New global education programme to reach millions

Wednesday 24 June 2015

More than five million pupils worldwide will benefit from a global education programme connecting UK classrooms to over 30 countries around the world, the British Council and the Department for International Development (DFID) announced today.

Connecting Classrooms is designed to help young people develop the knowledge, skills and values to live and work in a globalised economy, and make a positive contribution locally and globally. The programme, running from 2015-2018, will build the capacity of 45,000 teachers and 12,000 school leaders worldwide to support them to integrate a range of core skills into the curriculum, with a focus on:

  • Digital literacy
  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Creativity and imagination
  • Student leadership
  • Collaboration and communication
  • Citizenship

Connecting Classrooms will aim to improve teaching in both the UK and other countries in the following key areas:

  • Professional development for teachers and school leaders in over 30 countries including the UK;
  • Sustainable partnerships between schools in the UK and over 30 countries in the Middle East, Sub Saharan Africa and South and East Asia;
  • Professional dialogue opportunities for policy makers that will support national and regional level debate, reflection and action;
  • Awards to schools which are successful in equipping young people with the knowledge and skills to live and work in a globalised economy;
  • Online access to high quality resources to support teachers in delivering improved learning outcomes for young people.

The new offer builds upon the success of the first phase of Connecting Classrooms, which ran from June 2012 to June 2015, and focussed on building global awareness and cross-cultural learning amongst young people. This has so far enabled over 18,000 teachers around the world to benefit from professional development training, with over 70% of schools reporting improvements to global citizenship teaching practice as a result.

International Development Minister Baroness Verma said: “We believe in being a country that shapes the world. Today’s school children will be tomorrow’s global leaders and the more they can learn about the world the more they can shape it. Their positive energy and enthusiasm will be vital as we battle inequality and create a safer, healthier and more prosperous world.

“Connecting Classrooms gives young people the chance to act as Britain’s ambassadors across the world. As they interact with and learn more about developing countries they will also show that Britain is determined to leave no one behind.”

British Council Director of Education and Society, Dr Jo Beall said: “As educators, our responsibility is to prepare every young person for their future in the best possible way. Whether you are a young person in Lagos or Glasgow, Dhaka or London, accessing education that supports the development of academic mastery alongside the acquisition of core skills will be crucial to your future success, to the future and wellbeing of others and to the prosperity of our global society as a whole. Young people need and deserve the opportunity to grow into well-rounded, creative and critical citizens, ready to engage with labour markets and shape the future for themselves and future generations.”

Notes to Editor

For more information please contact Tim Sowula, British Council on 0207 389 4871 or tim.sowula@britishcouncil.org

The Department for International Development (DFID) will make a £17 million contribution, for the period June 2015 to June 2018, to a £34 million British Council-run programme for schools, which will support the development of the capacity of developing countries’ education systems and enhance the teaching of development education in the UK.  DFID funding will only be used for activities within the UK and 27 DFID focused countries. The remaining nine countries will be funded wholly by the British Council.

Over the past three years the Connecting Classrooms programme has facilitated thousands of school partnerships and has exceeded expectations on professional development for teachers with over 18,000 benefiting from high quality training in global citizenship, ICT and English language for international exchange.  

For more information on the new Connecting Classrooms programme, please go to: www.britishcouncil.org/connectingclassrooms

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide.

We work in more than 100 countries and our 8,000 staff – including 2,000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year by teaching English, sharing the arts and delivering education and society programmes.

We are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter. A core publicly-funded grant provides less than 20 per cent of our turnover which last year was £864 million. The rest of our revenues are earned from services which customers around the world pay for, through education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisations. All our work is in pursuit of our charitable purpose and supports prosperity and security for the UK and globally.

For more information, please visit: www.britishcouncil.org. You can also keep in touch with the British Council through http://twitter.com/britishcouncil and http://blog.britishcouncil.org/.