Ranjitsinh Disale from Maharashtra wins $1M Global Teacher Prize 2020 and world’s most exceptional teacher, shares half of $1 mn prize money with other teachers - IdeapreneurIndia-Entrepreneur's Daily Dose

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Saturday, December 5, 2020

Ranjitsinh Disale from Maharashtra wins $1M Global Teacher Prize 2020 and world’s most exceptional teacher, shares half of $1 mn prize money with other teachers





Ranjitsinh Disale from Maharashtra wins $1M Global Teacher Prize 2020 and world’s most exceptional teacher, shares half of $1 mn prize money with other teachers



A 32-year-old teacher named Ranjitsinh Disale was awarded the much anticipated Global Teacher prize and prize money of $1 million for his extensive work in the field of the girl child education and revolutionising textbooks in India. His massive feat drew praise internationally and exemplified how the resolve of one man, to make an impact, can change lives. Ranjitsinh Disale hails from Paritewadi village in Solapur district of Maharashtra. He wanted to be an IT engineer and had enrolled in an engineering college. But when things did not work for him, he was persuaded to take up teacher training programme by his father. Although Ranjitsinh Disale was initially hesitant about the decision, his time at the teacher training college made him realise that teachers were the real change-makers in the world.



The Global Teacher Prize is an annual award instituted by the Varkey Foundation. It is awarded to a teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession. Launched in 2014, nominations are open worldwide to teachers. This year, there were 12,000 nominations from across the world for the award. Selected from over 12,000 applications from 140 countries, Ranjitsinh Disale from Solapur was declared the winner at the Natural History Museum in London in a virtual ceremony.



Recognised by Microsoft CEO



Prior to receiving the Global Teacher’ prize, Ranjitsinh was recognised by Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, in his book ‘Hit Refresh.’ He was named 2016 Innovative Researcher of the Year by the Union government and was also awarded the National Innovation Foundation’s Innovator of the Year prize in 2018. He was among one of the top finalists, selected from over 12,000 nominations from over 140 countries. The Global Teacher Prize, established in 2014 by Varkey Foundation, will provide the prize money in equal instalments over a 10-year-period, besides financial counselling.Ranjitsinh is also a part of ‘Let’s Cross the Borders’ project where he has connected with over 19,000 students from eight countries, including, India, Pakistan, Israel, Palestine, US, North Korea, Iraq and Iran.

“I may have won the award but I can’t change the world alone, one Ranjitsinh Disale can’t do it on his own. And that’s why I decided to get more hands on board.” This is how Disale, a 32-year-old Zilla Parishad primary school teacher from Solapur’s Paritewadi village, put it, when asked about the half a million dollars of prize money that he has decided to share with the runners-up of the contest that he won.Disale, who was adjudged the ‘world’s most exceptional teacher’ at the annual Global Teacher Prize 2020, won prize money of US$ 1 million, half of which he shared equally with each of the nine other teachers who made it to the top 10.Sunny Varkey, Founder of the Global Teacher Prize, said, “Congratulations to Ranjitsinh Disale for winning the Global Teacher Prize 2020. By sharing the prize money, you teach the world the importance of giving. I now encourage you to use this platform to give all teachers a voice.”In a proud moment for India, Solapur-based teacher Ranjitsinh Disale was named the winner of the Global Teacher Prize 2020, in partnership with UNESCO. Being the sixth year since inception, the $1 million prize, established by the Varkey Foundation, is the largest of its kind. The Global Teacher Prize, founded by Indian Education philanthropist Sunny Varkey in 2014, recognises one exceptional teacher every year who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession as well as to shine a spotlight on the important role teachers play in the society. Thirty-two-year-old Ranjitsinh, a primary school teacher, was recognised for transforming the life of young girls at the Zilla Parishad Primary School, Paritewadi, Solapur.




