The University of Iowa

Indian officials visit area schools

September 8th, 2011

The following article is from The Iowa City Press-Citizen

By Stephanie Wise

A group of nearly 20 school administrators from India are visiting Iowa City through Sept. 14 for a leadership summit about U.S. education systems, particularly that of the University of Iowa and the Iowa City Community School District.

For them, it’s an opportunity to learn instead of teach.

“They have questions about everything from, ‘How do you feed that many students in the school system?’ to ‘How do you implement technology in a meaningful way?’” said Liz Hollingworth, summit co-convener with UI geography professor Rangaswamy Rajagopal and a professor in the UI College of Education’s Educational Policy and Leadership Program. “(We hope they learn) how to cultivate students who are creative and have a deep understanding of the applications of math and science.”

The International School Leadership Summit began Tuesday with opening remarks by Iowa representatives, including wrestling legend Dan Gable, UI College of Education dean Margaret Crocco and Scott King, assistant dean of International Programs at UI.

Wednesday’s schedule included a tour of City High and a question-and-answer session with Principal John Bacon, a meeting at the ICCSD central administration office with district administrators and a distance education seminar.

Upcoming events for the remainder of the summit include a visit to the Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development and a field trip to Garner Elementary School.

Hollingworth said most of the summit is devoted to “showcasing the jewels in Iowa.

“We hope they plan to identify children in their own schools and fly them here next summer for the Belin-Blank Center,” she said. “And we’re hoping a lot of them decide to have their teachers sign up for master’s degree programs (at UI).

“They’ve met several graduates that we’ve prepared to work in diverse settings,” she said. “That’s something new in India.”

Sunita Tanwar of Delhi said she’s had “a wonderful past two days” at the summit.

“We are trying to understand the system of education in the U.S.,” she said before the meeting at the central administration office. “It’s been a great experience for us, an enjoyable experience.”

Aditi Banerji of Mumbai said she hopes to learn more about the “assessment of children” in the Iowa school system and to hear from local education leaders.

Hema Surapaneni of Hyderabad said she plans to enjoy being the student instead of the teacher for the next several days.

“We’ll have the student experience for (nine) days,” she said. “It’s been very memorable.”