“International School Award (ISA) is more than just a programme. It is an opportunity for schools to bring school leaders and teachers back into education reform,” says Kuber Prasad Bhetuwal, headteacher of Shree Manakamana Ratna Ambika Secondary School, Sankhuwasabha district, Province one of Eastern Nepal. 

Enrolled in the British Council’s ISA programme in 2019, Shree Manakamana School is one of the full-award winning schools of ISA batch 2019-20. With their involvement in the ISA programme, the school has been continuously working to improve the quality of education and expand learning opportunities for their students as well as teachers. 

Kuber believes that changing roles and improving school leadership is important to bring any kind of shifts in the education or teaching system. For Kuber and his team, this shift came with their enrolment in the ISA programme. 

“Participating in the ISA programme has pushed our teachers, school leaders, and students to come together and work as a team. From the planning of project activities to implementation and evaluation, we had to team up and play our role well. This process has not just helped teachers and students to take lead and work collectively but also encouraged them to challenge the existing teaching strategies and initiate changes in our teaching and learning system,” says Kuber. 

The Manakamana School that practiced the teacher-centered approach for years has now gradually adapted the learner-centered approach to teaching, integrating digital technologies in lessons and framing collaborative activities with an international dimension to support the curriculum. With the trainings they received from the British Council, they have improved their core teaching skills and broaden their understanding of teaching effectively in a changing environment. The teachers in school now conduct lessons practically and seek creative ways to engage students in discussions, critical thinking, and problem-solving activities. 

“Very often we tend to ignore or unsee the potentialities of students as well as teachers, which breaks the whole process of teaching and learning. But the ISA programme activities have just equipped us to hold it together,” shares Kuber. 

“Our enrolment in the ISA has helped us to identify our strengths, weaknesses, and design activities in a way to prepare students and teachers with the skills required in this globalized world. It has supported us to change our perceptions and reform the present education system in our school with the resources we have. This would have been challenging for us without ISA,” he adds.

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.