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Go global: use pupil power

In the wake of the Asian tsunami, schools are being urged to join up with their counterparts abroad, reports Adi Bloom

Today The TES launches a campaign asking schools throughout Britain to form links with teachers and pupils around the world and encourage students to engage with global issues.

Make the Link will build on the extraordinary interest shown after the tsunami disaster earlier this year, when teachers and pupils raised pound;1.5 million to support Asian schools. It will also link to the issues raised by Britain's presidency of the G8 group of wealthy nations and, from July, its presidency of the European Union.

The aim is to form lasting partnerships in which schools collaborate on curriculum projects, cultural activities, staff development and global citizenship activities.

The campaign will encourage schools to play an active role in the worldwide drive, agreed at the United Nations Summit in 2000, to tackle poverty and lack of education, and encourage sustainable development.

TES columnist Ted Wragg said: "Children see disasters around the world, like the tsunami, and feel a tremendous sense of impotence. But, with email and the internet, children in different countries can make a real effort to understand each other. They can create a real sense of neighbourliness."

The TES will work closely with the British Council, Link Community Development and other groups promoting partnerships.

Sir David Green, director general of the British Council, said: "This is a great opportunity to raise awareness among teachers and in schools when understanding of the international dimension has never been more important."

Anna Colquhoun, UK programme director of Link Community Development, said:

"A good school link is about gaining different perspectives and looking at the world from someone else's."

Before the G8 summit in July, the campaign will focus mainly on links with developing countries. Afterwards, when Britain takes over the EU presidency, it will focus on links with Europe.

Brendan O'Malley, TES international editor, said: "Making a lasting partnership with a school in Africa or Asia is a valuable way to enrich school life in both countries, share expertise and excite pupils about global issues. We hope thousands of teachers and heads will respond."

Campaign web page: you know an innovative link? Please email us on:

For more on the campaign, see our Global Citizenship supplement in this week's paper;Curriculum links with Germany, Teacher magazine, 21

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