Last weekend Abu Dhabi played host to the annual International Baccalaureate Global Conference, a huge event which brings together educators from around the world to discuss current educational trends and to drive educational standards forward as we seek to meet the needs of tomorrow's citizens. In 3,000 schools, all across the globe, nearly 200,000 young people sat the IB Diploma exams last year and were thus wonderfully prepared for the higher academic study that they would be moving onto at university. The IB is a qualification specifically crafted to foster a spirit of internationalism, generosity and excellence, values which of course are entirely in tune with our own.
It was wonderful to be a part of the Conference and especially to see so many of our own BIS Abu Dhabi students working as volunteers, helping the delegates to find their way around and welcoming them to our city. The IB qualification is designed to do many things and one of those things is to engender a spirit of service. Active service of others is a crucial element of the education that we provide here in every year group and this ‘outward-looking’ element at the core of the IB is one of the many elements which make it the world’s best pre-university qualification. Students who have completed the IB Diploma are far less likely to drop out of university than students who have completed other post-16 courses and our former students who drop in from time to time always comment on how other parts of the IB, such as the Extended Essay and the Individual Assignments, have helped them enormously in their first months at university.
As I write, our Year 13 students are preparing their university applications and our teachers are helping them to navigate the ‘difficult waters’ of choosing courses and choosing a place to call home for the next few years. It is an extremely exciting time for those students and as teachers we know that, thanks to their IB Diploma, they will be ready for whatever demands their further studies make.