The government is giving £17 million to help support links between UK schools and 29 developing countries around the world over the next three years.
The funding has been given to the on-going Connecting Classrooms programme, which is run by the British Council and supports UK school links and partnerships with more than 50 countries worldwide.
The new money will allow 1,800 schools to benefit from a full programme of support, while as many as 18,000 schools will be able to collaborate with overseas partners online via web-conferencing, discussion forums and mobile phone apps.
Schools will be encouraged to make creative use of technology, including joint assemblies with children in other countries via web-conferencing and the use of a dedicated website to help find suitable links, keep in touch and develop their partnerships. Teachers will also be urged to take part in online forums to collaborate and share expertise.
International development secretary, Andrew Mitchell, said: “This new programme will allow more children growing up in the UK to learn about the world around them, about the facts of poverty that face children their own age in developing countries. I urge all schools to consider how they can use this opportunity to benefit their students.”
Education secretary, Michael Gove, added: “International links between schools can be hugely beneficial to both teachers and pupils. This programme will bridge geographical boundaries to spark interaction between classrooms and open up new understanding of societies, languages and cultures around the world.”
Elsewhere, courses in school leadership will help more than 3,200 heads overseas to improve their school management skills, while teachers in the UK will be able to share their leadership expertise with peers in developing countries, through a mentoring programme.
The Connecting Classrooms programme will also allow more than 15,000 teachers to complete professional development training in global citizenship, ICT and English language for international exchange.
Visit Connecting Classrooms to find out more.