Ranjitsinh Disale, a teacher from Paritewadi, Solapur, teaching primary school kids, was announced the winner of The Global Teacher Prize 2020 on 3 December 2020. He’s been acknowledged for his unique teaching methods and for promoting girls’ education in his school’s district. Interestingly, he’s designed a quick-response (QR) coded learning system for students of his school.
Even before winning the award when Disale was amongst the top 10 finalists, he had decided to share 50% of his prize money with his fellow finalists to support their incredible work at an off-chance if he wins. He said, “Teachers are the real change-makers who are changing the lives of their students with a mixture of chalk and challenges. They always believe in giving and sharing. And, therefore, I am very pleased to announce that I will share 50% 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.”
When Disale began his career, the school he went to for the first time was being held in a run-down building with not enough facilities or learning opportunities. He saw the books were in English, which was difficult for the children to understand. He not only translated the class textbooks into their mother tongue but also embedded them with unique QR codes to give students access to audio poems, video lectures, stories and assignments. For this, he himself learnt Kannad, the local language, for the sole purpose of accomplishing these tasks.
Recognising his work, earlier, he was given 2016 Innovative Researcher of the Year award by the Indian central government and National Innovation Foundation’s Innovator of the Year award in 2018. In fact, his school, too, received the Best School for the district in 2016. In addition, Disale was also recognised by the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, who wrote about his work as one of three stories from India in his book Hit Refresh.
While his dedication has so far brought full attendance to the school and increased learning outcome to 98% before completing the school year, he is also making sure to stop all the child marriage practices in the area.
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