His first assignment was at the Zilla Parishad Primary School in 2009. The school was located between a storeroom and cattle shed. He observed that most of the female students in the class hailed from tribal communities, where the underage marriage of girl child was prevalent and their education was not taken seriously. To add to the social challenges, Ranjitsinh found that the textbooks were not in Kannada, the mother tongue of the students, and it affected the learning outcome of students.



The programme is aimed at building peace among students in conflict zones. Ranjitsinh also teaches students in schools from other parts of the world through Microsoft Educator community platform and takes them to virtual trips. He also demonstrates scientific experiments to students from his home laboratory to help them better understand concepts.As a result of his efforts, the attendance of girl children in his school recorded 100%. Not only that, no teenage/underage marriages were reported in the village as well. Impressed by his innovative endeavours and a successful pilot scheme, the Maharashtra government had announced in 2017 that it would introduce QR-embedded textbooks for all grades in the State. Moreover, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) had also announced in 2018 that all NCERT textbooks would include QR codes in the future.



He then took upon himself to redesign the books from Std 1- 4 such that students can comprehend the subject better. Besides learning Kannada, Ranjitsinh helped re-design textbooks to include QR codes that would contain video lectures, assignments, stories and audio poems for better understanding. The innovation, on his part, helped his students develop problem-solving skills, creativity and better communication.



Some Lesser Known Facts About Ranjitsinh Disale

1. He also noticed that the curriculum of the school was not in their language i.e. Kannada, so he decided to learn Kannada first and then translated the curriculum from 1st standard to 4th standard.

2. Ranjitsinh Disale is an Indian teacher who is teaching in a government school of Maharashtra.

3. He is best known for embedding QR codes in textbooks which was adopted by NCERT.

4. He wanted to became an engineer, but somehow he could not do it. Later, his father suggested him to pursue his career as a teacher.

5. He has also worked towards eradicating teenage marraiges in his village and promoting girls' education.

6. He has also started other projects like ‘Chup baith Bapu datenge’ and ‘Hour of life’ to promote education among the children.

7. When he started his career as a teacher in a government school, he noticed that the infrastructure of the school was in a drastic condition. Most of the children in school were from the tribal communities who did not allow their daughters to go to school and got them married in their teenage years.

8. In 2019, the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) decided to implement his idea of QR textbooks.

9. His work has been recognised by The CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella in one of the three stories from India in his book ‘Hit Refresh.’On winning the prize, Disale said, Teachers are the real change-makers who are changing the lives of their students with a mixture of chalk and challenges. 

10. 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.”

11. He used QR codes and embedded it with audio poems, stories, and video lectures in Kannada. He copyrighted his idea of “QR Coded Text Books.” His idea of QR books was also implemented by the Government of Maharashtra in all curricular in Maharashtra.

12. He has represented India in Microsoft Education Exchange (E2) in Toranto, Canada.

13. He joined Zilla Parishad Primary School, Paritewadi, Maharashtra in 2009 as an assistant teacher.

14. Microsoft Corporation awarded him the “MIE Expert,” “MIE Fellow,” and “Skype Master Teacher” titles.

15. He won the ‘Global Teacher Prize’ and a winning amount of Rs 7 crores on 3 December 2020. The results were declared by the Hollywood actor and writer, 


16. Stephen Fry through a virtual broadcast from the Natural History Museum in London. The Maharashtra Governor, Bhagat Singh Koshyari, wrote a congratulatory message for him on his this achievement,I convey my heartiest greetings and felicitations to Shri Ranjitsinh Disale, teacher from ZP school in Paritewadi, Solapur district on being chosen for the coveted $ 1 million Global Teacher Prize 2020, which is awarded by the London-based Varkey Foundation. Shri Disale’s work of generating interest about education among children from rural areas, through innovative ideas and use of technology are commendable and worthy of emulating by others.”

17. Ranjitsinh Disale, a Maharashtra government school teacher, won the Global Teacher Prize 2020 and decided to share it.


Ranjitsinh Disale videos











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