"I have learned so much both professionally and personally, this experience has given me the opportunity that I have needed to grow as a person and a teacher."
Faculty, from one of the Swindon Cluster Schools
One of the prominent results of this shift is that more students are participating and winning inter zonal competitions in English writing, storytelling, debate, and recitation from these government-aided schools. The bagpipes became popular, not only as a cultural symbol, but also as a musical instrument and the participating schools have made it a part of their school bands. One of the Indian teacher shares her experience, “The UKIERI programme has helped students integrate with the outside world. Since a number of students come from underprivileged backgrounds, this has been a huge window of opportunity.”
Participating schools in the UK too have benefited immensely from the programme by learning more about Indian art and culture through music, games & festivals. This has resulted in enhancing the educational experience of both teachers and students and has helped establish strong networking links between both the countries.
In order to gain fi rst-hand experience, and discover best practices, faculty members from India and UK visited each other’s schools. The overall curriculum and teaching methods were discussed. ‘Learning by Doing’ methodology, practised in the UK schools, is being implemented gradually among the Indian schools. The schools believe that their curriculum has been enriched through this shared learning and they have enhanced their understanding of the interdependence of diverse groups within societies. It has been a medium for facilitation of common understanding of the education systems of the UK and India and has helped to integrate various educational practises of both countries with the power of technology. As a ‘way forward,’ the schools are now focusing on specific aspects such as the use of theatre as a medium for in-depth understanding of culture and heritage, a greater teacher and student exchange programme to further the goal of creating global citizens, and exchange of audio and video aids towards enhancing socio-cultural awareness.
The project has been mentioned in the media, and has received enthusiastic responses from parents and the local community. An Indian restaurant in the UK showed its support by hosting an ‘Indian Cookery Day’ for 60 students. The schools involved in the cluster partnership have decided to continue their mutually rewarding association to further strengthen the links established.
The cluster schools have made tremendous progress towards initiating the concept of global citizenship amongst students. The benefits have been mutual and can be best summed by one of the quotes from a teacher from the UK who participated in the project, “I have learned so much both professionally and personally, this experience has given me the opportunity that I have needed to grow as a person and a teacher.”