Preparing students for life and work by equipping them with the core and transferable skills, such as critical thinking, citizenship and communication, in the classroom and teaching them how to apply these to thrive in today’s world.

What will the new programme for professional development seek to address?

Every country in the world needs a high quality, inclusive and equitable school system that creates young people who are able to: 

  • live and work in a globalised economy
  • use their knowledge, skills and values to contribute responsibly locally and globally

In order to do so, there is growing consensus that school systems need to develop young people with certain core skills and competencies (often known as 21st century skills or “Deep Learning” skills).

Those skills and competencies can be categorised thus: 

  • skills for living in, and contributing to, a fairer world: global citizenship and civic responsibility
  • skills for working: collaboration and communication
  • ways of thinking: critical thinking and problem solving
  • key tools – crucially ICT literacy

 Young people who receive this high quality education and develop these skills contribute to the future stability and prosperity of our global society. 

What are Core Skills?

 British Council consulted a range of stakeholders, drew upon research on the deep pedagogies framework and UNESCO’s transversal skills  and then decided to focus on supporting teachers develop their pedagogy in the following six Core Skills:

Digital literacy

Developing the skills to discover, acquire and communicate knowledge and information in a globalised economy; using technology to reinforce, extend and deepen learning through international collaboration.

Critical thinking and problem solving

Promoting self-directed thinking that produces new and innovative ideas and solves problems; reflecting critically on learning experiences and processes and making effective decisions.

Creativity and imagination

Promoting economic and social entrepreneurialism; imagining and pursuing novel ideas, judging value, developing innovation and curiosity.

Student leadership and personal development (Student Voice)

One of Afghanistan’s great successes in education since 2001 has been the large increase in student enrolment, especially among girls. But, as a consequence, schools are often overcrowded and under resourced.

The British Council is working closely with the Ministry of Education on a number of initiatives to support the new reforms, all of which contribute to cultural relations and development work. One such initiative is a programme that develops school student councils. 

Empowering students is an increasingly central part of the British Council’s work with schools in Afghanistan. By giving students more opportunities to get involved in local issues we are also helping them develop ideas around global citizenship, which is an important outcome in our work in education and society.  School councils are a great way of doing this as students get the chance to articulate problems and share their solutions.

Establishing student councils in Afghan schools is one of the most successful British Council programmes in Afghanistan. In many areas students take part so that they can bring peace and discipline to their schools and feel that the school is their second home.  

In the past students were often afraid of their teachers and management teams, but now that they have their own councils they share their problems with their teachers and try to find solutions for them. 

Collaboration and communication

Fostering effective communication (orally, and in writing); actively listening to and engaging with others in diverse and multi-lingual environments and understanding verbal and non-verbal communication; developing the ability to work in diverse international teams, including learning from and contributing to the learning of others.


Developing active, globally aware citizens who have the skills, knowledge and motivation to address issues of human and environmental sustainability and work towards a fairer world in a spirit of mutual respect and open dialogue; developing an understanding of what it means to be a citizen of their own country and their own country’s values.

How can I find out more and get involved?

All schools and educational institutions in Afghanistan can get involved in Connecting Classrooms activity.

Connecting Classrooms aims to improve teaching and teachers’ pedagogy through:

  • Professional development for teachers and school leaders, face-to-face and online
  • Sustainable partnerships between schools in Afghanistan, the UK and other countries
  • Professional dialogue opportunities for policy makers that will support national and regional level debate, reflection and action
  • Awards to schools which are successful in equipping young people with the knowledge and skills to live and work in a globalised economy
  • Online access to free, high quality resources to support teachers in delivering improved learning outcomes for young people.

What are the benefits?

  • Teachers will be able to create great learning experiences for pupils that support the development of core skills
  • Teachers will be able to draw upon a wide range of free resources to nurture core skills in their learners
  • Teachers will be able to network with and find peer support from like-minded colleagues locally and globally
  • School leaders will be able to foster innovation and use of a range of teaching strategies in their schools, thus enhancing the quality of teaching and learning
  • School leaders will be able to improve their own instructional leadership through mentoring their own staff and wider teaching community.

For more information about our Continuous Professional Development course please contact us.

External links