Against the clichéd creed that teachers’ rewards await them only in heaven, an Akwa Ibom teacher and multiyear grand mentor award winner of Inoyo Toro Foundation, has just been rewarded here on earth, in far away United States of America.
Ephraim Jacob Inyangudo, a Physics teacher at Comprehensive Secondary School, Ediene Abak, has become the first Nigerian of South-South extraction to have ever won the prestigious Fullbright Teaching Excellence and Advancement (TEA) Fellowship Award by the United States Department of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Ephraim, a native of Ika Local Government Area, had applied in 2021, by the recommendation of Inoyo Toro Foundation and after series of examinations and interviews, emerged one of the three topmost teachers in Nigeria who qualified for the 2022 Fullbright TEA Award.
A total of 90 teachers selected across 55 countries were invited and sponsored through a six-week teaching, leadership and mentorship tour across cities in the United States.
The 90 have now joined the 39,000 best brains, including 60 Nobel Laureates, 86 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 75 MacArthur Fellows, around the world who have received the Fullbright Fellowship Award since inception in 1946.
Inyangudo is one teacher who is not new to excellence. Hewon ExxonMobil’s Best Physics Teacher of the Year in Akwa Ibom in 2007; the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT)Recognition Award in Oruk Anam in 2012; Inoyo Toro Foundation’s Excellent Teacher Award in Physics in 2015; honored as one of Akwa Ibom’s Dakkada Ambassadors in 2016. In addition, he was 2017 Maltina’s Teacher of the Year and in 2018, he won the National Parents Teachers Association Award for Best Teacher. He is a four-time winner of Inoyo Toro Foundations Excellence Awards, as Physics teacher in 2013 and 2019, and as Grand Mentor in 2015 and 2021.
He holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics, a Post Graduate Diploma in Education, another Post Graduate Diploma in Petroleum and Gas Engineering, a Masters degree in Petroleum and Gas Engineering, another Masters degree in Education, a Teachers Grade 2 Certificate, and a Diploma in Data Processing and Information Technology.
Upon his return to Nigeria after the Fullbright Fellowship tour, the evidently elated Teacher Ephraim Inyangudo spoke glowingly of the global experience garnered and expressed his depth of gratitude to Inoyo Toro Foundation for the training, mentorship and sponsorship over the years and for recommending him for the Fullbright opportunity.
“I am eternally grateful to Inoyo Toro Foundation for being a window through which I see the world. May God bless the Foundation really good for the wonderful job it is doing in Akwa Ibom State and in Nigeria.”
Speaking for and on behalf of the Inoyo Toro Foundation, the chairman of the Foundation’s Award Screening Committee, Dr. Enobong Joshua, congratulated Ephraim Inyangudo for shinning his stars beyond the shores of Nigeria.
“We feel very proud and happy of the international feat. Thatone who scaled through our selection processes over the years is able to scale through the Fullbright 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 stages like the latest one? This is not the first time,”Joshua said.
Inoyo Toro Foundation is one of Nigeria’s first Educational Foundations established in 2007 in response to the need for private sector involvement in eradicating poverty through education and supporting educational development in Akwa Ibom and Nigeria at large.
The Foundation has so far spent over N400 million to reward over 235 teachers and 3 principals, train over 3,500 teachers, mentor over 5,040 students, and positively impacted over 90 schools in Akwa Ibom.