Kenyan Student Wins ‘Outstanding BTEC International Student of the Year 2015’ in London
In 2014 George Benson Lyimo was just a student trying to earn his Business Technology and Education Council (BTEC) degree in business. Now in 2015 he is BTEC’s ‘Outstanding International Student of the Year.’

In 2012 Lyimo left his home in Tanzania to go to Braeside High School in Nairobi, Kenya. Braeside—a school which uses the British system of education—provides a safe place for eager students all over Africa to pursue their goals. Whereas many African youth are deterred by violence and warfare from going to school—Braeside provides a bus system to safely transport students to and from campus.

At Braeside Lyimo flew under the radar. One teacher recalls him being—“quite a shy character.” Nevertheless his potential shone in and out of the classroom.

Despite his humility Lyimo has accomplished much to be proud of. Self-taught in the language of computers—Lyimo launched his own website called Texeer which is now a worldwide social networking platform. He also volunteers in Braeside’s IT department even though he has no formal training and was able to provide internet for the student body when the school’s connectivity failed.

In July 2015 Lyimo was formally recognized for his accomplishments at the fifth annual BTEC Awards. The ceremony took place in London in front of an audience that included teachers, employers and even Members of Parliament.

The BTEC Awards acknowledge students, teachers and apprentices for outstanding performance in their particular vocational field. Recipients are nominated by their teachers and colleagues. This year BTEC received more than 800 nominations.

The judges picked Lyimo because of his passion and devotion to education and helping others. “Winning this award means a lot to me.” He says. “Firstly it kind of builds up my confidence and my belief system that I can build something great that other people can use in their daily life. I want to give back to the world. I want to make the world a better place.”

In addition to all of his technological hobbies Lyimo organizes annual charity events which raise funds to send Kenyan children to school. This is especially significant in Kenya where enrollment rates are extremely low.

Enrollment for boys and girls in secondary school in Kenya is 51 and 48 percent respectively—but attendance drops down to 39 and 41 percent. Compare this to the U.S. where enrollment among boys and girls in secondary school is 88 and 90 percent respectively. It is also important to take into account when comparing these numbers that unlike the U.S.—education is universally free in Kenya.

This is why young students like Lyimo are truly making the world a better place. Not only does he help other children achieve their dreams by providing access to education but perhaps more importantly by being a role model for those who need motivation in the face of adversity.

Lyimo graduated Braeside with triple star distinction—the highest accolade in the BTEC degree program. Like past recipients of BTEC ‘Outstanding Student’ Awards Lyimo will continue on his career path pursuing an advanced degree in Business and Computing at Huddersfield University in England.

Celestina Radogno

Sources: Braeside School, BTEC 1, BTEC 2, Standard Digital News, UNICEF 1, UNICEF 2
Photo: Flickr

Last week, a Kenyan-educated student at Braeside High School, George Benson Lyimo, was given the award for “Outstanding BTEC International Student of the Year 2015” at the National BTEC Awards in London. Among more than 800 nominations, Lyimo received the award that recognizes top performers among more than one million students studying business and technology.

The school where Lyimo is educated originally struggled with providing a quality primary education for kids. According to UNICEF, enrollment levels for primary school rose nine years ago from 5.9 million children in school to 7.5 million in the time span of four years. The primary school completion rate also increased at this time from 62 percent to almost 80 percent.

To pursue a better education in Kenya, the award winner left his home in Tanzania in 2012 to earn a specialized diploma from the Pearson-owned Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC). He said that he feels lucky to have received a good education because some areas in Kenya and Tanzania are still developing their education systems.

“In the country I come from, not so many people are privileged and my hopes for the future are that I can go and make Tanzania a better place. I want to give back to the world. I want to make the world a better place,” Lyimo said.

The young student’s dreams may be well in his reach.

Lyimo received this award for his courage and dedication to his studies. The judges praised the student for leaving home to pursue business and technology and for ultimately performing very well in school. Lyimo earned top marks in his classes, receiving a triple-starred distinction. According to his teachers, he was quiet, but motivated in class.

“George was quite a shy character, but clearly had a determination and interest, particularly in technology,” Lyimo’s high school’s Executive Headteacher Andy Hill said.

He was creative and innovative as a business student, launching his own social network called He aided the school’s IT department, although he had no previous computer training. Lyimo seems to have a knack for business computing.

Lyimo will put his talent to good use. The high school graduate will go on to student business and computing at Huddersfield University in the United Kingdom.

Not only did Lyimo excel in classes, but he also contributed to charitable organizations. He organized events to support children’s education in Kenya.

In conjunction with his business and technology diploma and his charity work, Lyimo feels that he has grown as a businessman and a person. “My BTEC has helped me understand so much about creating new things to solve new problems and meet the needs of current and future generations,” he said.

In response to all of his hard work, one of his classmates said this: “He’s an all-around amazing person, and I don’t think I know anyone who deserves this award more than he does.”

Fallon Lineberger

Sources: Standard Digital News, UNICEF
Photo: FE Week