Indian school teacher WINS $1 million prize for promoting girls’ education: ‘Teachers are the real change-makers’

An Indian primary school teacher won a $1,000,000 prize as a recognition for promoting girls’ education in the country.

  • Ranjitsinh Disale was awarded the Global Teacher Prize for his tremendous contributions to the Indian educational system. 
  • He was mostly recognized for promoting girls’ education and putting an end to teenage marriages in his region.
  • Mr. Disale became the first winner to share his $1,000,000 prize with his fellow contestants for their “incredible work.”

Ranjitsinh Disale, 32, was awarded the annual Global Teacher Prize. His contribution to advocating for proper education for Indian girls was noticed by the Varkey Foundation, NDTV reports.

Credits: NDTV

The young teacher, who firmly believes that his fellow educators are the “real change-makers,” said that he will give 50% of his prize to the other finalists in the competition. Mr. Disale stated:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed education and the communities it serves in a multitude of ways. But in this hard time, teachers are giving their best to make sure every student has access to their birthright of a good education. 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 percent 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.”

The Indian teacher made history by becoming the first winner to share his prize.

His generosity means that his colleagues will receive a little over $55,000 each for their “incredible work.”

Sunny Varkey, the founder of the prize, said:

“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. There is not a moment to lose as it will fall on young people to find solutions to problems that their parents and grandparents have lacked the will to solve, including climate change, conflict, and global pandemics”

The ceremony of the Global Teacher Prize 2020 was entirely virtual. The British actor-broadcaster Stephen Fry announced the name of the winner from the Natural History Museum in London.

Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education at UNESCO, and a partner of the initiative said:

“Teachers like Ranjitsinh will stop climate change and build more peaceful and just societies. Teachers like Ranjitsinh will eliminate inequalities and drive forward economic growth. Teachers like Ranjitsinh will save our future.

Since 2009, Mr. Disale is working hard to ensure that all local students have a proper education. 

As soon as he arrived at the Zilla Parishad Primary School at Paritewadi, he started translating the children’s textbooks into their mother tongue. What is more, he embedded them with unique QR codes, giving his pupils access to various audio poems, video lectures, stories, and assignments.

Thanks to his tremendous contribution, there is now a 100% attendance of girls at the local school. Besides, the number of teenage marriages in the village has dropped to zero.

Another grand change the teacher has made is turning his school into the first one in the state of Maharashtra to introduce QR codes. His pioneering step led to a ministry announcement in 2017 that they would introduce QR coded textbooks across the state for all grades.

The Indian primary school teacher was selected in the final 10 from more than 12,000 tutors from over 140 countries.

The generous educator is also passionate about uniting young people across conflict zones. Through a project called “Let’s Cross the Borders,” Mr. Disale creates peaceful connections between youngsters from India and Pakistan, Palestine and Israel, Iraq and Iran, and the US and North Korea.

Mr. Disale will receive his prize in equal installments over the next ten years. During that time, the Varkey Foundation will be providing winners with financial counseling and support through an ambassadorial role for the profession.

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