Founders4schools, partners with World is a Village to connect pupils around the world
London, January 2020 – World is a Village, the EdTech startup which helps children across the world connect to discover new cultures, make new friends and improve their language skills via its Digital Journey platform has partnered with Founders4Schools, an award-winning charity that connects educators with a network of inspirational business leaders, to improve the employment chances of young people.
Founded by serial French entrepreneur Camille Huyghues Despointes, World is a Village was originally launched as a homestay platform to connect families around the world to organise cross-border language and culture exchange trips for their teens. The new Digital Journey, built in response to overseas homestay and school trips being cancelled due to Covid-19, is an online educational programme aimed at fostering conversation between teenagers in different countries and boosting their confidence in foreign languages.
Founders4Schools’ mission is to bridge the gap between education and the world of work. Through this partnership, they aim to help pupils build an international network and develop their knowledge of the world around them. Their belief is that making kids more open-minded and more connected will prepare them for the rapidly changing world we live in.
A partnership that makes sense!
This comes at a time when teen’s exchanges are affected, not only by Covid-19 but also by Brexit, with the UK leaving Erasmus and its school twinning programme eTwinning earlier this month. Since 2005, 217,438 schools have benefitted from the European school twinning programme.
The World is a Village Digital Journey experience is complementary to what children are taught in school language lessons and focuses on boosting the student’s confidence by increasing the frequency of their practice in a fun and relaxed environment, with students from across the world. The gamified platform brings teenagers together to practice a foreign language via games, quizzes and missions but also, just as importantly, opens them up to new cultures and ways of life at a time when global travel is on hold. These digital friendships will then translate into trip opportunities when borders reopen, whether they are organised by schools or by the families individually. World is a Village’s homestay platform is a great tool for families to connect with like-minded families abroad and organise future homestay trips for their children.
The Digital Journey is open to families, but also to schools who can use it as an extra-curricular activity for their pupils or create twinned communities with partner schools abroad.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Modern Languages estimated that the UK was losing out on £4.8bn every year as a result of its lack of language skills. British Council’s Language Trend Report 2020 suggested that Brexit would have a negative impact on language learning in schools, with a shift in attitudes and an increasing number of pupils and their parents feeling that European language skills will be of limited use following the UK’s exit from the EU.
A common goal!
Camille Huyghues Despointes, Founder of World is a Village, said:
“As many secondary schools have found their normal physical exchange programmes with overseas schools curtailed due to Covid-19 and Brexit, we have found that secondary schools are particularly receptive to this idea as a replacement or complement for their physical programmes. This is also an innovative and affordable solution for those schools that don’t have an international exchange programme; teachers and students alike want to use technology to keep borders open and avoid being a less insular world”
Sherry Coutu, Founder and chair of trustees at Founders4Schools said:
“As employers are recruiting more and more internationally – the borders blur, and cultural awareness and language skills become increasingly important. The UK is not regarded as a leader when it comes to training our young people to communicate in foreign languages. Brexit and the end of the Erasmus programme don’t help; they amplify the issue. Partnering with World is a Village, which brings cultural connections and the possibility to communicate with young people abroad, is an outstanding opportunity for us to help young people and students build these skills and become better prepared for the future World of Work which is at the heart of Founders4Schools.”
Michaela Eschbach, Managing Director of Founders4Schools, said:
“The ability to speak multiple languages has opened many doors and opportunities in my professional career. The awareness of different cultures and the impact on behaviours has helped me to become a strong leader. The partnership with World is a Village expands our ability to support young people to acquire cultural awareness and communication skills beyond what the standard curriculum provides them today, it is an opportunity that excites me personally and as the Managing Director of Founders4chools. Our ambition is to equip students with the skills of tomorrow, to improve their employability and their confidence to achieve. The partnership with World is a Village is a great opportunity to help us reach our goal.”
Mrs Chandler, head of Modern Foreign Languages, Queen Elizabeth Grammar School – who has recently launched an online twinned community with Institution St Jacques in France, added:
“This is a great platform for interaction between teens in a bilingual way, especially during these times when travel is restricted, as we can continue to make friendships as well as learn about different cultures and traditions and share experiences.”
The World is a Village Digital Journey programme costs £22 per month per student, with special pricing for schools.