Thursday, September 29, 2011

Equatorial Guinean Native on National Education

Matinga Ragatz Meets with President Obama

Matinga Ragatz, a teacher with roots in Equatorial Guinea and the 2010-11 Michigan Teacher of the Year, is on a national education tour in the U.S. giving talks about the direction of education in the U.S. and school development in the 20th century.

Matinga Ragatz is a Social Studies and World Language teacher at Grand Ledge High School. She is the founder and Project Management Director of Interface Global Alliance, a non-profit organization that promotes economic development in underprivileged communities through project-based education. The proud Equatoguinean has been using a hybrid classroom platform to teach, and creating innovation in technology-assisted learning for over ten years. “My audience includes officials in the departments of education. The main focus of my educational models starts from the economic development through education,” said Ms. Ragatz in a recent interview with Guinea Ecuatorial Press.

During her national tour, she met with President Barack Obama where they talked about the coincidence of their international backgrounds and how they've developed very similar characteristics and philosophies about this.

This summer, Ms. Ragatz became a NASA Certified Educator. She has lectured at Princeton University in New Jersey and was recently in New York to participate in the documentary Why I Teach. Ms. Ragatz has also participated in Education Nation, a television program that will air soon on NBC.

“We are very proud of Ms. Ragatz, one of our own, for her achievements in the field of teaching and for earning this prestigious award in the United States,” said Minister of Education, Science, and Sports Filiberto Ntutumu Nguema. “Matinga is leading by example. Her innovative spirit and contributions, both to her students in the United States and in Equatorial Guinea, are to be commended and praised. She is making an impact in the lives of youth in both countries that shall pay great dividends as these students move toward advanced studies and eventually join the workforce.”

Ragatz travels frequently to Equatorial Guinea, where she is working on various education projects, particularly foreign-language education, and is working on a proposal to open a teaching center in the capital, Malabo, for students who want to learn English. She is also the daughter of author and university professor Morgades Trinidad, the first woman from Equatorial Guinea to earn a college degree. “Going back to Guinea is the dream of Guineans all over the world... The people, music, food, culture, the sea... all this is in your blood and you feel it even thousands of miles away. My family is in Equatorial Guinea and I hope to return to serve my country.”

The government of Equatorial Guinea has made education a top priority of the Horizon 2020 development plan, which was set in motion by President Obiang to move the country toward a sustainable and emergent economy.