New global education programme to reach millions

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The FINANCIAL — More than five million pupils worldwide will benefit from a global education programme connecting UK classrooms to over 30 countries around the world, the British Council and the Department for International Development (DFID) announced on June 24.

Connecting Classrooms is designed to help young people develop the knowledge, skills and values to live and work in a globalised economy, and make a positive contribution locally and globally. The programme, running from 2015-2018, will build the capacity of 45,000 teachers and 12,000 school leaders worldwide to support them to integrate a range of core skills into the curriculum, with a focus on:

Digital literacy
Critical thinking and problem solving
Creativity and imagination
Student leadership
Collaboration and communication

Connecting Classrooms will aim to improve teaching in both the UK and other countries in the following key areas:

Professional development for teachers and school leaders in over 30 countries including the UK;
Sustainable partnerships between schools in the UK and over 30 countries in the Middle East, Sub Saharan Africa and South and East Asia;
Professional dialogue opportunities for policy makers that will support national and regional level debate, reflection and action;
Awards to schools which are successful in equipping young people with the knowledge and skills to live and work in a globalised economy;
Online access to high quality resources to support teachers in delivering improved learning outcomes for young people.

The new offer builds upon the success of the first phase of Connecting Classrooms, which ran from June 2012 to June 2015, and focussed on building global awareness and cross-cultural learning amongst young people. This has so far enabled over 18,000 teachers around the world to benefit from professional development training, with over 70% of schools reporting improvements to global citizenship teaching practice as a result.

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International Development Minister Baroness Verma said: “We believe in being a country that shapes the world. Today’s school children will be tomorrow’s global leaders and the more they can learn about the world the more they can shape it. Their positive energy and enthusiasm will be vital as we battle inequality and create a safer, healthier and more prosperous world.

“Connecting Classrooms gives young people the chance to act as Britain’s ambassadors across the world. As they interact with and learn more about developing countries they will also show that Britain is determined to leave no one behind.”

British Council Director of Education and Society, Dr Jo Beall said: “As educators, our responsibility is to prepare every young person for their future in the best possible way. Whether you are a young person in Lagos or Glasgow, Dhaka or London, accessing education that supports the development of academic mastery alongside the acquisition of core skills will be crucial to your future success, to the future and wellbeing of others and to the prosperity of our global society as a whole. Young people need and deserve the opportunity to grow into well-rounded, creative and critical citizens, ready to engage with labour markets and shape the future for themselves and future generations.”


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