It’s not every day that you hear about a teacher winning a million-dollar award, but Ranjitsinh Disale did just that when the renowned Global Teacher Prize announced him as the winner of this year’s accolade.
Hailing from the Solapur in Maharashtra, Ranjitsinh Disale is a primary school teacher who’s heralded the digital revolution for girls’ education in India, embedding class textbooks with QR codes so pupils can access audio poems, video lectures, stories and assignments in a personalized experience.
In 2009, Disale took up a teaching job at the Zilla Parishad Primary School in Solapur, a town challenged with low female school enrolment since teenage marriage was common and linguistic difficulties made it tougher for pupils to study. Statistics reveal only 2% of girls in the region were enrolled in schools. Disale saw this as an opportunity by learning their local language (Kannada) and translated textbooks to embed it with QR codes, making it easier for students.
Photograph credit: Piklist
As if QR codes weren’t enough, Disale made learning easier for girls with special needs by implementing Flipgrid tools to the course curriculum.
It’s hard to fathom the legacy Disale has on Solapur, with zero teenage marriages and 100% attendance by girls in the town reported last year. Fun fact, Zilla Parishad Primary School won an award for the best school district with an overwhelming 85% of Disale’s students scoring A grades in annual exams. Plus, one pupil even went on graduate from a university.
Disale’s tech-savvy vision turned into state-wide success with Maharashtra rolling out QR-coded textbooks for all grades, 1-12, in 2017, followed by then-Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Prakash Javdekar announcing all National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT) books to embed QR codes.
Photograph credit: Pixnio
On summer vacations, Disale makes an effort to train teachers to go digital and implement tools to enhance their teaching experience. More than 16,000 teachers have been trained by him.
He’s also a peace-loving activist who rolled out a programme, ‘Let’s Cross the Borders,’ connecting students from varying walks of life to collaborate on projects through which they interact and understand their similarities, using the Microsoft Educator Community platform. An overall of 19,000 students from eight countries took part in the program, earning praise from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella In his 2017 book, ‘Hit Refresh.’
Photograph credit: Ranjitsinh Disale/Twitter
At the Golden Teacher Prize’s virtual award ceremony hosted by Stephen Fry, Disale announced he’s sharing 50% of his $1 million (AED 3.67m) prize with the finalists of the prize, saying “I believe, together, we can change this world because sharing is growing.”
“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.”Rajnitsing Disale
(Featured photograph credit: Global Teacher Prize)