Education is no longer just about learning the facts in this fast-paced and constantly changing world. There is growing consensus that school systems need to develop young people with certain core skills and competencies (also known as 21st Century skills or Deep Learning skills) in order to help them reach their full potential. However, the majority of education systems around the world is failing to equip young people with the skills they need in this rapidly changing environment.
The British Council has been running the Connecting Classrooms Programme, co-funded by the Department for International Development since 2009 in Bangladesh in order to respond to the needs of teaching 21st century skills. It has been building capacity of teachers and head teachers from secondary level across Bangladesh to support them to integrate a range of core skills into the curriculum. This will ultimately contribute to young people having enhanced knowledge, understanding and skills for living and working in a global economy. It will also enable young people to contribute responsibly to society, both locally and globally.
Developing a professional partnership with internationally-minded teachers from overseas schools is one of the key strands of Connecting Classroom Programme. UK teachers have been invited to exchange knowledge and techniques on embedding the core skills in the classroom with their Bangladeshi partner school in Chittagong and Sunamgonj. Two UK teachers from Thornhill School Business and Enterprise College visited Mirza Ahmed Ispahani High School, Chittagong and two teachers from Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Engineering College visited Chandranath Girls’ High School, Sunamgonj.
Two schools from Bangladesh built the partnership with UK schools to share knowledge and experience. They did joint projects on interesting topics like engineering activities, environment, physical education, etc. They used the online platform to make the students in Bangladesh and the UK engaged in collaborative projects. Through this visit Bangladeshi students got the opportunity to learn from the UK teachers directly. It created a space for learning and sharing for Bangladeshi and the UK teachers.
The British Council and the District Education office arranged a conference on ‘Empowering Students with Core Skills’ head teachers and teachers from Sunamgonj district to join the one day conference which is a part of this partnership visit.
In Chittagong around 100 and in Sunamgonj around 70 teachers and head teachers attended the conference. District Education Officers, Upazila Secondary Education Officers and Government officials were also present in the conference at both the places. It created a platform to update the participants what exactly core skills are, why they matter and how to integrate these skills into key subjects. It showed them the way to facilitate sharing of good teaching and learning practices to enhance the development of core skills of students. This conference gave the participants an opportunity to initiate dialogue between Bangladeshi and UK teachers to develop better understanding about the challenges and opportunities in developing core skills.