In 2016 he established a social enterprise app in Newcastle-under-Lyme called Utter Rubbish, which updates local residents on recycling policies in their local area. There are now plans to roll out the service in other local councils. He has also set up a network of sustainability volunteers, who lobby for organisations to become carbon neutral.

In his academic work, Elliott has published two award-winning studies looking at interdisciplinary learning and the impact of coronavirus on blended learning.

Sunny Varkey, the founder of the Varkey Foundation, said Swanston and Lancaster’s nominations “highlight the importance of education in tackling the great challenges ahead – from climate change to growing inequality to global pandemics”.

The education secretary, Nadhim Zahawi, congratulated Swanston and Lancaster on their nominations. He said that after a recent meeting with Lancaster he had been “so impressed by his passion and commitment to issues like sustainability”, and he praised Swanston for his “innovation” and “inspirational work”.

The winners of both prizes will be announced on 10 November in a virtual ceremony hosted at Unesco’s headquarters in Paris.

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NELFUND gives 12 more institutions access to Student Loan

The Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELFUND) has added twelve more state government-owned tertiary institutions to its student loan application portal, increasing the total number of participating institutions from 36 to 48.

This significant expansion follows the successful submission and verification of necessary data by these institutions.

Nasir Ayitogo, Head of Media and Public Relations at NELFUND, shared the news in a statement posted on X, highlighting that the total number of outstanding student data submissions now stands at 121 institutions.

During a visit to Osun State’s Governor Ademola Jackson Nurudeen Adeleke, NELFUND Managing Director Akintunde Sawyerr expressed gratitude to those who have already submitted their data. Sawyerr praised the governor for his leadership in facilitating this progress.

NELFUND urges institutions yet to submit their student data to the Student Verification Portal (SVS) to do so promptly, allowing their students to benefit from the loan scheme.

The fund also calls on states with uploaded data to inform their students about the application process, which can alleviate financial struggles for students and ensure steady revenue for the institutions.

Students from the newly onboarded institutions can now apply for the loan at

The new institutions include: Abia State Polytechnic, Benue State University, Makurdi, College of Education, Waka-Biu, University of Medical and Applied Sciences, Enugu State, Aliko Dangote University of Science and Technology, Wudil, Kano State, Kwara Polytechnic, Lagos State University of Science and Technology, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Lapai, Niger State, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Abraham Adesanya Polytechnic, Taraba State Polytechnic and Yobe State University.

Previously available state-owned institutions include: Adamawa State University, Mubi, Ramat Polytechnic, Maiduguri, Borno State University, Mohammet Lawan College of Agriculture, Borno State, Edo State University, Uzairue, Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti, Gombe State University, Kingsley Ozumba Mbadiwe University, Imo State.

Others are; Imo State University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Umuagwo, Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic, Zaria, Yusuf Maitama Sule University, Kano, Umaru Musa Yar’adua University, Katsina, Katsina State Institute of Technology and Management, Kebbi State University of Science and Technology, Aliero, Confluence University of Science and Technology, Kogi State, Lagos State University of Education, Lagos State University (LASU).

Also included is; Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Tai Solarin University of Education, Ogun State, University of Medical Sciences, Ondo, Osun State University, University of Ilesa, Osun State, GTC, Ara, Osun State, GTC, Gbongan, Osun State, GTC, Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State, GTC, Ile-Ife, Osun State, GTC, Inisa, Osun State, GTC, Iwo, Osun State, GTC, Osu, Osun State, GTC, Otan Ayegbaju, Osun State, Osun State College of Education, Ila-Orangun, Government Technical College, Ile-Ife, Osun State College of Technology, Taraba State University, Jalingo, Umar Suleiman College of Education, Gashua, Yobe State and Zamfara State University, Talata Mafara.

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FUOYE: NASU, SSANU warm up for strike, protest over unpaid salaries

The leadership of the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities, NASU, and the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, SSANU, of the Federal University Oye-Ekiti, FUOYE, led their members on a peaceful protest at the main entrance of the institution on Tuesday.

The members of the non-teaching staff of the institution are demanding that the Federal Government pay their four months’ withheld salaries.

The aggrieved members carried placards with different inscriptions, such as “NASU/SSANU says no to injustice in the payment of withheld salaries,” “We are not beggars, FG pay our salaries,” and “NASU/SSANU members are not second class citizens,” among others.

Addressing newsmen, the acting chairman of NASU in FUOYE, Comrade Ayeni Abraham, accused the federal government of being insensitive to their plight.

His words: “We are protesting because of our four months of withheld salaries by the federal government. It is so unfortunate that we are still operating at this level. This money we are agitating for is long overdue.

“During the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2022, we were agitating for this money and at that time, our national leadership had been holding a series of meetings with the government to pay us this money.

“The FG played insensitivity to the plight of workers. They refused bluntly to pay our money. When the administration of President Bola Tinubu came, we proceeded with the agitation for our money. It was promise upon promise and MoU upon MoU without any result.

“Today, we were given directives from our national headquarters to carry out this protest to demand payment of four months of arrears on our salaries. Our counterparts from ASUU were paid four months’ arrears of their salaries at the expense of non-teaching staff on campus.

“This is injustice and that is the reason why we are here today to tell the FG to pay our money, to tell FG theat we are suffering and that we are not second-class citizens.


“We can no longer bear this hardship again. We are here to register our grievances to FG to kindly pay our four months’ withheld salaries. The money is long overdue and this money is our legitimate right. It is what we have worked for.”

He stated further: “After this protest, our national leadership will be having their own protest in Abuja on Thursday. A day after the protest, they will have a meeting. If the FG is ready to pay our money, all these actions will be suspended, but if the FG fails, probably it may be a total shutdown, we are going to embark on a total shutdown which has no date.”

His counterpart and chairman of SSANU in FUOYE, Faleye Benjamin, said that beyond the four months of withheld salaries, members of the union are battling with the harsh conditions of the economy.

He said: “We are expecting FG to do the needful within a short period of time. We are only using this strategy of protest in order not to embark on strike. We believe strike should be the last option because we still believe very much in this country and that is why we are still agitating.”

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Kwara varsity expels 175 students

Kwara State University, Malete, has expelled 175 students of the institution for various offenses.

A statement by the Acting Director, University Relations, Dr Saeedat Aliyu, said the approval of the expulsion followed the recommendations of the Students’ Disciplinary Committee, SDC, which held sittings between October 2021 and March 2024.

The expelled students were penalized for offences ranging from examination malpractice, theft, using fake results to gain admission, assault, fraud, belonging to unregistered associations and possession of firearms.

The management reiterated its zero-tolerance for all acts of indiscipline, stating that the institution stands firm on producing graduates who are excellent both in character and in learning.


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