Hana Keegan ’18Hana Keegan ’18

In front of me, a blonde-haired girl is leaning forward, sitting on the edge of her chair. She is explaining the democratic principles of her school; how her opinion holds equal value to that of her teachers. 

She speaks with her entire body, her blue eyes lit by an enthusiasm for an education that is directed by her own curiosity. In June, whilst volunteering with Ashoka UK, I sat in on Sands School’s final interview with Ashoka UK’s 2015 Changemaker Schools panel. The interview would help the panel determine whether or not the school would be selected to join Ashoka’s global Changemaker Schools network.

Since 2013, Ashoka has been working to create a global network of Changemaker Schools. By creating and supporting this network, Ashoka aims to ensure that every young person can access an innovative education that will empower them to become a changemaker. A changemaker education cultivates skills in empathy, teamwork, leadership, and problem solving. Young people who have been exposed to this style of education will be able to collaborate, create, and act constructively, to navigate and influence change in their own social and physical environments. 

Finding inspiration

The inspiration that I felt when listening to Sands School’s interview helped me realize why it is vital for Ashoka to recognize and support innovative, educational models and practices. The young girl’s self-assurance and obvious enthusiasm to represent her school was invigorating….

There is currently a global network of 180 plus, Ashoka Changemaker Schools. These schools are driven to play a key role in leading the larger education movement, working to influence policy makers, parents, media and others who define not only a child’s education, but also their learning. If we as a society want to continue to address current social and environmental issues, we must strive towards the vision of an education system that empowers every young person to become a changemaker. We must strive towards a world in which every young person, when asked to talk about their school, will lean forward enthusiastically, sitting bright eyed on the edge of their seat. 

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