Kalika Manavgyan Secondary School in Butwal stands at 6000 students strong and is one of the largest government schools in the country. The school was also a recipient of International School Award (ISA) for 2016-2017 and has been involved with the program since 2006. 

“Teaching has become easier since the school started working according to ISA standards,” shares Ebaraj Tiwari, ISA coordinator and English teacher.  “When we were teaching students to memorize, it was a lot of work for us. Now all we need to do is guide them. What they learn by exploring on their own stays with them for their lifetime.”

Through Connecting Classrooms, the students get to know more about the world around them and form global connections with students in distant classrooms. There isn’t a better way to connect with other cultures than through their cuisine. As a part of their global collaboration, they taught students in Pakistan how to make sel-roti and learnt how to make lachha parathaa and biryani. Through this process, they both exchanged recipes and enhanced their digital skills. 

Projects help students immerse in their local context. The students of grade 7 went to Tinau River for a field visit and discovered that there are only 4 types of sedimentary rocks along the river. They made scrapbooks to record their observations and presented it to the municipality. This was later integrated into the local curriculum. The project left a lasting impression of how important local curriculums are for the students. Tiwari thinks the addition of local curriculum enables students to find local connections. He says, “It is easier for us to take them to Jit Gadhi fort and talk about it instead of Red Fort or Nalapani Fort.”

The innovative pedagogical approach of cross-curricular, project-based education makes them well-rounded critical thinkers. Coordinator Tiwari recalls the well thought out questions the students posed to the mayor and deputy mayor of Butwal Sub-metropolitan city during a school trip. Abipsa Poudel, a student brought up the issue of street children and their living conditions. The local media applauded her questions. Tiwari believes these little milestones provides students with confidence and power to ask questions, communicate and lead  in the longer run. 

The successful projects run by the school has made it into an ISA hub. The school is planning for a local ‘one teacher, one project’ program that has the potential to be one of the biggest in Nepal.  The school has partnered with 64 international schools, 15 of whom they’ve collaborated with. They are working on ‘national anthem project’, where the students would learn and teach national anthems from nine schools of SAARC countries and the UK. They have learnt three national anthems so far.