Fifty-seven schools from remote and urban areas of Anuradhapura, Batticaloa, Colombo, Galle, Jaffna, Kandy, Kegalle, Kurunegala and Matara received the ‘British Council International School Award’ at an award ceremony held recently at the Hilton, Colombo.
Additional Solicitor General, Suhada Gamlath, graced the occasion as the chief guest and the event was attended by hundreds of students, teachers, and principals from schools island-wide.
The British Council International School Award (ISA) is an accreditation scheme that recognises and celebrates exemplary practices of international learning in schools. It encourages schools to collaborate and innovate with schools overseas to create a rich learning experience for students through the use of information technology, creative teaching methodology and real context for learning. Working towards the ISA accreditation gives pupils and teachers a new perspective on the world and the skills to work in a global economy.
Country Director of the British Council in Sri Lanka, Keith Davies, speaking at the International School Award Ceremony said: “Much of our work is with schools and one of our most important programmes is 'Connecting Classrooms' – a global education programme delivered by the British Council and UK Aid. Schools that are active participants in the Connecting Classrooms programme can apply for accreditation in the form of the British Council’s International School Award (ISA). This year, we are proud to announce that 57 schools from Sri Lanka, are being awarded ISA accreditation, having executed seven or more exciting international projects in their schools, which has brought an international dimension to students, teachers and their communities. I warmly congratulate the award winners and appreciate the hard work required to achieve ISA accreditation.”
Schools begin their pursuit for the accreditation by drafting an action plan for the academic year of activities with an international learning outcome. These action plans, developed by the schools, cover a range of subject areas for different age groups. The schools record their work and present a portfolio of evidence at the end of the academic year. This portfolio is assessed by an assessment panel and schools that are successful in meeting the assessment criteria are awarded the accreditation of a British Council ‘International School Award’, which is valid for a period of three years.
The programme combines opportunities for face to face interaction for pupils and teachers around the world and increasingly utilises ICT and digital media to allow schools, students, and teachers in Sri Lanka to engage, connect and interact with their counterparts in UK and other countries.
The programme reaps many benefits for students and teachers alike. One of the main advantages of being a part of Connecting Classrooms is the accessibility and connectivity provided by the British Council’s ‘School’s Online’ website (schoolsonline.britishcouncil.org) This portal provides opportunities for teachers in Sri Lanka to collaborate with partner schools of other countries in a direct and engaging manner. The programme also helps to design, develop and implement projects in schools, which create international and global awareness for both teachers and students. It also optimises their opportunities for networking, and the award itself gives British Council accreditation to the schools.
The British Council in partnership with the Ministry of Education, hopes to reach out to 350 new schools next year, promoting the integration of an international and global learning to the local curriculum.