The students of Bal Bharati Public School in collaboration with Genoveva Gymnasium, Germany, have done exemplary work on the global issue – Migration. This made them win the World Education Award 2013 under ‘Global Collaborative Learning Initiative’ category
German-Indian Classroom a programme by the Robert Bosch Stiftung and Max Mueller Bhavan (MMB), New Delhi, consisted of a joint project supporting collaboration between Indian and German schools. The programme required project work to be carried out over a period of one year with two integrated exchange phases. Under its aegis,Bal Bharati Public School, GRH, Marg and Genoveva Gymnasium, Germany,worked collaboratively for a year on a joint curriculum plan titled ‘Who we are and where we are going – Self-Images and Migration in Delhi and Cologne’.
The project consisted of working on mutually agreed sub-themes, namely -Getting to Know Each Other; Students’Reflections on Their Personal Migration Background; Interviewing Immigrants about Their Experiences and Views; Exploring Xenophobia (Fear of the Unknown);Studying Motives of Migration;Studying Immigration Policies of Partner Country; and finally Exchange Programmes with Exchange Schedules focusing on the subject of the project, and sharing experiences of the country being visited.
The collaboration was executed through bi-weekly discussions, and evaluation of work results via Skype, email and social networks, etc, and by uploading related material on a common portal called Pasch Net.
The virtual collaboration was strengthened with the visit of a 17-member German delegation in December 2012. The delegation consisting of 15 students escorted by 2 teachers – productively spent their time by working collaboratively on the project as well as appreciating the education system, religion and sociocultural milieu of India. They visited the school regularly, attended Yoga, dance and art classes, played indigenous games like khokho, kabbadi, and participated in Indian cultural programmes. A trip to the world renowned monument, the Taj Mahal in Agra, left them spellbound. Also, visits to numerous places of religious and cultural interests – Akshardham temple, Dilli Haat, etc, were thoroughly enjoyed. A visit to the NGO GOONJ and Don Bosco Ashalayam enabled them to enhance their knowledge of the subject of the Project. The delegation from Germany was full of appreciation for the school for expressing “love and respect” towards them in so many different ways, and making them “feel at home”, throughout.
Presently, a delegation from Bal Bharti School, consisting of 14 students led by two teachers, is on a visit to Germany,as a part of the project.
This collaborative Project thus enabled students to explore migration in personal, social and political contexts in their own as well as the partner country. In addition,regular communication helped them to increase their knowledge about the other country and form lasting relationships.The Project brought about a positive change for a lifetime, in all involved.
The views of the teacher coordinator from Genoveva Gymnasium, Germany, while in India beautifully summarises the essence of this Collaborative Project – “Being focused on differences, we found them at every corner — on streets, homes, in school and in the families – everything seemed to be Oh so strange! Yet, two weeks were also long enough to realise something else, namely, that all these differences were only superficial. I strongly believe that no matter how different cultural customs may appear, they all revolve around the same core which is a desire for love and respect and a place to call home.”