The importance of India in our student exchange programme

Returning to reassuring routines and this blog after a visit to India and the part of half term that followed it.  A visit that reinforced both my belief in the importance of our student exchange programme and of the Indian element of it.  With a good deal of further work and, all things being well, the agreement of our potential Indian partners we should have two Indian student exchanges on the horizon; these two schools will add to the two potential New England ones. Why India? Because there is sufficient that is recognisable –  language and schooling systems – whilst there is masses that is so fantastically different that assumptions, prejudices and customs will be healthily shaken up. In more concrete terms, what better place to go to see the full spectrum of consequences that a burgeoning developing country’s economy throws up? Difficult here not to lapse into cliché (indeed, may have already happened) but glimpsing at first hand those consequences – moral, logistical, material – is a good jolt to whatever settled world view someone growing up in the south of England might have.  Add in the extraordinary melange of cultures, castes, religions, dialects and geographies and you have a stimulating brew. One very practical additional element is that by the time our current Block 5s are getting into the most formative part of their careers, India will be one of the largest 3 or 4 economies in the world: for many of our students it will be integral to their working lives.

By Keith Budge, Headmaster, Bedales Schools


Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.