Published on July 3, 2019
I was grateful to have recently had the opportunity to immerse myself in International Baccalaureate (IB) schools overseas. I visited ten IB schools and Trinity College, Oxford University during my time away. Across the schools, I was able to observe the four IB programs: Primary Years (PYP); Middle Years (MYP); Diploma (DP); and Career (CP).
The benefit of visiting schools overseas is that I have now seen the IB outside of the Australian context and that it is an authentic global program that genuinely produces graduates who want to make a difference in the world, graduates who are world citizens. I was able to see the IB in action across its entirety – the full continuum. Any meaningful discussion or observation of the IB in the Australian context is usually infected with political machinations about the state and national curricula. It is essential to step away from this and see the IB in its fullest context. The IB has been developed independently of government and national systems to incorporate quality practice from research and the IB’s global community of thousands of schools.
While we have made an in-principle commitment to being an IB world school in the four programs, we are only authorised in the PYP. We expect to achieve authorisation as an MYP school in 2019. And then make an application to be a candidate school in the DP and CP. The visits to IB schools overseas have confirmed and affirmed that being an IB world school in the four programs is highly desirable and will produce outstanding benefits for our students.
Our junior students are living the IB PYP every day, and our Year 7 and Year 8 students are fully immersed in the MYP. All students in the middle years at HVGS, Years 7 – 10, will complete the MYP credential, and at the same time meet all of the NESA (NSW Curriculum) requirements. IB credentials are valuable currency for our students on an international stage.
At the end of Year 10, students will be given the option of studying the IB Diploma, the IB Career program and/or the HSC. This will be a student and parent choice, with prominent involvement by the school to ensure that each student makes appropriate choices for their future. The three programs are designed to be appropriate for different students, who have differences in aspiration, learning habits, work ethic and career interests. In the next two years, parents will be invited to information evenings so that the three programs (DP, CP and HSC) can be adequately explained and understood, so parents and students make good choices.
My visits to IB schools reinforced what we knew and understood about an IB education. Students in IB World Schools:
- are given a unique education;
- show a richer understanding and commitment to want to build a better world through intercultural understanding and respect;
- are encouraged to think critically and challenge assumptions and prejudices;
- develop into inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who are motivated to succeed;
- are encouraged to think independently and drive their own learning;
- are encouraged to consider both local and global contexts;
- develop multilingual abilities;
- take part in programs of education that can lead them to some of the highest ranking universities in Australia and around the world;
- become more culturally aware, through the development of a second language;
- are able to engage with people in an increasingly globalised, rapidly changing world;
- engage with a much broader, liberal education than the state-based curricula because they study more than subjects, they study mandatory core courses that cut across subjects to the holistic development of young people of integrity and character.
And, in the words of Ella, Prefect at St Edward’s, studying the IB DP encouraged “academic curiosity”.
I firmly believe that the three programs that will be on offer for students in Years 11 and 12 will mean we are providing the absolute best we can for our students, setting them up for bright and fulfilling futures, long after they have left the gates of HVGS.