Talk about having a heart of gold! Indian educator Ranjitsinh Disale – recognised for his earnest work in transforming the lives of young girls in Maharashtra, India– was announced winner of the Global Teacher Prize of USD1 million (RM4.068 million) and that’s not all! He’s splitting the prize money with fellow finalists, distributing half of his prize money to the other nine educators, where each of them will get over USD55,000 (RM223,740)! Disale said that teachers were “the real change-makers who are changing lives of their students”, which was the reason for sharing his winnings. The finalists receiving the share of the prize money are from nations including Malaysia, Italy, Nigeria, and South Korea.
Disale was selected from 12,000 nominations from over 140 countries in the world. So you could imagine what his reaction was when his name was announced by renowned actor Stephen Fry in the ceremony’s live broadcast from the National History Museum in London! Disale’s winning also caught the attention of the Dalai Lama, who said that Disale has set an example of “compassion in action”.
The Teacher’s Good Works
What made him stand out was his work in fighting against teen marriages and upholding the rights of education for girls. Thanks to his work, the Zilla Parishad Primary School in Paritewadi village now sees a 100% attendance of girls at school, with no teen marriages reported. Disale also translated textbooks into the local language so that children can study in their mother tongue. Besides that, his innovations in education made learning for students a whole lot more enriching – namely, implementing QR codes in primary school textbooks enabling children access links to audio poems, video lectures, assignments, and stories. His innovations were submitted in a proposal to the Maharashtra government which led to the implementation of QR codes in all textbooks across the state.
There are other notable works that Disale has done, apart from in the primary school in his village. One of the projects he carried out was ‘Let’s Cross the Borders’, where he connects young people from countries in conflict in order to build peace. Youths across conflict zones such as India and Pakistan, Palestine and Israel, Iraq and Iran, and the USA and North Korea, have participated in this project. Thanks to Disale, 19,000 students from eight countries were matched with cross-border peace buddies, with whom they interacted closely over the course of six weeks.
Disale is also well-known for demonstrating scientific experiments in a science lab he built himself at home. Not only that, the 2020 Global Teacher Prize winner also takes students who are low on resources from schools around the world, on weekend virtual field trips using the Microsoft Educator Community platform. Yet, this is not the first time the government school teacher has won an award for his work. He had also previously won the 2016 Innovative Researcher of the Year award, and the 2018 National Innovation Foundation’s Innovator of the Year award. His work has also been mentioned in Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s book ‘Hit Refresh’.
About the Global Teacher Prize 2020
The Global Teacher Prize is a USD1 million prize awarded by the Varkey Foundation – a family foundation established to improve education standards, and raise the status and capacity of teachers throughout the world. It is sponsored by the United Nations’ educational and cultural agency UNESCO. The Prize serves to highlight the importance of educators and the fact that their efforts deserve to be recognised and celebrated worldwide. The Prize seeks to acknowledge the impacts of the very best teachers, not only on their students, but on the communities around them.
Congratulations to Ranjitsinh Disale for winning the 2020 Global Teacher Prize! His generosity, not only as an educator, but as a person, sets an example for us all to impact and empower one another, concurrently building our communities.