EXCHANGE OF INTERNATIONAL BEST PRACTICES- DILEMMAS & SOLUTIONS WITHIN THE INDIAN CONTEXT
The Project “Exchange of International Best Practices Leading to Innovation in Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA)” funded by European Union has been implemented by Save the Children, India since July 2010 in India. The overall objective of this technical cooperation fund has been to support the Government of India in achieving the quality targets of the SSA through an exchange of international best practices. Seven state governments (Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Jammu & Kashmir, Rajasthan, Delhi, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh) in India have come forward to take the learning forward after study visits to UK, Finland, Thailand and Australia were undertaken by education officials based on a research study ‘International Productive Practices in Education’ conducted by Institute of Education, London.
Three key areas of reform have emerged and reforms have been undertaken by states in the areas of:
(1) School Leadership
(2) Learning and Teaching Standards
(3) Inclusive Practices
Subsequently the project has organised technical trainings in these reform areas for mid-level managers from the implementing states. Given the sheer size of the Indian education system and immense learner diversity in terms of cultural, social and ethnic identities both within and across various states, the project had to confront the task of adapting what they perceived as ‘International best practice’ to suit their own realities. The paper defines key challenges related to collaboration and exchange of International best practices in education, that have been experienced during the course of the project.