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Uttar Pradesh: Innovative festival

In early August more than 500 delegates from around 260 education institutions sited across the Indian sub-continent and beyond, convened in Lucknow’s World Unity Convention Centre to participate in the fourth International EdLeader Roundtable, 2010. The Roundtable conference, which attracted a diverse mix of principals, teachers, researchers, and educational entrepreneurs from eight countries including the US, Netherlands, South Africa and Bangladesh, was organised by the City Montessori School, Lucknow (estb.1959) which has acquired a global reputation for international conferences on a plethora of issues round the year.

“The purpose of the annual Inter-national Edleader Roundtable conference is to build a platform to create a consensus on changes needed to improve school education. To this end we invite international education experts to share their best practices and innovations, cross-fertilise ideas, motivate teachers to develop innovative ideas and support these ideas through fellowships, awards etc. A large number of participants have gone back to their schools with fresh ideas for implementation. They have been duly inspired and have learnt new practical skills,” says Dr. Sunita Gandhi, an alumna of Imperial College, London, and Cambridge University, UK and currently the Lucknow-based director of the City International School (estb. July 2006).

The highlight of the four-day Fourth Edleader Roundtable which concluded on August 4, was the  interactive video conference conducted with the legendary Dr. Howard Gardner of Harvard University. In this mind-expanding 90 minute session partici-pants were able to learn about the origins and development of Dr. Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences theory — a landmark in education innovation.

Other eminent speakers at the Roundtable included Dr. Robert Saunders, co-founder of the Center for Global Education (USA); Stella Fernandez, recipient of the President’s Award from the ministry of education (Singapore); Mehel van Grenou, director of the Centre for Advanced Montessori Studies (USA); Matthew Rich, director of research, development, and training at the Nurture International Welfare Society, Lucknow, and two charismatic English language experts: Andy Harvey and Dee Loftus.

The annual Edleader Roundtable conference has grown steadily in popularity since it was convened by sisters Dr. Sunita Gandhi, co-founder of the Centre for Global Education (USA), and Prof. Geeta Kingdon of the Institute of Education at London University, in 2008. Over the years it has morphed into an academic-cum-cultural event offering a rich cultural programme presented mainly by the affiliated City International and City Montessori schools.

To encourage classroom and pedag-ogy innovation, the conference also grants fellowships and awards to outstanding teachers from across the country. This year 100 teachers recei-ved EdLeader Innovation-in-Process fellowships in recognition of their creative ideas for education innovation.  Moreover ten participants were acknowledged as innovators, and two prizes were awarded for ‘outstanding contribution to education’.

“Currently 135 Edleader Roundtable fellows in 119 schools across the country are implementing new ideas in education with several of them having matured their innovations. The big idea behind these annual conferences is to celebrate education innovations and inspire teachers and educators to share their insights and good work to inspire others,” says Gandhi who adds that the next Edleader Roundtable is scheduled for October 15-18, 2011.

Vidya Pandit (Lucknow)

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