Ahmedabad’s Riverside School wins World’s Best School Prize for Innovation

LONDON, Nov 4: The Riverside School, an independent international school in Gujarat, has been named among the winners of the World’s Best School Prizes 2023 here on Saturday for its student-centric approach to education.

The Ahmedabad-based school was declared the winner of the prize worth USD 50,000 in the “Innovation” category alongside four other winning schools from around the world.

The winners of the five prizes were chosen by an expert Judging Academy based on rigorous criteria, with the USD 250,000 equally shared among the winners across the prize categories of Innovation, Community Collaboration, Environmental Action, Overcoming Adversity, and Supporting Healthy Lives.

“My deepest congratulations to The Riverside School in India. Educators across the world should look to the shining example of your school in the difference you have made to so many lives,” said Vikas Pota, Founder of T4 Education and the World’s Best School Prizes.

“And governments must look to the trailblazing work you have done as they seek answers to the great challenges we face today. Where you lead, they must follow. This tremendous moment has been made possible by the leadership, vision and culture your school has fostered and it brings me great pride to bestow upon you the World’s Best School Prize for Innovation 2023,” he said.

Through its “I CAN” pedagogical model and the introduction of the Feel, Imagine, Do, and Share (FIDS) programme, the Riverside School has consistently ranked amongst the top 10 schools in India since 2004. Inspired by the founder’s own son’s academic struggles, Riverside used “Design Thinking” to develop a school-wide teaching and learning culture of agency, engagement, and creativity.

“Today, FIDS is also an online training platform used by many schools worldwide and has inspired children worldwide to become changemakers. The platform has reached 2 million children through the Design for Change School, and Riverside has conducted state-wide, remote and in-person workshops to train over 1,000 government schoolteachers in the FIDS framework and its application in their contexts,” the World School Prizes team notes.

The school also has a research and training branch, Riverside Learning Centre, which has codified tried and tested 20+ years of I CAN processes and practices to make design thinking in education and the use of FIDS mainstream. The I CAN Platform houses these processes and practices and uses the FIDS framework to explain the pedagogical model’s rationale and impact.

“Overall, the Riverside School has had a significant impact on education through its student-centric approach, innovative pedagogical model, and the widespread dissemination of the FIDS programme. By cultivating empathy, creativity, and social responsibility in students, the school has enabled and empowered its pupils to become aware and active citizen leaders of the world,” added the prizes team.

The Riverside School intends to use the prize to further the FIDS programme’s reach by developing more digital learning content and supporting schools and educators worldwide with research and practice-based resources so that more children graduate with the “I CAN Mindset”.

Among the other winners of the 2023 World’s Best School Prizes are Institucio´n Educativa Municipal Montessori sede San Francisco in Colombia, which won the prize for Environmental Action; SPARK Soweto in South Africa for Community Collaboration; Max Rayne Hand in Hand Jerusalem School for Overcoming Adversity; and EEMTI Joaquim Bastos Gonc¸alves in Brazil for Supporting Healthy Lives.

In addition, a new Community Choice Award was presented this year to Escola Municipal Professor Edson Pisani in Brazil after it won the most votes of all the World’s Best School Prizes finalists in a public vote. It will now receive membership to T4 Education’s new Best School to Work programme, an independent, evidence-based mechanism to certify schools for their culture and help them transform their working environment to attract and retain the best teachers.

The World’s Best School Prizes were founded last year by digital media platform T4 Education in collaboration with Accenture, American Express, and the Lemann Foundation. Applications for the 2024 iteration of the prizes are now open and will close in February next year. (PTI)