A primary school teacher from a village in Maharashtra has made an entry to the list of top 10 finalists for the $1 million annual Global Teacher Prize 2020. The teacher entered in recognition of his efforts at promoting girls’ education and triggering a quick-response (QR) coded textbook revolution in India.
Ranjit Sinh Disale, 31, arrived at the Zilla Parishad Primary School in Paritewadi village in Solapur district in 2009 when it was a dilapidated building, sandwiched between a cattleshed and a storeroom.
He took on the task of turning things around and ensuring that the textbooks were available in the local language for the pupils. Disale 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 teenage marriages in the village and 100 per cent attendance of girls at the school.
Disale’s school was 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. In 2018, the human resources development ministry announced that all the National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT) textbooks would have embedded QR codes.