They inspire us, influence us and transform lives. Teachers are indeed changemakers.
And Ranjitsinh Disale is one of them. A primary school teacher in a small village in Solapur, he has been named the winner of the $1 million annual Global Teacher Prize 2020.
Teacher of ZP School in Maharashtra's Solapur district, #RanjitSinhDisale named winner of the prestigious #GlobalTeacherAward for his work in improving the educational outcomes of young girls in remote schools; this is an annual award by the @VarkeyFdn & @UNESCO pic.twitter.com/KmkUXQp6zD— DD News (@DDNewslive) December 3, 2020
On winning the award, he decided to share half of his ₹7.4 crore ($1 million) prize money with the rest of the nine finalists because he feels that he may have won the award, but he cannot change the world by himself.
#NDTVExclusive | "Sharing is growing": Ranjitsinh Disale, Winner, Global Teacher Prize on his decision to share his prize money with his fellow finalists #GlobalTeacherAward pic.twitter.com/zmMWt1BLTI— NDTV (@ndtv) December 4, 2020
As we talk of changing the world, it makes sense to elaborate on his journey and exceptional contributions towards revolutionising education, especially for girls.
Back in 2009, when Rajnitsinh Disale walked in the Zilla Parishad school, in the remote Paritewadi village located in Solapur, it was a rundown building that had a cattle shed on one side and a storeroom on the other. The students were mostly from tribal communities and comprised of just 2% girls.
Thanks to Ranjitsinh's intervention and efforts, the village that was once infamous for teenage girls' marriages, now boasts of 100% girls' attendance. The school at which he teaches, was also adjudged the best school in the district with 85% of its students achieving A grades.
He not only learned the local language to communicate well with the children at school, but also made learning fun for them with the use of digital tools.
With the introduction of QR codes in textbooks, he brought about a massive change in the local education system and inspired a revolution, not only in Maharashtra, but entire India.
Today, NCERT books across India have QR codes embedded in them.
Speaking to TOI, he said:
After we started the QR coded textbooks in our school in 2016, the state government sent a proposal to the centre about the usefulness of this technology. The centre then sent a team to our school and after studying the system, presented a report to the committee and in 2018, National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) decided to adopt QR codes in their textbooks.
Recently, one of the tribal girl students from his school graduated from the university.
Winning the Global Teacher Prize isn't the only recognition Ranjitsinh got. In 2018, he was awarded the Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert by Microsoft and his work was also recognised by the Government of India that rewarded him with the Innovator of the Year award.
They say being a good teacher is one of the greatest honours, but I think it's our honour to be guided by such teachers who leave no stone unturned in bettering lives.
Ranjitsinh is definitely one of them.