At a time when the South Asian countries, including Nepal, are working to improve their curriculum to make it at par with the international standards, policy makers and educators from Nepal, India and Sri Lanka explored the correct context on leading and embedding International dimensions in school curriculum.
“The policy engagement was organized to provide a platform for stakeholders of the education sector from Nepal, Sri Lanka, and India to engage in a discussion on where they are currently with preparing their students for a place in the global economy and how they might embed the international dimension in their schools,” said British Council.
Connecting Classrooms is a British Council and UKaid co-funded program for schools. The main purpose of the program is to provide schools with support to nurture global citizenship giving them skills, knowledge, values and aptitudes to succeed in a global economy.
The four strands of the Connecting Classroom Program are partnership, continuous Professional Development, International School Award, and Policy Dialogue.
According to a press release issued by British Council, to support the four strands we have activities to facilitate Nepali schools for international school partnership, to provide teachers with online and offline professional development opportunity, to offer benchmarking schemes for schools, to encourage collaborative teaching and learning through digital platform. We build relationships and work with education policy makers, encouraging them to develop best practices in education and global citizenship and support Nepal's national priorities. Connecting Classroom has over 200 schools in its network and over 1000 teachers have participated in various British Council schools activities online and face to face.
During the event, schools from Sri Lanka and Nepal shared their positive impact stories in the learning and teaching methodology in the classroom after embedding international dimension in their own local curriculum.
The special guests present were H.M.N Herath, Provincial Education Director for the North Western Province, Ministry of Education Sri Lanka, Dr Balchandra Luitel, Acting Dean, Kathmandu University School of Education, Dr Bal Krishna Ranjit, Deputy Director, Curriculum Development Centre, Khagaraj Baral, Executive Director, National Centre for Educational Development and Hari Lamsal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Education.
“I am honored to be here today and would like to thank British Council for taking such an innovative initiative. We want our children to respect our identity and embrace diversity at the same time as we are a multi lingual country. Therefore, it is equally very important to embed national and international dimension,” said Dr. Lava Deo Awasthi, Director General of Department of Education and chief guest of the program.
“I fully concur that it is time to bring about change in our present curriculum and provide quality education. We are working collaboratively with the British Council in planning in joint curriculum mapping to analyze and identify areas for project based learning as per curriculum need. We assure our full commitment in deconstructing and revising our existing curriculum to transform and embed new international dimension in our teaching and learning,” said Dr. Bal Krishna Ranjit, Deputy Director of Curriculum Development Centre.
Experts stress the need to improve the curriculum. “We need to change attitudes of teachers and students, and move away from rote learning and also rote teaching, especially in Grades 9 and 10 in preparation for the SLC examination. Instead we need to encourage and support creative teaching and learning, especially for 21st Century Skills, such as decision making, problem solving, self-awareness and empathy, whilst also covering all relevant areas of our subject whether it be Mathematics or English or Physics, and also the curriculum as instructed by the Government. We learnt today that it is possible to do all three without creating extra work for the teacher; in fact it can often reduce the workload, so we need a change in attitude,” said
“We are looking forward to working closely with the Ministry of Education to carry out the curriculum mapping exercise which will support teachers to do exactly this. The curriculum mapping will identify resources and materials that can be used in the classroom, or for reference, so that teachers can move away from following text books from the beginning to the end,” said Dr Jovan Ilic, Acting Country Director, British Council Nepal.
The British Council through our Connecting Classrooms project not only links schools from Nepal to the UK but also schools from all round the world. By creating those links we are trying to nurture greater understanding of society and what shapes us as individuals. This learning can then be used for action to create a better and fairer world.