Rydon Community College students had the chance to discover more about culture and education in contrasting Indian communities last week, when they welcomed Billy Kwong and Katie James, to their lessons.
Billy and Katie are recently ‘Returned Volunteers’ for the Educational Charity ‘Project Trust,’ having spent 12 months teaching English in Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.
The students had the opportunity to consider various aspects of life in India through different curriculum areas: Learning Hindi characters in Modern Foreign Languages, designing rangoli patterns and mehndi designs in Art and considering the role and importance of education in Geography.
For some Year 8 pupils, the day also provided an opportunity to meet Katie, the volunteer who helped them form a link last year with pupils at Sri Chaitanya High School, in Andhra Pradesh. Female students practised the art of dressing ‘Indian-style,’ appreciating the intricate skills of wearing a sari.
Contrasts in schooling fascinated the students. For Tilly Lock, the thing that surprised her most was the open nature of the publication of exam results and grades, whereas Alex Bridger was interested in the extra demands placed on students by the Indian school system; for example, he commented on the fact that most children go to school on Saturdays and have a longer day.
He was also impressed that the children think it is such a privilege to wear school uniform, that they sometimes wear it on Sundays too!
We were delighted to have this opportunity to support the pupils’ understanding of global citizenship as well as challenging some of their perceptions of schooling in India and rural living.
The day was also an opportunity to discuss the campaign ‘Send All My Friends to School,’ with a particular focus on promoting education for girls.
Report and pictures contributed by Rydon Community College.