Commonwealth Finalists for Our Year of the Youth Competition

In September 2023, we launched our Commonwealth endorsed competition to support Year of the Youth. On this Commonwealth Day, we announce and celebrate our 10 finalists.

The Commonwealth’s 56 member countries have a combined population of 2.5 billion people, of which more than 60% are under 30 years of age. The Commonwealth sees young people aged 15 to 29 as assets to a country’s development who should be empowered to realise their potential. Across the Commonwealth young people have a proven capability to lead change and are a vital and valuable investment for now and the future, and we, at the Commonwealth Education Trust, believe that all should children receive quality education from a transformative and supported teacher.

Thus, we were inspired to create a course to enable teachers to create independent learners. The outcome was for groups of 3-4 students to Teach learners from around the world about something you think is important. Often, traditional teaching is based on teaching standing at the front and lecturing students. This competition provided the skills to teachers to encourage young people to proactively learn by themselves and collaboratively. This relevant curricula and pedagogy should help young people throughout their entire life, preparing them for life and work, and only lead them to better economic opportunities, particularly in the job sector.

Entries flooded in from across the Commonwealth. Last week, our Lead Education and Partnership Consultant, Alex Starr, and our Education Consultant, Sarah Kerr narrowed down the entries to just 10. With a variety of ages, ranging from only 5 years old to high school, topics reflected their priorities, passions and motivations, and included coping with anger, social media, how to make doctor’s appointments and dealing with domestic abuse.

These top 10 entrants are (in no particular order):

  1. Narayan Singh, India
  2. Aishwarya Jakhmola, India
  3. Jacquelyn Dexter, India
  4. Chetna Badola, India
  5. Priyanka Randhawa, India
  6. Clotilder Beri Gariba, Cameroon
  7. Khadija Ismael Suleiman, Kenya
  8. Dinesh Rawat, India
  9. Deepak Sindhwal, India
  10. Akong Verla, India.

Here are the faces of some of the student finalists:

Narayan Singh, a Trained Graduate Teacher of English and Social Studies in a public (Govt.) school of District Chamba Himachal Pradesh, comments that:

I was drawn to the Teach2030 platform due to its innovative professional development resources for teachers. After completing the courses, I noticed a positive transformation within myself. Eager to apply this newfound knowledge, I participated in the Year of the Youth contest with renewed energy; the cutting-edge resources provided by Teach2030 ignited my enthusiasm.  Ultimately, my goal was to witness tangible improvements in my teaching as a result of acquiring these new skills.

Aishwarya Jakhmola, from Dehradun, Uttarakhand says:
I wanted to enter because I saw it as a great opportunity to showcase my student’s insightful skills and provide them with an international platform. I am extremely grateful to the judges, who thought our act was worthy and chose it to be in the top 10 category. It feels amazing. Big thanks to the students who have given their best. Teach 2030 is a great platform for teachers to enhance their skills, as it provides all a new outlook for the daily occurring situations in the class. The course has also helped me as a teacher to implement new techniques, such as involvement of activities and growth mindset in the class to make it more engaging.

Jacquelyn Ann Dexter, who has been living and teaching in India for the past 12 years entered with her colleague Dr. Garima Dongre Parashar with their Grade 9 students of Cambridge IGCSE Global Perspectives. She states that:

The aims of Teach2030 align with our school’s aims of developing knowledgeable, engaged and caring students, who are ready to take their place in the global community. We saw Teach2030 as an opportunity to engage with the Commonwealth community and for students to learn from the Commonwealth values, and opportunities which it presents through collaboration with other young people…participating would help students develop key skills of working in a group.

The process was a learning experience for the teachers involved, as well as for the students. Through doing the Teach2020 courses prior to beginning, team work processes were talked about, which we, as teachers, could then use when facilitating the activities.

We were able to use the key skills gained from the course to guide students in becoming independent, as well as collaborative learners, whilst allowing each group to make their own choices of what to teach. By listening in to each group discussions, we learnt from the students about aspects of their culture that they saw as exciting and relevant to what they called the modern world. We learnt that they were able, with guidance, to adapt and change aspects of their projects, from independent research about different parts of the Commonwealth, finding out what they thought young people in many of these countries would want to know about Indian culture as they saw and experienced it.

Support was given by our Head of Department. They both took a keen interest in the projects and in the presentations, and commented on the engaging learning environment which they saw in the classrooms throughout the process.

We are proud of our students (all of them), and excited to be in the top 10. Over and above the fact that we feel it recognises their efforts, is our hope that other children in the Commonwealth countries will be able to learn from the presentation, and that it will bring young people together wherever they may be.

To us Teach2030 means that we, as teachers of Social Studies in Singapore International School, Mumbai are now part of a community of teachers from across the Commonwealth countries, with whom we will continue to engage and learn. Teachers learning from each other is a very powerful tool in professional development and my colleagues and I look forward to participating in on-line discussions and in further courses. For our students, we will continue to engage with initiatives. Our learning and understanding of many of the areas that we look at in our Global Perspectives course, such as ‘Social Identity and Inclusion’, to name but one, will be enhanced through our engagement with Teach2030.

We are now eagerly anticipating the final decisions from a highly regarded judges: Eyong Enoh (Former Cameroonian International Midfielder/CET ambassador), Tendai Kariwo (Partnerships Manager for Cambridge Trust) and Genevieve Aitchison (Former Strategy Directory Business Manager at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office) and look forward to announcing our winner in the coming days.
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