French lessons from a teacher in the UK for students of a school in India. In today’s digital world it’s not an unusual scenario. For the students of Kadvibai Virani Girls’ School, a government-run school in Rajkot town in Gujarat in West India, however, it is a new experience. And it is a result of being involved in the British Council International School Award (ISA).
“Ours is a government-run Gujarati language medium school for girls and caters to students from rural areas and lower-middle class sections of society. For us, the award has meant not only introducing an international dimension in our education but given us the opportunity to introduce the use of Internet among our students, so that they know the world better,” says Sonal Shah, the very pro-active headteacher of a state school in Gujarat and a strong champion of trying new ways of doings things.
Internet and the use of ICT tools is not yet a common phenomenon in Indian schools, even less in government schools. The British Council International School Award (ISA) is a framework for schools to help them integrate an international dimension in the curriculum and encourage innovation in classroom transaction. In 2011, for the first time a group of government schools received the award.
The introduction of computers has changed the way the girls are taught at Kadvibai Virani Girls’ School. “The girls are able to make PowerPoint presentations, create blogs, surf the Internet to collect references, pictures and data for their assignments. Our computer lab remains open so that they get maximum exposure to the world,” adds Sonal. Now, across the country, various state education departments have expressed their interest in the International School Award as a quality improvement framework for state schools.
And when one out of every ten schools ranked top in the city by a leading national newspaper’s survey of top schools in India mentions the achievement of the British Council International School Award as one its unique features, it makes us feel proud and more responsible - proud, because here is an explicit acknowledgement of the value of a British Council programme in raising the bar for the school; responsible, because it sets new benchmarks for us for impeccable programme delivery and high standards of customer service.