An Indian schoolteacher, Ranjitsinh Disale, has been awarded the 2020 Global Teacher Prize — and has vowed to give half of the $1 million prize money to the runners-up. He was recognised for his use of QR codes to impart lessons. The award, which is run by the Varkey Foundation in partnership with UNESCO, celebrates “exceptional” teachers who have made an outstanding contribution to their profession.
Ranjitsinh Disale, a teacher at Zilla Parishad Primary School, in the village of Paritewadi in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, was chosen as winner from more than 12,000 nominations and applications, from over 140 countries around the world. 10 teachers across the globe were shortlisted last month. The award recognized his efforts to promote girls’ education at the school, whose pupils are mostly from tribal communities. The Global Teacher Prize said he learned the local language of the village in order to translate class textbooks into his pupils’ mother tongue. He also created unique QR codes on the textbooks to give students access to audio poems, video lectures, stories and assignments, greatly improving school attendance. His QR technology is now being rolled out more widely across India.
Ranjitsinh also uses various other innovative methods in teaching to reduce drop out rate especially in female students. The impact of Ranjitsinh’s interventions has been truly extraordinary. Due to Disale’s contribution, there are now no reported teenage marriages in the village and 100 per cent attendance of girls at the primary school in his village. Various Indian celebrities also congratulated him on his nomination. He also plans to launch an initiative where at least 5000 students from war-affected countries are recruited into a Peace Army each year.