A teacher from India won this year's Global Teacher Prize and received $1 million as prize money but he decided to share half of the amount received by the organizers with the runners-up in the competition. His decision to split the prize means that each of the runners-up from countries including Italy, Brazil, Vietnam, Malaysia, South Africa, South Korea, Nigeria, the US, and the UK will get $53,900.
Another teacher from the UK who ran a free math tuition website received a special COVID Hero prize this year. The winners of the competition were announced by well-known British actor Stephen Fry during an online ceremony.
A Teacher from Rural India
The Indian teacher, Ranjitsinh Disale, who works as a teacher at a district primary school, located in India's state of Maharashtra, has been named as the world's most exceptional teacher among 12,000 nominations.
Citing the Coronavirus pandemic situation, the 32-year-old teacher said that at this time, all the teachers are giving their best to make sure every student has access to "their birthright of a good education." He also added that teachers always believe in giving and sharing, as he shared half of the prize money with other shortlisted teachers in the top 10. The founder of the Varkey Foundation that set up the teachers' competition, Sunny Varkey said that by sharing the prize "you teach the world the importance of giving".
Disale, who teaches in the drought-prone Maharashtra village of Paritewadi, was praised by the competition judges for his contribution to improving the education of girls—specifically for his work to ensure that disadvantaged girls are going to schools and achieving high results, instead of dropping out of the school and getting married at an early age. Indian teachers also provided online science classes for young students from 83 countries.
Stefania Giannini, assistant director-general of Unesco, a partner in the competition said the Coronavirus pandemic has dealt a severe blow to the education system not only in one country but all around the globe. But according to her the efforts from the teachers are "making the difference".
Who Is the Covid Hero?
Jamie Frost, a teacher from UK's Tiffin School in Kingston-upon-Thames won the Covid Hero prize worth around $45,800 He was commended for his role in running the DrFrostMaths online learning platform that helped many students trying study from home during the lockdowns.
He warned that the COVID-19 pandemic, which claimed more than 59,000 lives in the UK, had widened educational inequalities and understanding the seriousness of the situation "I have spent every hour I could adapting my free online learning platform" to help those students around the world who could not get back to their schools because of the global healthcare crisis.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson also praised Frost's efforts. Johnson said, "It's right that we take time to recognize the enormous contribution and sacrifice of the world's teachers during this pandemic."