Little did Ranjitsinh Disale, who is among the top 10 finalists for the Global Teacher Prize 2020, know that a change of career from engineering to teaching would turn into a successful journey. The 32-year-old teacher at the Zilla Parishad Primary School in Paritewadi village in Maharashtra’s Solapur district has been shortlisted for his unique idea to ensure girls don’t drop out.

The US $1 million prize, an initiative by Varkey Foundation in association with UNESCO, is awarded to teachers whose innovative ideas have been successful and brought effective change. There were over 12,000 entries from 140 countries. The final winner will be declared in December.

QR Code For Girls

Disale from Solapur district was nominated for a QR code he created so that girls who are forced to skip classes are encouraged to continue their education. The initiative was soon adopted by the Maharashtra government, following which the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) decided to make it available across the country.

“Family background of students in my school is such that girls’ education is not given much importance. After enrolment, many miss studies as they have to stay home to take care of their younger siblings or the household chores when parents go to work. It was important that they remained up to date with the classes, so that there is a better chance of them returning to school soon,” said Disale.

‘Study At Own Convenience’

Disale records his lectures and uploads them on a drive, which can then be accessed by the students, mostly girls, using the QR codes which he had pasted on their textbooks next to the relevant lesson. “Anybody could scan the QR codes and get access to the drive. This was designed especially for girls so that they can study whenever they have time,” he said.

The teacher said the results were positive immediately after he began his initiative in 2014, as girls started taking exams and even scored good marks. This even helped boost their attendance in school. In no time, 300 other schools from Solapur district took up the project, and in just a year, the state government took cognizance of it and gradually extended it to all classes in 2017-18 academic year. He decided to explore the teaching job in 2009 on suggestion of his father, who retired as a teacher from a zilla parishad school. “This journey started in 2010 when I attended a teaching workshop by Microsoft organised by the State Council for Educational Research and Training. There I was introduced to Microsoft’s innovative teachers network from across the world,” recalled Disale, who soon became a part of it in 2015 when he was shortlisted as one of the 300 innovative teachers from across the globe.

$1million
Amount of the prize money

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