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Literacy India’s Students connect with a wider world through International exchange programs

Literacy India’s Students connect with a wider world through International exchange programsLiteracy India’s Students connect with a wider world through International exchange programs

Vidyapeeth is a flagship project of Literacy India on holistic education for the underserved and marginalised parent’s children.  Over 1000 children attend this school to receive quality, digital enabled, NEP 2020 compliant education. 

The year 2022 promises to be an exciting one for Literacy India as it deepens its engagement with international exchange programs. Students at the Literacy India’s school are getting ready to exchange ideas and projects on robotics with their counterparts in Greece and Poland. This is an extension of similar virtual collaborations between students and teachers of here and those in these two European countries that took place in 2021.

This exchange program is part of World Unite!, an organization that specialises in international educational programs that facilitate inter-cultural learning and exchange. World Unite! (https://www.world-unite.de) is currently active in 14 countries. The partnership between these two organizations started in 2011 when Chris Engler, the founder of World Unite visited Literacy India. His visit was followed by foreign volunteers and interns who worked at Literacy India in Gurugram. 

Through World Unite! Capt Indraani Singh, the founder of Literacy India, recently connected with Hara Bouta, Headmistress of 5th Primary School of Agia Paraskevi – Helmeio, Athens, Greece, and the convener of this international exchange program, which resulted in the collaboration. At the culmination of the program on December 11, 2021, Literacy India represented the country where Capt. Singh, in her pilot’s uniform, spoke about the engagement. 

During the program, children from different countries held virtual conversations and web-based interactions. Held under the shadow of the pandemic, the participants understood the need for open communication, the value of digital communication, practical application of democratic values and co-operation. The activities took place in real-time during school hours in the classroom or the school yard. The children created artworks, cooked traditional meals of their country, sang songs, danced, and performed in traditional costumes. The sessions were recorded and shared with all the partners.

Another significant effort has been initiated by Erasmus + KA3 Teachers4Europe: Setting an Agora for Democratic Culture (2018-2022). Under this framework a program titled ‘The Wider World Connections and Links’ provided a platform where children from Cyprus, Japan, Poland, Greece, England, and India exchanged experiences on issues covering their countries’ culture, social lives, appreciated different forms of languages, foods, traditions, sports, music, art, history, historic monuments, and geographical settings. This project is using education as the vehicle for the promoting principles and values that encompass a democratic culture which can contribute to better appreciation of multiculturalism. 

From India, children of Literacy India participated in the online exchange programme. During these online meetings children were virtually transported to different corners of the world, where they could watch children of their age and grade learning, communicating, and sharing life experiences. Throughout the past year the students of these countries prepared projects based on their culture to showcase to partner-schools. These tasks were uploaded onto a platform called the ‘Padlet’ that served as a virtual diary of cultural exchange.

According to Mr. Dhananjay and Ms. Kalpana, project co-ordinators at Literacy India, the activities promoted critical and creative thinking, values of democratic co-operation, need for open communication and presentation skills among the students along with a feeling of empathy towards others. “As teachers, it was very exciting to see the students address themes like global citizenship, respect for diversity and tradition”, they said. 

As Capt. Singh says: “In a world characterized by insularity and conflict, it is important to expose students to multiculturalism, help them challenge stereotypes and become aware of their role as global citizens.  Such exchange programmes and projects help create bridges between children from different countries and cultures. Any investment in efforts that promote education, empowerment, and skill development of children will go a long way in protecting the future of our global-village”.

In the words of Hara Bouta: “The goals of the activity have been met since the students practiced communication skills, understood and accepted that everyone is different, yet we are all equal. They were provided with the necessary knowledge and insight to embrace diversity and experienced what it is like to be part of a wider world”.

Mr Chris Engler, the founder of World Unite! Said: “The closure of international borders because of the Covid pandemic in 2020 made us focus on the development of online programs, resulting in innovative new concepts. This facilitated students to connect internationally without travelling. In the days ahead we plan to add more schools in India and other countries, more age groups of students and more topics to discuss and learn about”.

By TIS Staffer
the authorBy TIS Staffer

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