London, September 12
An independent international school in Gujarat and a charity school in Maharashtra are among worldwide institutions unveiled in London on Tuesday as finalists of the annual World's Best School Prizes 2023.
The five World's Best School Prizes – for Community Collaboration, Environmental Action, Innovation, Overcoming Adversity, and Supporting Healthy Lives – celebrate schools for the pivotal role they play in developing the next generation of learners and for their enormous contribution to society's progress, especially in the wake of Covid.
The Riverside School in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, has been recognised for its ground-breaking, student-centric approach to education to make the cut for the final three in the "Innovation" category.
Snehalaya English Medium School in Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, is credited with transforming the lives of children living with HIV/AIDS to make the final three in the "Overcoming Adversity" category.
“You, and your fellow finalists, have inspired me with the leadership, vision and culture you have fostered and for the exceptional teaching and learning environment you have built,” said Vikas Pota, Founder of T4 Education and the World's Best School Prizes.
“As the world seeks to tackle a deepening education crisis, these outstanding Indian schools light the path to a better future. It's time for governments everywhere to listen to your voices and learn from your expertise,” he said.
The winners of the five prizes across all categories will be chosen by an expert Judging Academy, based on rigorous criteria and unveiled in November. A prize of USD 250,000 will be equally shared among the winners, with each receiving an award of USD 50,000.
In addition, digital media platform T4 Education has launched a new “Community Choice Award” this year open to the 15 schools that make up the Top 3 finalists across all five World's Best School Prizes.
It will be awarded to the one school that inspires the most support in a public vote, which has opened this week. The winner of the Community Choice Award will receive membership to T4 Education's new Best School to Work programme, an independent, evidence-based mechanism to certify schools for their culture and help them transform their working environment to attract and retain the best teachers.
The Riverside School stood out for its “I CAN pedagogical model” and the introduction of the Feel, Imagine, Do, Share (FIDS) programme, also an online training platform used by many schools worldwide.
The platform has reached 2 million children through the Design for Change School, and Riverside has conducted state-wide, remote and in-person workshops to train over 1,000 government schoolteachers in the FIDS framework and its application in their contexts.
Overall, the Riverside School has had a significant impact on education through its student-centric approach, innovative pedagogical model, and the widespread dissemination of the FIDS programme, the World's Best School Prizes notes.
If the school wins the World's Best School Prize for Innovation, it says it will use the prize to further the FIDS programme's reach by developing more digital learning content and supporting schools and educators worldwide with research and practice-based resources so that more children graduate with its “I CAN Mindset”.
Meanwhile, the Snehalaya English Medium School in Ahmednagar has been credited with rewriting the narrative for marginalised communities in semi-rural India.
With 25 per cent of the school's students being HIV+ and an even higher number being children of sex workers, the school's students face systemic discrimination. The school overcame initial challenges in recruiting students who did not come from these disadvantaged backgrounds by connecting with village leaders who hosted meetings with parents to openly discuss and allay their concerns.
Besides bringing this change through affordable and quality education, Snehalaya English Medium School believes in empowering students beyond the classroom, enabling them to learn from changemakers, international volunteers, teachers, leaders, and social workers, inspiring them to become socially aware and accepting, notes the World's Best School Prizes.
If Snehalaya English Medium School wins the World's Best School Prize for Overcoming Adversity, it says it will use the prize to further expand its education programme, enabling more children to benefit from their unique approach to education, promoting inclusivity and breaking down stigmas associated with HIV/AIDS and sex work.
The World's Best School Prizes were established in 2022 by T4 Education to share the best practices of schools around the world that are transforming the lives of their students and making a real difference to their communities.
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