British Council’s Schools programme has been designed to help education systems to develop 21st century skills in children. This is by developing capacities of teachers, head teachers and policy makers on effective teaching of 21st century skills in their classrooms and schools for setting up a sustainable platform for children to practice these skills in their schools and in social life.
The fast expansion of technology, innovation and globalisation is also shaping its needs. Local economies have become global economies. Entrepreneurs, employers, employees and customers, all should acquire higher order skills to be successful in global economic contexts.
Future citizens, today’s children, should acquire skills to work in a globalised economy. Students cannot learn these skills only through conventional educational methodologies. Teachers, head teachers and educators need more innovative, interesting, creative and unconventional approaches to teach and learn these skills.
UNESCO explains these skills as essential life skills. Future workplaces might be technology driven and require 21st century skills to work with people from different cultures and backgrounds. The skills of critical thinking, creative thinking, effective communication, digital literacy, citizenship and student leadership will enhance productivity, sustainability, create responsible citizens, bring about effective work life balance etc.
British Council Schools team works to help Sri Lankan teachers and students to develop these skills over the years. British Council has impacted more than 100,000 people in education sector of the country through its schools projects over the last five years. 550 schools have received the International School Award, 1,600 teachers trained through the Core Skills Professional development programme and 670 school principals have received leadership training.
We are connecting more than 100,000 schools across the globe with local schools to develop partnerships and international learning of local schools. British Council’s Schoolsonline website (https://schoolsonline.britishcouncil.org) helps to develop international education in local schools by creating meaningful connections with educational institutions on a global scale.
Embedding international learning (learning about other countries, cultures, education) into your classroom also deepens students’ understanding and respect for the world around them.
Today’s education systems and young people in education face some daunting challenges. Employers are demanding higher-order cognitive skills from their workforce, as opposed to the traditional manual and lower-order cognitive skills. If economies are to be successful in the long term, our young people need to be enabled to:
Generate and implement new ideas, solutions and products
Use digital tools to enable knowledge discovery, creation of resources and communication
Apply their knowledge to solve real-world problems.
In order to do so, there is growing consensus that school systems need to be clear about the purposes of education and develop young people with core skills and competencies that relate to the world in which they are living and will live (often known as 21st century skills or deep learning skills ), which include:
Ways of working: communication and collaboration
Ways of thinking: critical thinking, problem solving, creativity and innovation, learning to learn and metacognition
Tools for working: information literacy, information and communication technology (ICT) literacy
Ways of living in the world: global citizenship and civic responsibility, including cultural awareness and competence.
A young person in Colombo, London or New York, accessing education that supports the development of academic mastery alongside the acquisition of core skills will be crucial to our future success, to the future and wellbeing of others and to the prosperity of our global society as a whole.
Connecting Classroom Programme III aims to develop young people with core skills and competencies that relate to the world in which they are living and will live. Additionally, this programme helps to develop leadership capacity of head teachers and students through its schools leadership offer along with the prestigious International School Award (ISA) accreditation scheme to enhance international curriculum work in schools.
Phase I and II of this programme was successfully implemented during 2009 -2015 in partnership with Ministry of Education.
British Council expressed its gratitude to the Ministry of Education’s commitment in strengthening this partnership over the past nine years. This programme is currently been implemented in over 50 countries around the world including all South Asian countries.