Indian Danish collaboration on a new innovative creative school in Bengaluru in India
Snehdeep Aggarwal who is the initiator and founder of Chaman Bhartiya School (CBS) looked out into the world to find inspiration to build an innovative school in Bengaluru in India. Aggarwal’s road came past Scandinavia as this geographical area is known for, among other things, its superior education system. On his journey, Aggarwal passed by Orestad Gymnasium on the outskirts of Copenhagen, a high school that is known far and wide as one of the most innovative and unique schools in the world. During the visit to Orestad Gymnasium, Aggarwal met both with the architect who designed Orestad Gymnasium, but also with the principal of the school, which is a large gymnasium with 1200 students aged 16 to 19 years. The principal at the high school, Allan Kjaer Andersen, was an elderly gentleman who was nearing the end of his academic career to spend some more time with his wife, children and grandchildren, but the meeting with Agarwal had great significance for these plans, which until then had not included visits to and stays in India. After a few meetings, Aggarwal managed to persuade Andersen to move up from Orestad Gymnasium to go to Bengaluru in India to implement Aggarwal’s big dream of building a new innovative high school in India. Andersen got more agency to do what he wanted, than he had in Denmark, and he saw an opportunity to be able to implement some of his own innovative teaching dreams for the benefit of both students and the surrounding community. An innovative school demands school buildings that are open to creative and innovative thinking, and that is exactly what the new innovative school in Thannisandra, North Bengaluru has.
From the outside, the new school looks like anything but a traditional school building in India, and just as the building itself is untraditional, the teaching approach is also untraditional. Along with the ISCE or IB curriculum, the CBS school will attempt to instill leadership qualities in its students while instilling a set of 21st century skills, encapsulated in the 4 Cs, which stand for communication, critical thinking, creativity and collaboration. To implement this, Andersen is working to introduce some of the initiatives he had great success with at his school in Denmark. This starts with the relationship between the student and the teacher, the teacher will not ‘talk down to the student’ but enter into a relationship that engages the student to take the subject forward. The teaching method itself also has a different approach, in that the teaching will not take place as traditional classroom teaching. For example, there is not a traditional blackboard in a traditional classroom, but an open teaching area that offers new forms of learning. The teaching will, for example, take place in a creative and innovative process as a project assignment, where the students finally present the group’s contribution to a current societal solution. The presentation itself could take place as a video presentation of their acquired learning. In addition to this, the school will interact with the surrounding community, and the students will have to work with everyday problems that require new solutions. If a new cycle path is needed in the local area, it could be an obvious project for the students to contribute with new suggestions.
The third and perhaps most ambitious goal is for each student to have a passion project that in the future may lead the student into their possible career. The school will mentor the students finding their true calling in life – and mentor the parents about passion over convention and economic return of one’s career choices.