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April 12, 2011

Schools Look To Sending Students On Play-and-Work Holidays


12 April 2011

Bindu D Menon, Ashwini Phadnis, New Delhi:

If you find a bunch of talkative school kids sitting next to you on your next flight to Singapore or the US, don't be surprised. From April 1, Singapore Airline has launched School Contact programme in association with Tourism South Wales a contest for students studying in classes V to VIII in 40 schools across six cities, including Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai and Ahmedabad.

Students will be encouraged to work with their parents/teachers to prepare a project showcasing Sydney as a family holiday destination what makes flying on SIA so incredible.

The contest winner will have the opportunity to visit Sydney, while the second and third runners up will receive a cash award of Rs 10,000 and Rs 5,000, respectively.

Travel agents say that this is a new trend which has caught the fancy of schools across the country. In the recent past, some schools from the South had sent their wards interested in science to NASA in the US.

The Education Counsellor, DPS, Mr R.K. Puram, told Business Line that the ‘education through travel' programme that the school offers helps children get maximum exposure outside the school periphery to understand a certain locale if they wish to pursue higher admission in the future.

For students, the exchange programmes come with a package of understanding the culture and tradition, heritage and bonding over with the host family in a foreign land.

DPS has so far undertaken educational trips to the US, the UK, Germany, France, Japan, Bhutan, Hong Kong and Singapore.

While the school selects a set of students, the air ticket and visa costs have to be borne by the student. Staying usually is provided by the host country or family.

Explaining the trend a Mumbai-based travel agent said, “earlier schools would take their students for picnics, then they started excursions within the country and now with disposable income of parents increasing it is becoming easier on the pocket to send their children abroad.”