Published: 06th December 2019
How the British Council ISA programme fosters the exchange of ideas between schools at an international level
This year, 105 schools from across six South Indian states – Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Kerala – earned the ISA (International School Award) recognition
It is widely accepted that we live in an increasingly cosmopolitan world where there is a strong emphasis on the idea of global citizenship and shared values. In this scenario, a collaboration between schools at the international level will only help advance the overall development of young global citizens of tomorrow. This is exactly what the International School Award (ISA) by the British Council, which was established in 2003, aims to foster.
This year, 105 schools from across six South Indian states – Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Kerala – earned the ISA recognition at a glittering ceremony held on November 29 in Chennai. Nineteen of these 105 schools are in Chennai. South India now has 850 ISA-awardees representing a band of schools committed to providing international exposure to its pupils and faculty to help them become global citizens in the wake of global awareness. We talk to Janaka Pushpanathan, Director, South India British Council to know more.
1. Can you tell us more about the International School Award? What was the purpose behind instituting them?
The International School Award (ISA) is a British Council programme that runs across 31 countries, fostering the exchange of ideas and knowledge between schools at an international level. The underlying objective of the ISA is to encourage schools to include international outlook and global awareness in their curriculum-based work. The ISA aims to instill team building, innovation, and project management in students and teachers alike. Through the International School Award journey, schools in India can not only build solid relationships with schools abroad and work on a range of topics like culture, scientific research and environmental conservation but also improve their own curriculum by sharing best practices and ideas on curriculum development.
2. How does this recognition help schools - teachers and students in particular?
There are many reasons for a school to participate in the International School Award. The award is immensely beneficial in creating a cross-cultural dialogue between students of two or more countries which is so pertinent to the globalised world of today. Additionally, there is an overhaul of teaching methodologies and curriculum-based school work. Furthermore, schools participating in the programme can access the British Council’s virtual platform, ‘Schools Online’, for exchanging ideas and sharing best practices.
By undergoing a year-long journey under the ISA, schools in India can connect with schools internationally and come together to realise a wide range of opportunities to work on a global scale.
3. What is the eligibility criteria?
The ISA recognises and encourages the intent of a school. Any recognised school offering any curriculum - state, national or international - is eligible to apply for the International School Award. The minimum requirements include basic infrastructure, computers with internet facility and at least one teacher with an adequate working knowledge of the English language. The schools that benefit the most are the ones that are proactively seeking ways of improving classroom engagement and would like to see some transformational change from traditional methods to more innovative ones.
4. As part of the programme, students are taught using a methodology that embeds global themes in the curriculum. Could you explain the methodology and why it stands apart from other methods?
ISA has two strands – felicitation and facilitation. While the ISA-awardee schools get recognised for their efforts towards creating an environment that fosters global awareness and an international connection, the programme also facilitates greater knowledge sharing and interaction between the awardees.
We realise that the pursuit of creating global citizens is an ongoing one. A truly global outlook can only be achieved through continuous exposure to global information, knowledge and best-practices at schools across different geographies. ‘Schools Online’ – a virtual platform helps the awardee schools to support and update each other through the exchange of ideas and best practices in their countries.
ISA gives the opportunity for schools to explore and acquire more information about the international dimensions through the projects they undertake. The students are actively and creatively engaged in the activity-based learning process. ISA gives context to practise new skills in information and communication technology and pedagogy in a safe and structured manner.