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.

In his winning speech, Mr Disale shocked the judges by making the extraordinary announcement that he will share half the prize money with his fellow Top 10 finalists. The fellow 9 finalists will receive a share of £350,000.  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.

Mr Disale was selected from over 12,000 nominations and applications from over 140 countries around the world. The Global Teacher Prize 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.

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.

Ranjitsinh Disale winning the Global Teacher Prize

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.

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