Anju Lama, International School Award (ISA) Coordinator of Gyanodaya School says the introduction to ISA was life-changing for her. With very limited prior knowledge of ICT, she struggled to work together in teams and prepare for presentations. Since her school joined the programme and she was trained in computer courses, basic skills like making slides, writing emails have made her work as a leader easier. She is also better at integrating collaborations into school activities since the trainings.
She had her own set of challenges in running the program at her school. The school has a large number of students, so it was difficult to get the teachers to make the switch from theoretical learning to project-based learning. So initially, as a model, two or three students from each class learnt in the project-based approach and went back into their classrooms to teach their peers. The other teachers often complained that their students have forgotten how to study because of the project works. She would try to convince them that the theories would see them through school and give them certificates, but the practical learnings would stay for lifetime.
In 2018, teachers from the school went to Korea for ICT training for 10 days and. got in touch with the Korean schools. When they came back, they started making and proposing projects and were happy with the progress. Lama elaborates, “The world has become so narrow that we know what is happening on the other side of the world. If, as teachers, we are able to set the habits of students from a very young age to learn, interact, and collaborate with each other across classrooms, they will be able to adapt to the world around them quickly, be more open to learning and be better global citizens.”
The school also organized competitions, exhibitions, awards to encourage project-based works. The students have become very active since. They still struggle to accommodate the large number of students in the competitions, but Coordinator Lama values the effect of project-based learning. She shares, “Every year we make the tenth-grade students participate in a project where they cook a variety of dishes and are given marks for it. I remember a student who was weak in his studies but participated so well in the competition. I look at this student and think about how important the practical things in life are.”
Nati Kaji Maharjan, the principal believes the work of ISA is important enough for it to be applied in classrooms across the country. He says, “It is difficult to work in all schools across Nepal and British Council has helped a lot of schools through the years. Schools that have integrated the program into their curriculums can become focal points and continue the work of ISA with more schools around them.”