Indian village schoolteacher wins $1 million global prize -- and gives half to the runners-up

Ranjitsinh Disale, pictured here learning he had won, received the prize for his work promoting girls' education at a village school in Maharashtra, western India.

(CNN)An Indian schoolteacher has been awarded the 2020 Global Teacher Prize -- and has vowed to give half of the $1 million prize money to the runners-up.

The award, which is run by the Varkey Foundation in partnership with UNESCO, celebrates "exceptional" teachers who have made an outstanding contribution to their profession.
Ranjitsinh Disale, a teacher at Zilla Parishad Primary School, in the village of Paritewadi in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, was chosen as winner from more than 12,000 nominations and applications, from over 140 countries around the world.
    The award recognized his efforts to promote girls' education at the school, whose pupils are mostly from tribal communities.
    The Global Teacher Prize said he learned the local language of the village in order to translate class textbooks into his pupils' mother tongue.
    He also created unique QR codes on the textbooks to give students access to audio poems, video lectures, stories and assignments, greatly improving school attendance. His QR technology is now being rolled out more widely across India.
    The British actor and TV host Stephen Fry announced Disale as the winner at a virtual ceremony broadcast from the Natural History Museum in London on Thursday.
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