Coleg Y Cymoedd

Welsh college goes global to improve education standards

24/05/2016
Coleg Y Cymoedd

Education experts from a further education college in the south Wales valleys have travelled nearly 5000 miles to help improve the quality of teaching and learning for educators and increase skills mobility for students in India.

Coleg y Cymoedd has partnered with three colleges in India to share best education practice and resolve some of the key challenges that educators in India deal with every day. The partnership was formed through the UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI), of which Coleg y Cymoedd is the only Welsh college to be involved.

Over the past two years the partnership has seen four members of Coleg y Cymoedd’s senior management team travel to colleges in the coastal area of Andra Pradesh and the southern area of Tamil Nadu to meet fellow college staff including Principals and lecturers to address areas of improvement and collaboration.

The first trip to India allowed the Coleg y Cymoedd team to identify skills gaps within each of its three partner colleges as well as other issues such as poor IT infrastructures. Over the project’s lifespan the team focused on working with Indian representatives to form a structured action plan, sharing tools and resources to help implement improvements that would vastly improve the level of education.

Their Indian counterparts were also able to travel to the UK to take part in a week of intensive training, which saw them spend two days at the Nantgarw campus among other colleges across the UK. The visitors took part in job shadowing and lesson observations, learning new teaching methods along the way.  

Having just returned from an evaluation and impact visit to India, Mark Thomas, Campus Director, and John Phelps, Vice Principal at Coleg y Cymoedd, were able to see first-hand how the partnership benefitted the three colleges.

Speaking of the links forged, Mr Phelps said: “It’s been a really effective two year programme where we have seen great improvement to resources in the colleges we linked up with. We’ve been able to pass on some tips on evidence based teaching practices and quality processes that the colleges are now replicating themselves successfully.”

It wasn’t just the Indian colleges that benefitted from the partnership, as Mr Phelps went on to say: “We also picked up some new approaches from the colleges in India that we hadn’t considered before at Coleg y Cymoedd. We were particularly impressed with how they report on some aspects of student and college achievements in Indian colleges and as a result, that’s something we’ll look into implementing here. All-in-all it was a very rewarding experience for everyone involved.”

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