On st COBIS Annual Conference in London, representatives of international schools have revised education without formal written examinations – such as the GCSE and A-Levels – instead of adopting curricula that are less in line with the “very outdated assessment system”, said COBIS Chairman Trevor Rowell.
“There is an obsession with tests and exams, and too little attention is being paid to developing the learning qualities needed for the mid-21st century,” he said.
“And even if we already have deep technology and artificial intelligence, and with all these tools for life and education, we still follow the old systems that are largely 19th century.”
Barnaby Sandau, head of the school ACS Cobham International Schoolwhich offers IB and AP programs, noted that children did not complete the GCSE during the pandemic.
“We are in the midst of a mental health crisis. And we’re going to put thousands of kids on a whole bunch of unnecessary exams with high stakes. Isn’t this child abuse? ” He asked.
«We are not doing well in the international sector, ”agreed Matthew Savage, an international education consultant.
“We can get these grades, but the mental health and well-being of children in our schools is just as fragile, just as vulnerable, as in any of the schools in the UK. Now we are at a point where movement is very important … We are either returning to the system, which, in my opinion, was broken in the first place, or moving forward to something new.
Hailey White, Pearson’s evaluation director, nods at the report The future of qualifications and assessment in Englandsaid the sector is looking for “not revolution but evolution”.
«What I would say in terms of where we are going from here is the need to properly assess the right skills, “she said.” So for some it will be an exam with many different types of questions. Some of them may be portfolio assessments or “And I think it’s a challenge. How do we better assess what we’re trying to measure?”
“There is a lot of energy in the conversation”
«Grades and credentials are the currency and asset that students use to go and get a job [or go to university]. Are those people who use this currency to weed out students a little lazy? ” Priya Lahani, founder and CEO CENTURY Techasked.
Some at the conference stressed that they chose to teach a minimum of five GCSEs and add a more personalized curriculum through other courses, others choose IB qualifications accepted by universities.
Talking to PIE, COBIS CEO Colin Bell stressed that the strategic goal of the new COBIS development plan is to find out how the association can collaborate with higher education institutions around the world.
“There’s a lot of energy in the conversation,” he said. “And I think that behind this energy is a real depth of desire for change, but not only for their sake. But really change to provide the best path to success in life. And we all know that success depends not only on your grades in assessments.
“But I also think that in order for these changes to actually happen and be meaningful, effective and sustainable, it can’t just be about schools. It has to do with the higher education sector around the world. ”
“We are currently preparing children for the fantastic success of the quiz in the pub,” Sandau added.
“If we want to prepare them for the necessary skills so that they are ready to go out [and] survive at work … then we have to stop thinking that the only thing that matters is whether or not “I’m better than you” ”.
In addition to the topic of assessments, international schools are seeing an increase in admissions around the world. Previous research has shown that enrollment in international school groups grew by 70% for the past five years.
Parents view high-quality British schools as an alternative to schools where they “may not have had the best experience for their children during the pandemic,” Bell said. He added that financial problems around the world are affecting the growth of mid-priced schools in addition to premium schools. The number of schools is also growing.
“Of course, there is growth in Dubai, but this growth is about 6% worldwide – this is a figure we get from ISC Research, but it is not only related to Dubai or the Middle East,” said Bell.
“We are seeing a large increase in the number of British schools setting up and opening, for example, in parts of South-East Asia, particularly in Cambodia and Vietnam. We have a number of schools that are undergoing accreditation in these regions. ”
One visitor from a school in Georgia told The PIE about a small influx of families who had previously been to Russia, while another from a school where the IB curriculum is taught in Mumbai said they benefited from more teachers who apply for positions in Russian schools. who decided to leave the country.
They added that teachers who had previously also applied for jobs in China had applied for a job at a school in India’s most populous city. Selection and retention of teachers continues to be a problembut speakers also suggested ways to maintain staffing.
“We expect employees to look for opportunities,” said Ian Steele, director of results and standards. GEMS Wellington International School. Staff should be involved, prepared for development, and schools should “make sure they are part of the school’s path”.
“We will lose many great teachers if we do not become more flexible in our work”
“How do you invest in your teachers throughout the school?” Asked Joan Stendring, deputy director of training and education. “It’s not just about the barbecue at the end of the semester, but also about how you register throughout the year and have checkpoints.”
“The rest of the world has gone further. The rest of the world works from home, ”said senior lecturer Parmjit Plummer. “We will lose many great teachers if we do not become more flexible in our work.”
One group also shared statistics collected by the Council of International Schools on the pay gap in international schools. In a sector where about 70% of employees are women and only 23% of managers are women, statistics show that the average wage gap between men and women is $ 12,433 per year.
The gap when it comes to ethnicity and employees hired locally is even bigger compared to staff hired internationally. White employees earn an average of $ 33,860 more than their non-white counterparts, and internationally hired employees can expect $ 39,246 more per year than their local employees.
The pay gap in international schools data at # COBIS22
– PIE News (@ThePIENews) May 8, 2022
Speakers also pointed to the Bloomberg autopsy racism in hiring practices for staff of international schools. A school official in Saudi Arabia said it was often a problem among parents.
“They tell me ‘this teacher is not British,’ and I say, ‘Well, they’re from West London,'” a spokesman told the conference.