British Council ISA: Celebrating Internationalism in Schools
By Parimal Paul
Adding an international dimension to education is an essential component of well – rounded education. It promotes international understanding and develops cultural awareness in learners thus providing them with the skills they need to mature into global citizens. It also provides them with the exposure they need to understand and tackle real-world issues. Young learners who foster a spirit of internationalism respect the need to preserve and celebrate national identity, cultures and traditions and heritage. Partnering with learners across the globe helps them to connect with peers, exchange points of view and ideas and appreciate diversity.
The British Council International School Award (ISA) is an accreditation scheme that recognises and celebrates exemplary practices of internationalism in school. It provides a framework for schools to develop an action plan and implement international activities throughout the year and encourages schools to collaborate with those in other countries to create a rich learning experience. For teachers, it enables the exchange of creative ideas, improved pedagogical practices within a real context for learning.
ISA was introduced in the year 2003 and Rajagiri Public School, Kalamassery embarked upon its first ISA journey in 2004. The school has been the proud recipient of ISA for four consecutive times. The brilliant projects, executed under the leadership of Mrs. Ruby Antony, Vice Principal of the school, have sensitised our students to international challenges that the world of tomorrow need to face in unison. It gave the school a platform to recognise and share an international work with a large cross-section of students, parents, teaching fraternity and the community at large.
The projects helped to render a distinct festive look to our school when we celebrated special morning assemblies, days of international importance, literary and cultural festival, display boards, skits etc. The gamut of interdisciplinary activities as part of ISA transformed the teaching and learning process of our school. Successful partnerships with schools in UK, China, Singapore, U.S and Sri Lanka promoted in- depth research skills in students and teachers.
To support and guide schools towards embedding internationalism in the curriculum the British Council Award has three entry levels:
1. Foundation Certificate
This is awarded to schools that are preparing to introduce internationalism in their school and establish international partnerships, forming the foundation for future international collaborative work.
1. Appoint an international coordinator.
information about the award and contact information for Indian schools from
3. Do the groundwork and prepare their school to start a partnership with a school in another country.
4. Complete two curriculum activities with international dimension in six months.
5. Plan activities across the school so that at least 20% of all pupils will participate in at least one activity across the time period of the entire school academic calendar.
This is awarded to schools that have already started their international journey and have established relations with international partners. Schools are now gaining experience of working on collaborative projects and increasing the level of activity and impact in the school.
1 . Appoint an international co-coordinator(s)/ committee.
2. Write an International policy to ensure that it expresses the school’s commitment for nurturing global citizenship and enriching education.
3. Establish partnership with a school in another country.
4. Complete four curriculum activities with international dimension and skills in one academic year, at least one of which in collaboration with a partner school in another country. The activities should demonstrate the expected outcomes of nurturing global citizenship and enriching education and involve at least 50% of the curriculum subjects in the school.
5. Plan international activities across the school so that approximately half of all pupils participate at some point during their time at the school. Appoint an international co-coordinator(s)/ committee.
British Council International School Award
This accreditation is given to schools who are experienced in working with international partners on a range of projects, sustaining activity throughout the academic year, and embedding international learning across the whole school and curriculum.
1. Appoint an international co-coordinator(s)/ committee.
2. Revise and develop the international policy to ensure that it expresses the school’s commitment for nurturing global citizenship and enriching education.
3. Complete seven curriculum activities with international dimension and skills in one academic year, at least three of which must be undertaken in collaboration with partner school(s) in another country(s). The activities should demonstrate the expected outcomes of nurturing global citizenship and enriching education and involve at least 80% of the curriculum subjects in the school.
4. Plan international activities across the school so that 80% of all pupils participate at some point during their time at the school
Let us work for a community wherein students actively seek and celebrate differences and appreciate diversity and grow into global citizens.
 This section has been adapted from existing British Council resources and information packs