BIC, a world leader in stationery, lighters, and shavers, celebrates this year’s Global Education Week (GEW) by honoring ten exceptional educators around the world, one of which is from Nigeria. BIC launched the BIC Cristal Pen Awards program in 2020 to recognize educators who exemplify BIC values by bringing joy to the hearts of children every day, inspiring and preparing the next generation to thrive.
BIC is a proud supporter of educational programs and is committed to improving the learning conditions of 250 million children globally by 2025 as part of the company’s “Writing the Future Together” program. As of 2020, BIC has already cumulatively helped 118 million children as part of its goal.
Commenting on the occasion, Gonzalve Bich, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of BIC, said:
“Education is a passion of mine and part of BIC’s DNA. The Cristal Pen Awards are a great opportunity for our team members to celebrate educators in their communities around the world. From Sri Lanka to Argentina, this year’s winners exemplify our BIC values and I want to personally thank them and all nominees for sharing our vision to write the future, together through supporting education around the world.”
After BIC team members submitted hundreds of nominations, a panel of judges selected 10 worthy educators from across every region where BIC operates. Winners will receive a custom-designed award, a BIC stationery product donation, and a EUR 5,000 grant for their school or organization of choice.
In Nigeria, Opeifa O. won the BIC Cristal Pen Award this year. Opeifa is a teacher with over a decade of experience and passion for English literacy. He teaches difficult concepts in phonology and grammar using popular rap songs, card games, and dance. He also founded the first-ever free weekend tutorial classes in his region to prepare students for external exams and started a reading club. He has been recognized with multiple awards and has used the prize money to improve school facilities including a library, modern toilets, and technology to improve learning conditions for hundreds of students. Opeifa is further improving education by co-founding an online teacher community www.techerx.org.
Winners from other parts of the world include:
Ramanan R., Sri Lanka – Ramanan works at the Jaffna Hindu College in Jaffna, a war-torn region where his ongoing work has been a pillar of strength to many throughout his career. His dedication to creative online instruction during the pandemic, including building a DIY set where he films free YouTube lessons for students globally set him apart. Ramanan also serves as the Sectional Head of the vocational stream where he oversees programs that contribute to students’ life skill development beyond academics.
Naomi A., UK – Naomi Anstice is an Assistant Head Teacher at Frodsham Manor House Primary where she has taught for over 20 years with a focus on helping children become good local and global citizens. As a Religious Education teacher, she creates lessons for all community primary schools in her region which aim to encourage global awareness including diversity, antiracism, sustainability, respect for all. Among other activities, she runs teacher workshops, supports individual schools, and organizes pupil conferences where up to ten schools send children to learn about a different focus linked to religious education, like Islamophobia to encourage children to be future changemakers and peacekeepers.
Aline D., France – Aline has worked as a music teacher for more than 20 years. She is known for going above and beyond in her instruction of handicapped students, especially those who are hearing impaired with innovative teaching methods combining music, visual arts, and performance. Her workshops use creative hands-on learning to teach eco citizenship through the creation of interactive art installations and literature through a musical version of “The Little Prince.” Thanks to these projects and Aline’s dedication to personal attention, her students discover a passion for learning through artistic expression.
Herńan N., Argentina – Herńan is one of the founders and current President of the library Biblioteca Popular Palabras del Alma. The library began operating on a mobile basis, only on weekends, and now offers art, a community garden, and workshops for reading writing, computer, language, theater and many topics for people of all ages, including high school students and children without access to kindergarten. Herńanalso coordinates a project for indigenous people where a dozen new libraries in their communities have since been built. He is also the creator of a community theatre group and radio station that allows poor people, women, children and adolescents, people with disabilities, or who are part of indigenous peoples to express themselves.
MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA
Abdallah W., Morocco – Abdallah was inspired by his sister to become a teacher and help ensure that girls and boys have equal access to quality education. Since he has taught in some of the most disadvantaged regions in Morocco where he is determined to make learning fun regardless of whether the school has access to electricity or the internet. He’s even known to charge his laptop weekly at the village market to provide computer access for his students. He encourages his students’ involvement in music, theatre, and technology and regularly holds meetings with female students’ fathers to stress the importance of ongoing education. He sets up summer camps, teacher training and coordinates student transportation programs outside of school.
Shweta D., India – Shweta is dedicated to instilling a sense of resilience into her students which she demonstrated by successfully encouraging hands-on learning throughout the pandemic and reinventing herself as a teacher. Other than her innovative teaching methods, Shweta provides her students (particularly those from economically weaker backgrounds) with DIRT (Development, Improvement, and Reflection Time) so she is there whenever they need her. She was also instrumental in a virtual exchange program with a Kenyan school where she encouraged the importance of learning from other cultures and global citizenship as well as facilitated a student-led conference where students shared their journeys through e-portfolios over the pandemic.
Sharda V., Canada – Sharda’s Kindergarten and Special Education students describe her teaching style as interactive, supportive, and transparent. She is focused on helping her students develop a voice in the classroom and fostering their emotional wellbeing through a personalized approach that uses everyday life to inspire learning. She also runs an eco-club at her school to help teach students about the importance of preserving our planet for the future.
In addition to the Cristal Pen Awards program, BIC is furthering its mission to support education through the launch of the BIC-Cause We Care Community. The community is a gathering place for anyone who shares BIC’s passion for improving the learning conditions of students worldwide and helps connect members with resources to fulfill this mission.
Additionally, BIC is sponsoring a new eight-year partnership between the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) Europe and the French Ministry of National Education to fund research and support an inclusive tutoring program to make France a leader in driving experimental innovations in education.
For more information about the company’s commitment to education, please visit BIC’s website.