Updated: Apr 17, 2019
By Zitin Munshi, Global Schools Ambassador, India
Date: April 19, 2019 | Time: 15:20 (Indian Standard Time) | Place: Mumbai, India
Who ever thought I would be taking all means of transport (oftentimes in the span of a few hours) that the vibrant city of Mumbai offers?
It was only when I began visiting schools as part of implementing the Global Schools Program across the length and breadth of this city, I realised that it had a lot to offer.
If you are new to the concept of the Global Schools Program, you must click here and if you are not, you must still click here (to increase our website hits)! In a nutshell, the Program led by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network - Youth Initiative, aims to provide the tools to transform learning environments for educating and raising awareness about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) among the leaders of tomorrow – school children.
Here are the top three ways in which the program has changed my life:
#1 Innovate-on-the-go: As an ambassador, collaborating with schools that work with students from different communities, genders, income levels flex my brain muscles to innovate and/or customise current engagement models aligning them to the SDGs. Indeed, the model for each school evolves as the relationship with the school strengthens over time.
As an example, we are working with Haidary School in a low-income community in Mumbai while leveraging their in-school activities such as poster making, drawing and essay writing competitions to be themed around different SDGs! Additionally, the 'Eco Commando - Eco Captain' model, involving student change-makers from each class, that contribute to the SDGs within the community is being implemented.
Another example is that of The Scholar High School in Colaba, Mumbai which has planned monthly activities for the Academic Year 2019-2020 to help students understand environment-related SDGs and take action at different levels. Activities include educating students and empowering them to reach out to their neighbourhood and larger community. For the month of March, they were focused on celebrating a ‘green’ Holi with organic colours and without water wastage. Going forward, other activities include (but are not limited to) – enforcing a plastic ban, engaging in neighbourhood clean-up drives, waste reuse and recycling.
#2 Why so serious? Bringing about social change, can be serious business. And when it involves attempting to change the mindset of excited / restless children, the journey can be long. As an ambassador, through constant innovation, I have the chance to add some “sugar, spice and everything nice” to make the SDGs fun! In fact, resources that have been made available through our website (please click here) have been received very well.
As an example, Ms. Debika Chatterji, Principal, JBCN International School (Borivali) says,
“JBCN International School (Borivali) is proud to be a part of the Global Schools Program. The Program team has worked hard to create fun SDG resources such as comics, a collection of goal-related TED videos and exciting games which are relevant for children. There are grade-wise activity-based lesson plans available focused on specific SDGs, that benefit teachers immensely too. This is a great initiative, a need of the hour."
Ms. Radhika Dharmarajan, Principal, Next School (Mulund) says,
"Next School is delighted to be a part of the Global Schools Program. Our primary and secondary teachers were able to use the easy-to-personalise resources to put our students at the centre of their own learning which is exactly in line with our school's 'Big Picture Philosophy'. We look forward to our collaboration with the Global Schools Program."
#3 Scale-it-up: Apart from personally being able to reach out to 14 school leaders having a network of more than 900 school teachers and over 15,000 students, I have got the opportunity to co-create, leverage and / or implement models to scale geographically. All thanks to the Global Schools Program!
To share an example, we are leveraging the ‘Student Ambassador’ model (with Social Change Ambassadors and Peace Ambassadors in the primary section) at Bombay International School, Mumbai so that they may inspire other students within the school and advocate for the SDGs within their community as well.
In case you:
1. Are a teacher / associated with any school across India or the world OR
2. Are a student and wish to make a difference OR
3. Know someone in the education sector