Education Innovation: Connect – Collaborate – Innovate

6 Things to Learn from Schools around the World


International School Partnerships, Connecting Classrooms and Foreign Exchange Programs are only some of the steps education institutions are doing to make education more globalized. From speaking with educators from all over the world, it has been understood that schools are now looking to create a visual school network in order to sustain an on-going dialogue with schools all over the world. Keeping in mind this trend in education EDINVERSITY walks you through five major concepts from schools worldwide that will make you rethink your idea of schooling.  

1. Beginning age:

family-iconSome academicians criticize those education systems where students are required to start school at a “late” age. In the U.S. children begin school at the age of 5. In countries such as Sweden, Denmark and Finland, school doesn’t begin until the age of seven. Educators in India and the U.K where schooling begins at age 3, ridicule this practice. They believe that it is too late an age for students to start learning.  However, research has found that it is best to send students to school at an age when they start acting rational. Having formal lessons too early can put bright children off learning altogether.

2. Patriotism:


Patriotism forms the backbone of American public school education. A typical school day begins with the Pledge of Allegiance, every classroom displays an American flag and a flag is raised everyday over the school. All  students are taught the songs of the American civil religion the national anthem. Since the beginning of public school education, educators were expected to teach students about the history, culture, and symbols of America and to encourage students to feel part of the nation. In the United States public schools are viewed by the public as an institutional expression of national pride, as they are considered the exemplary governmental instrument for building a strong and vibrant national community. Students and families came from a wide variety of national and ethnic origins, and the public schools were expected to teach everyone about the duties and privileges of citizenship in the country.

3. Education is real !!

indian girl studentIn China, there is going to be another major overhaul of the education system, the 2020 education reform plan, which will update the curriculum to meet ‘real-world’ needs. For instance, math will no longer emphasize a student’s response time and the need to memorize complex and barely ever used math formulae. In science, inauthentic demonstrations, calculations, and drills will be replaced with real world experiments that students can use to see the real world application with an emphasis on new energy, health, and conservation. This country also plans to send China also has announced a new plan to send 50,000 principals to study successful schools in other countries to gain new perspectives and learn best practices.

4. Sports and Extra Curricular activities:

school_sports(2)In the U.S. much emphasis is laid on sports in schools. At the high school level, they are a very important part of the school life. In some areas of the country, schools play American football games on Friday nights, which is a fad in the Fall and crowds of 10,000 come out to watch some football games. Even sports like Basketball, Baseball are encouraged. Most schools have a full offering of sports, from golf to tennis to track and field. Moreover, every year there is a ‘physical education’ requirement that means students will have to switch into running clothes and play some physical activity for at least an hour a day Extracurricular activities range from Drama clubs to Math societies to Future Farmers of America (FFA). There are dozens of activities and students are often encouraged to get involved. A student who focuses on only getting good grades will still have a problem getting into a top U.S. university if they have not participated in enough extra-curricular activities.

5. Degree of parental involvement:

1stop-banner_parents_0Schools in the U.S. have made parental involvement almost duty-like in some school districts. In some of these schools parents are expected to pitch in and volunteer their time to helping the school and their kids. Some schools invite parents to chaperone a school dance or a field trip or sometimes invite them to speak at ‘What my Mom/Dad does at work day. Some other schools hold auctions where parents are asked to overbid on silly items the proceeds of which go to fund certain school functions. Schools in the U.S. have formal organizations like the Parent-Teachers Association (Organization) where parents have direct contact with school administrators and go over concerns and developments in the school.

6. Unusual schools:

enjoy-teachingHave you always thought of school as a place that CHILDREN GO TO where there are desks and chairs, a building, a playground?  In some parts of the world where it is not possible to have these facilities educators have risen to the occasion and thus “unusual schools” have come to be. In Bangladesh, students can miss months of school during monsoon season due to heavy rains and floods. Even when schools are open, it can be impossible for kids to get to school. One architect decided that he did not want this to be the plight of children and built the ‘boat school’. The boat school is a combination of a school bus and a schoolhouse. Even though these boats float from place to place, they have electricity to run up to four computers, a printer, a DVD player, and a CD player. Every boat has solar panels on the roofs that give all the electricity they need. They are connected to the internet through wireless technology and also stock hundreds of books. In Belgium, the ‘Mobile School NPO’, a Belgian organization dedicated to helping street children throughout the world has developed mobile school carts where they train local street workers. There are currently, 36 mobile schools in 21 countries, across four continents: Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe. This school targets street children and street workers. These are just a few instances of unusual schools there are various kinds around the world as well.


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August 2013
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