Meet the Amazing Ranjitsinh Disale, the Village Teacher Who Won $1 Million for Promoting Girls’ Education


Meet the Amazing Ranjitsinh Disale, the Village Teacher Who Won $1 Million for Promoting Girls’ Education

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

Every year, the charitable organisation Varkey Foundation announces the Global Teacher Prize in recognition of the hard work put in by teachers worldwide. This year, over 12,000 nominations and applications were filed from 140 countries, before a final list of 10 names was announced ahead of the ceremony. Among those names was Ranjitsinh Disale, a teacher from Maharashtra whose work in promoting education for girls and pioneering the trend of QR-coded textbooks has already been recognised by the Indian government. Disale, who was given the Global Teacher Prize at the online ceremony hosted by Stephen Fry, was awarded a prize of one million USD.

Even before the award was announced, Disale had already made the magnanimous announcement that he was going to share half of the prize money with his fellow nominees in the top 10. After being named the winner, Disale said he would stay true to his word, and share 50 percent of prize money with the remaining nine teachers. Sunny Varkey, founder of the Varkey Foundation, praised Disale’s decision, saying “By sharing the prize money, you teach the world the importance of giving.”

Disale, who teaches at a government school in Paritewadi village in Maharashtra’s Solapur district, was named Innovative Researcher of the Year by the central government in 2016 for his work in redesigning textbooks, embedding QR codes in them to link students to audio poems, video lectures, stories and assignments. That same year, the school Disale taught at was named Best School in Solapur district. He was also lauded for working toward ensuring more girl students joined the school. His work in the field of education spans years; winning the Global Teacher Prize is just the latest nod of recognition for Disale.

The gracious winner has announced that after sharing half the prize money with his fellow teachers, he intends to use his share to recruit at least 5,000 students from war-afflicted countries into a “Peace Army”. Service, charity, and humility; there’s a lot to learn from this teacher!