Ranjitsinh is a primary school teacher from India who won the annual Global Teacher Prize 2020 on Thursday and bagged an amount of $1-million as a prize. He was recognized for his efforts to promote girls’ education and trigger a quick-response (QR) coded textbook revolution in India.

This 32-year-old man, from Paritewadi village in Maharashtra’s Solapur district, shined through and emerged victorious among 10 finalists which were selected globally for the annual prize which is founded by the Varkey Foundation in 2014 with the aim to recognise exceptional teachers who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession.

Mr. Disale, made an announcement after being declared as the winner that he would like to share 50% of his prize money with the fellow finalists as he is who believes that teachers are the one who can really bring change in the world, they are the real change-makers and to support the incredible work he decided to share his prize with all of them.

Mr. Disale said that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has affected all the sectors and education is no other. The communities we serve and the education to whom we provide have been impacted in a lot of different ways. But even in this hard time, teachers are giving their best to make sure every student has access to a good education. He also added that he believes, together, we can change this world because sharing is growing”, and this is what made him decide to take the step of sharing.

His humble gesture of sharing lead to the other nine finalists receiving a sum of about $55,000 each and this made history. Nobody before him has made such efforts in the history of this award and by doing so he embedded his name in golden ink as the first winner to share his prize money.

On this, the founder of the prize, Sunny Varkey, who is an Indian education philanthropist, said that By sharing the prize money, you teach the world the importance of giving.

He also added that He now encourages people to use this platform to give a voice to all teachers out there. As we don’t have much time to lose because the impact will fall directly upon the young people to find solutions to the problems that their parents have lacked to solve which includes problems like climate change, conflicts, and global pandemics.

Another first thing that was coined in the Global Teacher Prize 2020 winner’s announcement was that the ceremony was made virtual and was broadcast from the Natural History Museum in London by British actor-broadcaster Stephen Fry.

Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education at UNESCO, who happens to be the partner of the initiative, said that teachers like Ranjitsinh will stop climate change and build more peaceful and just societies, will eliminate inequalities and drive forward economic growth, will save our future.”

When Mr. Disale arrived at the Zilla Parishad Primary School at Paritewadi in Solapur in 2009, it was a tumbled down the building, stuck between cattle shed and a storeroom. He wasn’t happy with the view and took on the task of changing things for the better around and also ensured that the textbooks were made available in the local language for the students and not only just translated textbooks into their mother tongue but also embedded them with a unique QR code to give students access to audio poems, video lectures, stories, and assignments.

The best way to see his efforts paid off is the fact that there are now no teenage marriages reported in the village and the attendance of girls is 100% at the school.

His efforts of adding the QR codes in the textbooks made Mr. Disale’s school become the first in the State of Maharashtra to introduce such a facility. In 2017, the State Ministry announced that the QR codes will be included in all the textbooks of all classes in the State.

The HRD Ministry, in 2018, then announced that the NCERT textbooks will also have QR codes embedded in them.

Mr. Disale has one more side to his fabulousness, he is also having a zeal for building peace between young students, who happen to be belonging to countries like Pakistan, Palestine, Israel, Iran, Iraq, the U.S., and North Korea. This is done through a project called “Let’s Cross the Borders” under which he connects these young minds from such countries.

It is a six-week programme where the students from one country are patched with students from another country. They call them “peace buddy”, with whom they interact closely. Up till now, Mr, Disale has been able to work with nineteen thousand students from about eight countries with this programme.

The prize amount won is paid in 10 equal installments to the winner over a period of 10 years and with this, the Varkey Foundation provides the winners with financial counselling and assistance and also supports through an ambassadorial role for the profession.

Team Shiksha congratulates Mr. Disale and thanks and appreciate all the teacher who paves the way for young minds to do wonders.

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