Equatorial Guinea's (Republica de Guinea Ecuatorial) Minister of Education, Science, and Sports, Filiberto Ntutumu Nguema congratulated Matinga Ragatz—a native-born Equatorial Guinean and resident of the State of Michigan—for being named the 2010-11 Michigan "Teacher of the Year."
"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 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."
Since 1993, Ragatz has taught world history and global studies at Grand Ledge High School, in Grand Ledge, Michigan. She was selected from 20 regional semifinalists for her advanced methods of teaching, focused on the use of technology and producing better outcomes for her students. Michigan has nearly 100,000 teachers and only 300 were selected to compete for this award. Grand Ledge High School will receive a monetary award of $1,000 in honor of Ragatz's recognition.
Ragatz travels frequently to Equatorial Guinea, where she is working on various education projects, in particular, foreign language education, and is working on a proposal to open a teaching center for students who want to learn English in the capital of Malabo. She is also the daughter of author and university professor, Morgades Trinidad, the first woman from Equatorial Guinea to earn a college degree.
The government of Equatorial Guinea has made education and improving healthcare systems two priorities and goals of the "Horizon 2020" development plan, which was set in motion by President Obiang to move the country toward a sustainable and emergent economy. The opening of new schools and training of new teachers are just some of the activities undertaken under this plan.
Since beginning the large-scale export of oil from Equatorial Guinea, and in cooperation with international organizations, Equatorial Guinea opened its first national university, the National University of Equatorial Guinea, and graduated more than 13,000 students since its founding in 1995. The level of education in Equatorial Guinea is improving as well as the number of matriculations.