British Council empowering national schools to compete in global economy


by Sanath Nanayakkare

Developing skills required for the global economy shouldn't wait till one becomes an adult, its foundation needs to be laid within the walls of national schools through digitally resourced projects, connecting with their counterparts overseas, was the theme of the British Council International School Award (ISA) ceremony held last week

The event held on a grand scale at the Eagles' Lakeside Banquet hall in Attidiya, Dehiwela in collaboration with the Ministry of Education was attended by hundreds of students, parents, teachers, and principals from schools island-wide, where Akila Viraj Kariyawasam- Minister of Education was the chief guest.

Sixty eight schools from the remote and urban areas of Badulla, Bandarawela, Chilaw, Colombo, Gampaha , Gampola, Galle, Jaffna, Kandy, Kalutara, Kurunegala, Matara, and Monaragala, received the 'British Council International School Award' at the event.

The British Council International School Award (ISA) is an accreditation scheme that recognizes and celebrates exemplary practices of internationalism in schools. ISA encourages schools to collaborate and innovate with overseas schools to create an enriching learning experience for students through the use of information technology, creative informative practices and a practical context for learning.

Schools that participate in ISA begin by drafting an action plan for an academic year with a minimum of seven projects related to international dimensions covering a range of subject areas and age groups. The schools record their work and present a dossier of evidence that is assessed by a panel. Schools that are successful in meeting the assessment criteria are awarded the accreditation for a period of three years.

The web portal provides opportunities for teachers in Sri Lanka to collaborate with partner schools of other countries in a direct and engaging manner.

The programme combines opportunities for face to face interaction for pupils and teachers around the world and increasingly utilises ICT and digital media to allow schools, students, and teachers in Sri Lanka to engage, connect and interact with their counterparts in UK and other countries.

The British Council in partnership with the Ministry of Education hopes to reach out to 200 schools next year, promoting the integration of an international and global learning to the local curriculum.

The Country Director of British Council Sri Lanka, Keith Davies OBE, commented on the ISA scheme. He said, "One of our most important programmes with schools is called 'Connecting Classrooms' - a global education programme offered by the British Council and UK Aid which supports teachers and school leaders in over 50 countries. This programme aims to create an enhanced teacher-learning experience while developing young people's skills required for the global economy. It provides opportunities for schools, students and teachers in Sri Lanka to digitally engage, connect and interact with their counterparts in the UK and other countries. I am delighted that our work with schools through this programme touches all parts of Sri Lanka including more than 437 schools across all nine provinces.

One of the main advantages of being a part of British Council's Schools Offer is the accessibility and connectivity provided by the British Council's 'Schools Online' website (

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