School Teacher Translates Textbooks

Ranjitsinh Disale (Photo used with permission from the Varkey Foundation)

Congratulations to Ranjitsinh Disale on being nominated for a prestigious prize for innovations in girls' education. Good to read that "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."

Seeing the initiative from this teacher is encouraging. It would be interesting to find out more about his approach. From the newspaper clippings I understand that he is working in a tribal area in Maharashtra. It is likely that he has pupils from different tribal groups and therefore might have translated the textbooks into Marathi, the state language. But the fact that there are already textbooks available in Marathi make me wonder if he localised it and used a local dialect mixed with tribal words?

The most innovative part is the inclusion of QR codes. I assume that these audio poems and stories are including the tribal languages and cultures of the children. Working with QR codes in textbooks is not new, but if this indeed also works for tribal areas, this has great potential for celebrating the languages and cultures of the children. One can imagine that the textbooks might be in the language of wider communication while this is supplemented with the QR codes with explanations, stories, songs and examples in local languages.

A major reason why this teacher was nominated for a global prize might be that his approach not only improved education itself but also had a positive impact on the community. “His interventions have ensured that there are now no teenage marriages in the village and 100 per cent attendance of girls at the school.” That is a big boost for localising the school curriculum so that students feel connected and engaged with it!