Secondary Years Principal Message

I had the opportunity to attend the IB Global/Head Conference here in Singapore from Sunday to Tuesday this week. This conference is an annual event and brought together 1800 IB teachers, heads/principals, coordinators, workshop leaders, consultants, IB staff and others who attend to stay up to date with latest IB developments for all programmes, as well as learn about latest research and trends in education.

The session’s topics ranged from Diploma programme updates, evaluating the work of teachers, innovations and trends shaping the future of international education, and discussions on artificial intelligence in education.

I would like to congratulate Arnav Divaker, one of our DP grade 11 students, who delivered an excellent introduction to Dr Pak Tee Ng, the keynote speakers during the opening ceremony.

IB curriculum managers, people responsible for facilitating a 7-year-review cycle for each DP subject and ultimately for the subject curriculum and assessment, reported that the Diploma programme (DP) is gradually becoming more conceptual in its nature, thus being more closely aligned with the Middle Years Programme (MYP). DP History is already very conceptual in its core and other subjects, such as Language B, Studies in language and literature, and Mathematics will follow within the next three years.

Back at school, Mark Gardner, our MYP/IGCSE coordinator, ran a parent engagement session on concepts in the MYP last week.

Another session introduced an extensive study, to be published by the IB later this year, which has looked into the DP student workload. While the research is still being summarized, here are some early findings:

  • Students spend an average of 40 hours week on DP a week, including homework and extra lessons
  • The difference in hours spent on the DP depends on subject combination rather than an individual school
  • Girls are impacted more by stress related to the DP than boys
  • Parent involvement appears an important protective factor: the more involved and helpful parents are, the less stress students feel
  • 71% Students reported a need for a clear schedule of deadlines for IA and other non-exam components

The findings above are key to guide schools in how they implement the very rigorous Diploma programme while looking after their students’ wellbeing.

 Finally, I would like to leave you with an analogy on teachers, made by one of the keynote speakers:

‘Educators – people who plant trees, so that others can sit under the trees and no one knows who planted the trees in the first place.’

 Have a wonderful break, everyone!







Jan Stipek,  Secondary Years Principal, GEMS World Academy (Singapore)

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