When Ranjitsinh arrived at the Zilla Parishad Primary School in 2009 it was a dilapidated building, sandwiched between a cattle shed and a storeroom. Most of the girls were from tribal communities where school attendance could sometimes be as low as 2% and teenage marriage was common. For those that did make it to school, the curriculum was not in their primary language (Kannada), leaving many students unable to learn at all. Ranjitsinh was determined to turn this around, moving to the village and going to great efforts to learn the local language. Ranjitsinh then not only translated the class textbooks into his pupils’ mother tongue but also embedded them with unique QR codes to give students access to audio poems, video lectures, stories and assignments. Crucially, by analysing their reflections Ranjitsinh would change the content, activities and assignments in the QR coded textbooks to create a personalized learning experience for each student. Further to this, he upgraded the QR Coded Textbooks with immersive reader and Flipgrid tools to aid girls with special needs.
The impact of Ranjitsinh’s interventions has been extraordinary: there are now no teenage marriages in the village and 100 per cent attendance by girls at the school. The school was also recently awarded the best school in the district with 85% of his students achieving A grades in annual exams. One girl from the village has now graduated from University, something seen as an impossible dream before Ranjitsinh arrived.
In his winning speech Mr Disale made the extraordinary announcement that he will share half the prize money with his fellow Top 10 finalists, resulting in the other nine finalists receiving just over US$55,000 each. This is the first time in the Global Teacher Prize’s six year history that the overall winner has shared the prize money with other finalists.
Mr Disale was selected from over 12,000 nominations and applications from over 140 countries around the world. The Global Teacher Prize was set up to recognize one exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession as well as to shine a spotlight on the important role teachers play in society. Read more about his work here.
For the first time, the Global Teacher Prize winning announcement was made at a virtual ceremony broadcast from the Natural History Museum in London, with comedian, actor, writer and presenter Stephen Fry announcing the winner. The ceremony also included a special recognition for one teacher – a COVID hero – who has gone above and beyond to keep young people learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The US$45,000 COVID Hero Award, supported by CVC Capital Partners, was given to UK Maths teacher Jamie Frost, whose free DrFrostMaths became a lifeline for students shut out of classrooms all around the world. Read more about his work here
At this year’s ceremony, the Varkey Foundation was also delighted to announce the launch of the new Chegg.org Global Student Prize, a US$50,000 sister prize to the Global Teacher Prize, which will open applications and nominations in the new year. The Global Student Prize will create a powerful new platform to highlight the efforts of extraordinary students throughout world that are making a real impact on learning, the lives of their peers and on society beyond.