Ten schools in Northern Ireland wrapped up for summer last week by welcoming delegates from Nepal.
The schools are taking part in the British Council and DFID (Department for International Development) funded ‘Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning’ programme (CCGL), which see them link with schools across Nepal in a bid to equip their pupils with the skills, knowledge and values to make a positive contribution to society.
Led by St Mary’s PS in Mullaghbawn, the ten schools welcomed their visitors through a week-long programme, including a very special showcase event at Killeavy Castle in Co Armagh. The event, filled with traditional music, dancing and song, was a chance to celebrate the achievements of all 20 schools, with each demonstrating how their joint-projects focus on UN Sustainable Development Goals - including gender equality, life on land and clean water and sanitation.
During the event, St Mary’s demonstrated how, over the last few years, they have been partnering with Jhapa Model English School in Demak, Nepal and aim to promote Gender Equality through digital literacy and coding.
Using technology, the pupils create a virtual classroom to communicate and share work with each other, and together use coding for a problem-solving project which focuses on raising the profile of girls.
Speaking about the project was Ciara Crawley, St Mary’s International Co-ordinator.
She said: “We’re delighted to welcome our Nepalese guests to Northern Ireland who we were lucky enough to visit last year. Today’s event is a great way to share and celebrate what we have achieved together so far on this Connecting Classrooms project and we hope this is a springboard for future collaboration.
“The pupils love to see international visitors – and through project like this, not only do they learn about their own country, but also about others and it’s so important - especially now - to give them that international outlook.”
The Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning programme has been designed to build long-term partnerships between schools and communities in the UK and countries around the world. It runs in 29 countries, as well as in schools in Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales, and aims to equip pupils with the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes to live and work in a global economy.
The Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning programme is part of an initiative that introduces the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, also known as the Global Goals, to students and teachers in the UK and around the world. The goals are designed to deliver a more sustainable future for all and include tackling hunger, providing clean water and supplying affordable, clean energy.
It provides teachers with the resources and training to teach internationally and, as part of this, partnered schools work together on a project focusing on one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and receive funding for reciprocal visits.
Also speaking about the programme Jonathan Stewart, Director, British Council Northern Ireland, said:
“Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning provides our young people with an opportunity to develop the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to thrive in an increasingly global society.
“The partnership between Northern Ireland schools and those in Nepal shows the huge impact these connections can have on pupils, teachers and the local community. We hope schools across Northern Ireland continue to sign up to take part.”
Schools interested in being part of the Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning (CCGL) programme can sign up and find a partner school by going to: www.britishcouncil.org/connectingclassrooms and selecting the part of the programme they are interested in, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next deadline for applications is 7 October 2019.