Brihaspati Vidya Sadan, a school from Kathmandu enroled in the International School Award (ISA) programme in 2018. Since then, the school has been working to improve its teaching approach through the programme. 

Lily Vaidya, ISA Coordinator for the school shared, “Participating in the ISA programme introduced us to the Project-Based Learning (PBL) approach. The approach was quite new and challenging to the teaching style we follow in our school. That was why we decided to adapt and implement the PBL approach in pedagogy through the programme for whole-school development.” 

As part of the ISA activities, to implement the PBL approach in teaching, the school designed different activities set around real-world issues and challenges. They developed engaging activities related to Sustainable Development Goals and community services to allow students an opportunity to enhance their knowledge as well as soft skills and enable them to find viable solutions to the problems. 

“Soft skills as listening, communicating, collaborating, and critical thinking are now more important than ever. They help students to improve self-awareness and develop their potentials to navigate key life decisions. We have witnessed significant changes in the behaviours of students after implementing the PBL approach in our teaching modality,” shared Lily. 

“For instance, the embedding of the international dimension in curriculum and conducting student-centred activities have exposed students to global collaboration opportunities, communications, building cultural understanding and improving their skills and knowledge of the wider world.” 

“In a country like Nepal, where the pedagogy is highly teacher-centric, the ISA programme has come as a platform for schools to reflect on their teaching practices and invite changes to transform the existing old-school teaching method to next-generation learning,” she added. 

Adapting the PBL approach in teaching has helped Brihaspati Vidya Sadan to promote teamwork, digital literacy and develop long-term knowledge retention in students. Additionally, the collaboration with international schools has allowed them to exchange learning resources and best practices that have not just contributed towards the professional development of teachers but also led to contextualizing ideas for project-based teaching and learning in the school.

The British Council’s International School Award (ISA) is a global accreditation scheme that supports and recognizes schools for incorporating an international dimension in their teaching. The accreditation process support schools to develop action plans and deliver lessons according to the plan. The programme encourages partnerships and collaboration between schools – both internationally and locally.  The ISA is a part of the Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning Programme which is co-funded by the British Council and Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. This global programme is currently being implemented in 34 countries. Across Nepal, over 60 schools were involved in the 2018-19 cycle and over 300 schools participated in the 2019-20 programme.