Over Easter, I had the pleasure of attending the IB Heads World Conference 2018 in Singapore to kick-off the International Baccalaureate’s 50th anniversary year. Reflecting on the past five decades, there is no doubt that the IB has good reason to celebrate. Now offered by more than 4,000 schools worldwide, this is an educational programme with a truly global impact and it seems to me that the theme of this year’s conference - ‘Shaping the Future’ - is a wholly plausible ambition.
Alongside 1,800 other delegates (themselves testament to the truly global reach of the IB), I spent a stimulating four days engaging with the challenges facing education in the 21st century, while simultaneously marvelling at the inspirational nature of teaching as a profession. Each morning we heard from individual teachers who are pioneering innovative approaches to education, before reflecting more generally on the IB programme and premise. A particularly poignant talk came from Pak Tee Ng, Singapore’s leading educationalist, who reminded us all that true education is less about teaching and more about learning. He stressed, above all, that education is not about mastering the art of ‘spoon-feeding’. This is a sentiment we very much share at The Abbey as we strive to create a dynamic, engaging and empowering environment and I would encourage you all to listen to Pak Tee discuss this idea in more depth here.
My trip was made even more special as we launched the South-East Asia Chapter of our alumnae community, hosting events in both Hong Kong and Singapore. It was a joy to meet these amazing women who still have very fond and vivid memories of life at The Abbey in Reading even as they reside and fly the Abbey flag on the other side of the world.
As we come to the end of our 130th year, I am ever more conscious of the global pathway our girls must tread in this increasingly interconnected world. Yet I remain hopeful about the future. Our girls are internationally aware, outward-looking and intensely thoughtful and I have absolute faith they will continue to thrive as truly global citizens.
Happy Birthday IB and Happy Birthday The Abbey.