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26th Jun, 2022

How a University of Worcester alumna will help rewrite India’s new school curriculum

Rob George 22nd Mar, 2022

A UNIVERSITY of Worcester graduate and Honorary Doctorate recipient has been selected as one of around 100 educators who will re-write the schools’ curriculum for India.

Dr Swaroop Sampat-Rawal has been appointed to the National Focus Group to write the position papers for the new school curriculum – the first time it has been re-written in more than 35 years.

“We have a new education policy just released,” said Dr Sampat-Rawal. “The last time the curriculum was written for India was in 1986. I am honoured to have been selected as one of the 100 educators chosen from the thousands and thousands of educators, academics etc from all over India to work on this.”

Dr Sampat-Rawal was named among the top 10 best teachers in the world in the Varkey Foundation’s annual Global Teacher Prize 2019.

Dr Sampat-Rawal earned her PhD in Education at Worcester, graduating in 2006. Her doctoral thesis was on the theme of using drama to enhance life skills in children with learning disabilities.

She has since dedicated herself to community development and advocacy, travelling across India training teachers, while also campaigning to get more children, such as those in tribal communities or street children, into the classroom.

She recently delivered 75 workshops in 17 States to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Indian independence – an achievement that was recognised with a personal letter from India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.

“I was so proud to get a letter from the Prime Minister,” she said. “What an honour to have my work recognised in this way.”

Dr Sampat-Rawal is aiming to have life skills education included in the new curriculum and wants children to be taught more about India’s history and culture before colonisation, through stories of national inspirations, religious unity and cultural interconnection.

“We have such wonderful history and culture and I think it’s important for our children to learn about it and to take pride,” she said.

Dr Sampat-Rawal began teaching later in life, following a career on stage as a Bollywood superstar and success as a model, including being crowned Miss India in 1979. She starred in one of the most watched and best loved sitcoms ever to be broadcast in India, Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi.

She said she went into teaching to accomplish two goals: to help make children more resilient through life skills education, and to bring new methods to teaching that would help students and their teachers reflect, imagine and build their sense of personal worth and agency.

In 2018 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University in recognition of the global impact of her work in education.

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