Education has always been fundamental to human growth and development. We know that no country in the world can achieve economic development without a robust and holistic education system. Numerous times, individuals have underappreciated it or took it for granted. However, it takes a crisis like Covid-19 for the world to understand the value of in-person education.

To minimize the virus's spread, many educational institutions across the globe put in place measures to protect the health of students, teachers, staff, and families. International School Dhaka (ISD) has, through various means, found ways to support our students academically, socially, and emotionally through innovative lessons hosted online. ISD is an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School and follows the internationally recognised curriculum for the Primary Years Programme (PYP), Middle Years Programme (MYP), and Diploma Programme (DP).

The IB nurtures thinkers and encourages students to reach beyond traditional ways of learning and approach problems creatively. PYP encourages an inquiry-based learning environment. While learning online, faculty have taught students to remain resilient and provided lessons that challenge students to think at a high level and grapple with real-world problems. In practice at ISD, children are inspired to learn creatively and participate in hands-on activities that are then showcased online for parents and peers. One of the hallmarks of the IB PYP is that students get the opportunity to voice their choices of the type of things they want to learn instead of following a strictly prescribed curriculum.

Students learn best when content is relatable and connects to their immediate lives. Thus, MYP students develop an understanding of their common humanity and shared guardianship of the world through developmentally appropriate exploration of topics such as sustainability, innovation, culture, and STEM, to name a few. Moreover, the MYP curriculum prepares students for the approaching fourth industrial revolution. BridgeU ISD’s College Counseling platform has guided us in preparing teenagers for workforce changes and jobs of the future that we may not even have imagined yet.

The future depends on innovative information, technology, and the ability to solve problems quickly and effectively. In the final years of high school, the DP programme aims to broaden students’ educational experience and challenges them to apply their rich knowledge and utilize skills that will serve them in all aspects of life, such as collaborating, communicating effectively, and demonstrating empathy. Recently, the University of Oxford conducted research and found that students who study the IB curriculum apply a significantly higher level of critical thinking than non-DP students.

The ISD faculty balances teaching a rigorous curriculum while also pushing students to be knowledgeable, caring, and inquire individuals motivated to continue learning to become successful in their chosen careers. This hard work culminates in our grade 12 students gaining acceptances at renowned universities globally, including:

The US: the University of California Berkeley, Indiana-Bloomington, Lesley, Pace, Penn State, Purdue, Simmons, Uni of Southern California, UMass Amherst, and UMass Boston

In Canada: Lakehead, McMaster, Uni of Toronto, Ryerson, and York

The UK: Brunel Uni of London, City Uni of London, Hull, Nottingham Trent, and Surrey

In Australia, Monash, and the University of Sydney

While learning online, schools are challenged to teach their students and help them to remain connected socially and emotionally. Students demonstrate their adaptability to learn differently by engaging with their teachers and peers outside of the traditional in-person routines. At ISD, the IB curriculum enables students to challenge conventional learning methods and encourages us to think outside the typical requirements of what we believe learning is. The flexibility to learn differently allows our students to develop skills to adjust to the changing ways of learning quickly and working; at ISD, our students are developing the ability to reach for the stars.

*Chris Boyle is secondary principal of International School Dhaka.