An Indian teacher from Solapur made it into the world news recently when he was awarded Global Teacher Prize 2020. The Varkey Foundation started this award six years ago so as to give recognition, support, and encouragement to excellent teachers around the world. Ranjitsinh Disale from Solapur Maharashtra was awarded the prize worth one million USD for the year 2020.
Be a Bridge for Change is all about such changemakers. Here we bring to you some characteristic qualities that make Ranjitsinh Disale a ‘bridge for change’.
Ranjitsinh Disale, just like lakhs of students in India, wanted to pursue IT engineering. He did get into an engineering college. However, when things did not work out as he had anticipated, he listened to his own inner voice and dropped it.
Changemakers give importance to their inner calling even if it means doing something nobody would approve of.
When Ranjit’s father suggested teacher-training, initially he was a bit hesitant. However, he somehow convinced himself to give it a try. He had no idea that opening up to this alternative was going to change his life.
Opening up to new ways and things are the only way we can expect a change.
Ranjit’s first school was very much like many other rural schools in our country— lacking infrastructure as well as attendance. Tribal girls in the local community were not expected to study, and child marriage was rampant. Ranjit still did all he could to increase the strength of the school.
Social ills need to be questioned and not adjusted with.
The primary language of Ranjit’s students was Kannada. The curriculum was not in the same language. Ranjit took immense efforts and learned Kannada himself. He translated all the books into Kannada. He had to learn to be able to teach!
The biggest contribution of this super teacher is his innovation in textbooks. He introduced special QR-code embedded textbooks. Audio lectures, videos, stories, poems, and assignments in Kannada were linked to these codes. Using any smart device that can scan a QR code, all the material linked to the respective code could be accessed from anywhere. Now students could benefit even when schools were closed. This innovation was later incorporated in NCERT books all over India in 2017.
Innovations have the power to bridge enormous rifts and valleys.
Winning various state and national awards since 2016, Ranjit has stuck to his primary vision of bringing about a change through teaching. Just after winning the Global Teacher Prize, he has already declared that the prize money would predominantly go in extending his services to a maximum number of schools and students.
To bring about a change, constant focus and dedication is a prerequisite.
For the first time in the history of the Global Teacher Awards, the winner has shared half the prize money with the remaining nine finalists who made it to the top ten. Ranjit, in a TV interview, said that they also deserve the prize.
All of them obviously did something incredible in the field of teaching. Recognizing and respecting that is a characteristic of a true changemaker.
Be a Bridge for Change salutes Ranjitsinh Disale. Let’s imbibe his hard work, passion, dedication, humility, and perseverance to become a bridge for change.
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Author: Mr Sameer Pendharker, Doctoral Researcher at Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. Writer and Researcher at Be a Bridge for Change, a Development Sector Enthusiast, and blogger.