Ranjitsinh Disale, 32, from Paritewadi village in Maharashtra’s Solapur district won The Global Teacher Prize 2020. Ranjitsinh Disale, a teacher at a government school in Paritewadi, Maharashtra, who is best known for adding QR codes to textbooks of primary classes to provide links to audio poems, video lectures, stories and assignments.

He was selected from 12,000 nominations from more than 140 countries around the world. The Indian teacher was announced by renowned actor Stephen Fry as the winner of the Global Teacher Prize 2020 at a virtual ceremony broadcast on Thursday from the Natural History Museum in London.

But Disale immediately announced he would share half the $1m prize money with the nine other finalists.

Which means $55,000 will go to each of the other nine finalists from nations including Italy, Nigeria and South Korea.

Disale is the sixth winner of the award, established by the Varkey Foundation and is given in partnership with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Ranjitsinh Disale, 32, from Paritewadi village in Maharashtra’s Solapur district, emerged the winner among 10 finalists from across the world. The annual prize was founded by the Varkey Foundation in 2014 to recognize an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession.

 

Mr Disale, who believes that teachers are the world’s “real changemakers”, announced that he will be sharing 50 per cent of his prize money with his fellow finalists to support their “incredible work”.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed education and the communities it serves in a multitude of ways. But, in this hard time, teachers are giving their best to make sure every student has access to their birthright of a good education,” Mr Disale said.

“Teachers are the real changemakers who are changing the lives of their students with a mixture of chalk and challenges. They always believe in giving and sharing. Therefore, I am very pleased to announce that I will share 50 percent of the prize money equally among my fellow top 10 finalists to support their incredible work. I believe, together, we can change this world because sharing is growing,” he said.

When Mr. Disale arrived at the Zilla Parishad Primary School at Paritewadi in Solapur in 2009, it was a dilapidated building, sandwiched between a cattle shed and a storeroom.

The curriculum was not even in the students’ main language, Kannada. Disale moved to the village, learned the language and translated the class textbooks.

He also introduced digital learning tools and came up with personalized programs for each student. His system of QR-coded textbooks is now used across India. School attendance is now 100 percent, the organizers said.

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