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Indian village teacher Ranjitsinh Disale, who transformed the life chances of young girls at the Zilla Parishad Primary School, Paritewadi, Solapur, Maharashtra, India, has been named the winner of the Global Teacher Prize 2020, in partnership with UNESCO. Now in its sixth year, the US$1 million award established by the Varkey Foundation is the largest prize of its kind.
The Global Teacher Prize, founded by Indian Education philanthropist Sunny Varkey in 2014, 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.
Mr Disale was selected from over 12,000 nominations and applications from over 140 countries around the world. 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.
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.
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.
On winning the Global Teacher Prize 2020, Ranjitsinh Disale said:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed education and the communities it serves in a multitude of ways. But in this hard time, teachers are giving their best to make sure every student has access to their birthright of a good education.
“Teachers are the real change-makers who are changing the lives of their students with a mixture of chalk and challenges. They always believe in giving and sharing.
“And therefore, I am very pleased to announce that I will share 50% of the prize money equally among my fellow Top 10 finalists to support their incredible work.
I believe, together, we can change this world because sharing is growing”.
Sunny Varkey, founder of the Global Teacher Prize, said:
“Congratulations to Ranjitsinh Disale for winning the Global Teacher Prize 2020. By sharing the prize money you teach the world the importance giving.
“I now encourage you to use this platform to give all teachers a voice. There is not a moment to lose as it will fall on young people to find solutions to problems that their parents and grandparents have lacked the will to solve, including climate change, conflict and global pandemics. We must equip young people with an education that will help them build a better tomorrow and that always starts by listening to teachers.”