Our world is evolving more rapidly than the delivery of any existing education system. The challenge of teaching is becoming progressively tougher as the gap between what students are learning in schools and the skills they need to be successful in life continues to grow. So how can schools adapt and help their graduates succeed in life?
To adapt to the rapidly-evolving world around us GEMS World Academy (Singapore) has launched a ground-breaking graduation pathway that genuinely interests students and develops transferable lifelong skills. We spoke to Sean McAuley, Secondary Years Deputy Principal and University Guidance Counsellor at GEMS (Singapore) to find out more about this exciting pathway and how they prepare students for a successful life beyond school.
The purpose of education has always been to help prepare students to become active members of society who contribute to the growth of human culture. While this remains true, students entering the competitive higher education and work environment are facing an increasingly complex set of expectations from university lecturers and employers.
Understanding these demands and expectations, we were very excited to become the first and only international school in Singapore to offer a unique career-focused pathway in partnership with the world's leading universities. By blurring the lines between the school and universities, we provide students with an exciting opportunity to combine academic study with career-related practice in the last two years of high school. Through applied knowledge, critical thinking, communication and cross-cultural engagement, students will be well prepared to succeed at institutions of higher learning and will gain transferable and lifelong skills.
At 16, many students already have a clear idea of the career they would like to pursue and are looking for hands-on learning and experience in that field. The IBCP is perfect for academically strong and independent students who know from an early age that they want to focus on a specific career path. Students need to be highly motivated and disciplined, as they are taking rigorous university-level classes in addition to their regular IB courses.
Grade 11 student Shaquille is half-way through his IBCP studies. He is dreaming of becoming a pilot in the United States Navy. "I have tailored my pathway around my career choice and the subjects I need to go on to study at university and become a pilot," says Shaquille.
"Apart from the fact that I study what I am passionate about, I also have an opportunity to develop valuable skills, learn from university professors and earn credits for a whole year of university-level courses in the field of aeronautics. The IBCP is not only a very rigorous programme, but it also requires students to be more engaged and committed to their education. This programme has helped me to become more independent and focused on my goals. It also taught me how to effectively manage the study of four IB Diploma Programme courses at higher level, university-level courses in the field of aeronautics and service-learning activities along with various extra-curricular activities and personal time. This programme is perfect for someone ambitious and willing to develop real-life skills that allow them to shine at university and in a modern world of work."
While the rigorous IBDP is seen as one of the most preferred and traditional routes to a university, the IBCP draws on the academic rigour in combination with career-related study and real-world experience. The programme is tailored to students' interests and strengths, encouraging self-confidence and fostering enjoyment in learning.
The IBCP provides students with an excellent opportunity to:
It is a way for students to get a head start in university and develop abilities that every university admissions officer and employer wants to see. The most significant advantage of the programme is that it allows high-school students to accumulate university credits and potentially graduate early.
We established unique partnerships with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) that allow students to fast-track their career in anything from aviation, aeronautical engineering, business management, finance, and cyber intelligence to graphic and fashion design. We are continuously growing the number of pathways to provide our students with a holistic education that supports their interests and aspirations,
Students who successfully graduated and completed university-level courses have a definite advantage over their peers. The programme emphasises academic rigour and international mindedness and helps students to develop a unique set of career-readiness skills, attitudes, and perspectives they need to succeed at university and life beyond.