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Indian teacher Ranjitsinh Disale won ‘Global Teacher Prize’ worth $1 million; gives half away

An Indian teacher won this year’s Global Teacher Prize for improving the education of girls.

Ranjitsinh Disale who teaches in the Zilla Parishad Primary School, in the drought-prone village of Paritewadi, in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, was named the world’s most exceptional teacher, ahead of 12,000 other nominations.

Mr Disale won a cash prize worth US$ 1 million. But he has  already given away half of the winning share to the runners-up in the competition.

“In this hard time, teachers are giving their best to make sure every student has access to their birthright of a good education,” said Mr Disale, aged 32.

Teachers “always believe in giving and sharing”, he said, and as such was sharing half his prize money among the other teachers shortlisted in the top 10.

Mr Disale was praised by the competition’s judges for his work to ensure disadvantaged girls went to school and achieved high results – rather than missing out on school and facing early marriage.

He also provides online science lessons for pupils in 83 countries and runs an international project building connections between young people in conflict zones.

“The Covid pandemic has dealt a severe blow to education systems around the world… but it is the contribution of teachers during these difficult times that is making the difference,” said Stefania Giannini, assistant director general of Unesco, a partner in the competition.

Sunny Varkey, founder of the Varkey Foundation that set up the teachers’ competition, said “by sharing the prize you teach the world the importance of giving”.