This is an incredible story of a common man showing us how a single person can bring massive impactful social change. How his commitment, perseverance and determination lead him to the Best Global Teacher Title of 2020, out of 12000 nominations across 140 countries around the World.
On December 03, 2020 when British broadcaster & actor Stephen Fry named him as a winner, that was just the first pinnacle of his selfless effortful story started in 2009. He is a Maharashtra based Indian teacher, trainer, real life hero and social activist Ranjithsinh Disale, who announced to give 50% his prize money to all other finalist teachers.
Before going into his story of excellence and hardship, first we should have a brief look on; what is Global Teacher Prize? How process for selection and award works? Who is giving authority? Who are the entrants and their stories?
What is Global Teacher Prize?
Global Teacher Prize refer as Noble Prize for Teaching profession, was initiated by Varkey Foundation in collaboration with UNESCO in 2014 with the whopping prize money of US $1 million. Presented to an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to their profession by impacting students and communities around.
Every year applications received from world wide on referral as well as on voluntary basis. Applications are processed based on rigorous eligibility criteria. Then jury of renowned teachers, professors, researchers, businessman, social activists and analysts select top 50, then top 10 and ultimately winner for Global Teacher Prize, every year. They believe and quote that ‘Everyone deserves a great teacher.’
Who is Ranjitsinh Disale & His Story?
He hails from a village in Maharashtra, India. Initially tried to pursue his education in IT Engineering, but things didn’t work out well for him. Then on recommendation of his father, he joined teacher training program. During course he realize that teachers are the real change makers in the society.
When he got his teaching appointment at Zilla Parishad Primary School in 2009, he faced with following miserable situations:
- The school was in absolute tumble down situation with no infrastructure and used as shed for animals,
- Most students were from tribal communities, and syllabus was not in their native or primary language,
- Attendance sometime got be as low as 2%, and
- to the worst teenage girls marriage was common in village
Ranjit was determined to turn things around. He took immense hard work by going through following:
- He learned local language, campaigned to eliminate adolescent marriages and encourage girls education,
- He translated curriculum books in his pupils native language, also he embedded QR codes on books to give them access to audio poems, video lectures, stories & assignments,
- By analyzing their reflections, he customized assignments and content as per his students learning pace and understanding level,
- Further, to facilitate special Childs, he updated QR codes with immersive tools and flip grid, to serve their special needs,
- By going extra miles, he encouraged and motivated his students to tackle real world problems by applying their knowledge.
These interventions resulted in massive turn around. Now, village has zero teenage marriage, attendance raised to perfect score of 100%. The school was recently awarded as best school in district with 85% of his students achieved A grades in annual examinations. Further, With his school in a drought-prone district of Maharashtra, his school has now successfully tackled the issue of desertification, increasing green land from 25% to 33% in the last ten years. In all, 250 hectares of land surrounding his village was saved from desertification, earning his school the ‘Wipro Nature for Society’ award in 2018.
Further, his idea to incorporate QR codes in curriculum books also adopted by National Council of Educational Research & Training, India. He is now aiming to build peace bridge between war affected children from around the world through his project “Let’s Cross the Borders” Over a six-week programme, students are matched with a peace buddy from other countries with whom they closely interact – preparing presentations and listening to guest speakers together to understand their similarities. So far, Ranjitsinh has initiated an incredible 19,000 students from eight countries into this programme.