Teaching is all about giving: Maharashtra teacher on global award win

Teaching is all about giving: Maharashtra teacher on global award win Source image: https://www.globalteacherprize.org/
Press Trust of India | Dec 4, 2020 - 2:13 p.m. IST
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PUNE: Ranjitsinh Disale, a primary teacher from Maharashtra's Solapur, who won the USD 1-million Global Teacher Prize 2020, said teaching was all about giving, and added that he would like to work for students "across the borders" as he believed that the world was his classroom.

He also said that he would like to allocate 20 per cent of his prize money for his "Let's Cross the Borders" project that aims to build peace among student and young people from the conflict-torn countries such as India, Pakistan, Palestine, Israel, Iran, Iraq and North Korea. Disale, 32, who works as a teacher at the Zilla Parishad Primary School at Paritewadi in Solapur, was on Thursday named the winner of the Global Teacher Prize 2020 in recognition of his efforts to promote girls' education and trigger a quick-response (QR) coded textbook revolution in India.

After winning the award, he had announced that he would share 50 per cent of the prize money equally among his fellow finalists. Speaking to a Marathi channel, Disale said, "A teacher always shares his knowledge, insights with students. I received the prize for the work I did for the teachers, students and for the field of education."

"So if I share 50 per cent of the prize money with other runner-up teachers, it would help them do what they desire to do in their countries," he said in response to a query about why he decided to share the prize money. "Of course, I want to work for the students in India. But at the same time, I would like to work for the students across the borders as I believe that the world is my classroom," he added.

Disale said he wants to allocate 30 per cent of the prize money towards "teachers' innovation fund" that he plans to set up. "There are several teachers in the country, who possess innovative ideas to transform education and I think that fund can be used for such talent," he added. He said he had decided to develop himself as a "professional teacher". "Teachers abroad are more professional. They spend some part of their earnings on their own development. As a teacher, when I came in their contact, I could see the difference," he added.

Disale feels that he is a teacher from the 20th century and the students are from the 21st century. "So it is like students from the 21st century are being taught by a teacher from the 20th century with the 19th century curriculum using techniques of the 18th century. This is the gap that we need to bridge and I think technology is the main enabler in this," he added.

Disale, who studied in a government school, became a teacher after clearing his DEd course and joined Paritewadi in Solapur district in 2009. When Disale arrived at the school in Paritewadi, it was a dilapidated building, sandwiched between a cattleshed and a storeroom. He took on the task of turning things around and ensuring the textbooks were available in the local language for the pupils and 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.

The impact of his interventions has been that there are now no reported teenage marriages in the village and 100 per cent attendance of girls at the school. Disale's school went on to become the first in Maharashtra to introduce QR codes and after submitting a proposal and successful pilot scheme, the state ministry announced in 2017 that they would introduce QR coded textbooks across the state for all grades.

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