Commonwealth Class is collaboration between the BBC, the British Council and the Commonwealth Secretariat, which will enable more than 100,000 schools, 300,000 teachers and 17 million young people across the Commonwealth to access themed learning resources take part in online debates and forums and work on collaborative projects in cross-Commonwealth teams.
Commonwealth Class aims to bring energy to young people’s learning by connecting schools and children from across the Commonwealth to learn how to be active, responsible global citizens as part of the Commonwealth family. Malaysia is one of the 10 priority countries selected to conduct this programme.
In Malaysia, several activities have been conducted under the Commonwealth Class programme. These include the launch that took place during the National Level English Carnival 2013, the Queen’s Baton Relay and the Education Resource Pack Cascade Training.
The British Council was invited by the Co-Curricular and Arts Division, Ministry of Education Malaysia to participate in the National Level English Carnival 2013 in Malacca that took place from the 1-3rd October 2013. Deputy Minister of Education 1 Datuk Mary Yap Kain Ching, launched the Commonwealth Class programme and proceeded to register online for the Commonwealth Class programme through the British Council’s Schools Online Portal. At their booth, the British Council conducted two Commonwealth themed activities, namely Commonwealth flags colouring and a Commonwealth quiz. While students were participating in these activities, teachers were briefed about the programme and its contents such as the BBC Online Debate and the Education Resource Pack.
The Queen’s Baton Relay was launched at Buckingham Palace on the 9th October 2013. The baton, which contains Queen Elizabeth II’s message to the Commonwealth, will cover more than 118,000 miles in 288 days. Its journey will end at the opening ceremony of the XXX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland on 23 July 2014. It arrived in Malaysia on the 26th October 2013 accompanied by the three man Queen’s Baton Relay team from the UK. The baton was received in Malaysia by the Commonwealth Games Federation representative Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. M. Jegathesan, Commonwealth Games Association Malaysia representative Tan Sri Abdul Halil Abd Mutalif, acting British High Commissioner to Malaysia Mr Ray Kyles and British Council Malaysia Programmes Deputy Director Clare Walker. On the 27th October 2013, the Olympic Council of Malaysia organised the Queen’s Baton relay. The 600 participants included a contingent from the British Council consisting of 120 school students and 20 staff and teachers led by British Council Malaysia English Language Services Director Sam Ayton. There were also Commonwealth themed activities conducted at the British Council booth for visitors.
On the 7th November 2013, the Commonwealth Class Education Resource Pack Cascade Training was held for 37 teachers from 29 schools nationwide. Teachers were trained to use the Commonwealth Class Education Resource Pack in the class room and were also given tips on ways to adapt the activities to suit Malaysian classrooms. These teachers will now proceed to cascade this training in their states with the assistance of language officers from their respective state education offices.