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Globalization as a concept has received a lukewarm welcome in different spheres of the economy. However, the concept has inevitable consequences, especially the effect on education curriculum. One of the pivotal effects is the need to establish qualifications that are universal and acceptable globally. The IB (International Baccalaureate) is the universally accepted criteria, since it is practiced in most higher education institution in the world. This essay seeks to provide an integrative analysis of the impact of the hurried introduction of the IB in the school on the overall effectiveness of education delivery in the school. The other effect of globalization is mobility of labour force. Professionals, from all over the world, are work led abroad and as a result, they travel with their children abroad who will, as a necessity, want to go to school. Therefore, the Australian government decided to create a new curriculum that will gather for the needs of the international group of students. International schools have a foremost responsibility to offer IB together with schools that use the local curriculum (Phillips & Schweisfurth, 2006).
In the year 2000, education sector in Australia, especially international education, generated sufficient revenue amounting to $3.7 billion in terms of export earning. As such, it was ranked as the eight export earner in the country. The first school to offer the new curriculum in Australia was Narrabundah College. The offer of international curriculum was influenced by the growing number of international students, seeking for education in the capital city of the country. In the last decade, the number of students, taking IB option, has since increased steadily and a number of schools have entered the program because of the presence of government initiative. However, a number of schools in Australia that offer the IB option are privately owned. The prevailing reasons include: high cost of setting up and maintaining. In that, adopting the curriculum seems easy, but staying involved with the curriculum is demanding and expensive.
Nonetheless, the IB option is meant not for the large-scale market, but it is enjoyed by students, undertaking IB diploma (Rolls, 2007). In that connection, a number of students and schools are compelled to seek for this scarce value. In addition, enrolment in IB option improves a student's competitiveness in the global culture, since it will increase their prospects of success. Not only is pursuing IB diploma seen as a channel to an end of advantage, but it is a key that disengages a potential advantage in an area.
Global culture is constituted by a number of components, one of which is pursuing IB. However, the field is dynamic and keep changing; thus, pursuing IB remains as a significant qualification for international and local students who wish to gain benefit in the global area. Students with IB diploma, who leave school, cannot be guaranteed the chances of success, but they have a potent trump at their disposal. Children from different backgrounds can equally compete in the job market, since the chances of success are equally apportioned by the new curriculum. Students, pursuing IB programs, have chances of competing in a global cultural field well, though the rules are unpredictable and changes in an irrational manner. The future choices, made by the students, will reflect their past circumstances. Pursuing IB option play a pivotal role in the global field, since the upcoming direction of the world is not limited. This means that it may disregard IB or continue to value it depending on the circumstances. In fact, pursuing IB is more than the normal curriculum. Students in Australia, who choose to pursue IB option ahead of the local curriculum, agree to the significance of IB program as a powerful qualification in the global field.
The move to develop a new curriculum is guided by the discontent of existing curriculum and the need to adequately prepare students for the IB option. As a result, international schools have the opportunity to tie together the current desire as well as a need for change to suit their exceptional circumstances. In addition, adoption of the curriculum is beneficial in a number of ways, which include: it responds to technical and social change; its philosophy is applicable to worldwide education; and it is flexible, hence, it can be adopted in different areas easily. The system also responds to the needs of the global community. The IB option should offer students with the option of joining prestigious universities in the globe that automatically qualifies as the inevitable destinations for those students who enrol for the full diploma. Without doubt as IB option receives increased global recognition and a high number of students pursuing it apply to global universities, the easier it will be for students pursuing it to enter university.
The founders of IB, however, identified a number of difficulties such as the prevalence of distance between education option planners, and as such, the system that lacks any other form of control apart from teachers recommendation and series of examination have a higher likelihood of experiencing major difficulties. The country lacks a prescribed body necessary as a model for the new curriculum. The IB option is created by individuals in a more superior and responsive sense than local curriculums. The schools, offering the IB option, should also watch its recruitment policy, since there is a need to reflect an international image amongst its workforce. As a result, IB program should avoid domination of English speaking individuals in order to uphold its integrity as a worldwide institution. The sustained increase in the use and acceptance of English as a medium of communication in academic circles and trade has created a favour of English speaking countries.
In light of the above, if IB option needs to maintain its original image and its operation, there is a need for constant appraisal and evaluation. There is also a need for the curriculum to foresee problems as well as steer clear of conflicts of its philosophy with the commodity market demands. The program should avoid the temptation to increase the number of students with expense of the quality of education. The IB program has been criticised as a compromise curriculum, and there has been an anonymous acknowledgement of the prevalence of cultural bias challenge, provided its attempts and intentions are international.
The completion of this study served as the catalyst for understanding the impact of the introduction of the IB in the school on the overall effectiveness of education delivery within the school, in order to respond to the disparities that exist between the two groups enrolled in school. It would make readers comprehend the reasons given by different groups within the school community on how they feel about the introduction to the school of the IB program, whether the system has been beneficial in terms of attracting more students to the school, does it offer a preferred qualification for international students, and what has been the impact on staff of a new program. The study would also illustrate the positive relationship between the introduction of IB program and a better positioning for university enrolment in a global competitive age (Walker, 2004).
The availability of IB programs combined with an understanding of the sensitivity of the issues of the school community should benefit the students, the high school and college students of the community, the business and educators of the community, and the common residents. It could also be said that the whole school community benefits from the study.
My school is an international school, located in Sydney NSW, made up of 1500 students from Day care to year 12. The school caters for two very distinct groups. One group is the local students are taken from all over Sydney. The school has a focus on both foreign languages and music. It is compulsory to learn a language and master a musical instrument. The school do not have any specific feeder school but draw from every area of NSW for local students. The other group is composed of students who are the children of professionals who work in the Sydney and surrounding areas. The school having facilities for pre school to year 12 has allowed the school to attract a wide number of international students from many different countries. There are in excess of forty languages currently spoken at the school (Mathews & Hill, 2005).
The school has faced stiff competition from local schools, whether they are GPS (Greater Public Schools) Independent Catholic and Local schools for student.
A Principal arrived several years ago and decided that the school would introduce the world wide accepted qualification of the Diploma in International Baccalaureate. This very act without consulting any of the major stakeholders caused a great deal of resentment, plummeting morale, but interestingly increased student numbers in year 11 and 12. Schools in order to survive do need to diversify their curriculum offerings.
The principal saw this as strategy to attract more students who have worked but at the expense of other qualities and offerings at the school.
The primary focus research question is what has been the impact of the introduction of the IB in the school on the overall effectiveness of education delivery within the school.
Within this question there is a need to address several issues, which are:
• What were the advantages of the hurried introduction of IB into the school?
• What was the impact on staff, students and parents?
• Has the IB increased educational standards within the school?
• Has the IB given the school the edge over other schools in terms of student recruitment and retention?
• What have the IB results been like?
• What have been the challenges and difficulties in the delivery of the IB?
The value of pursuing IB program has been realized among some students of the country, while others do not really place a value on the enrolment in IB option. In line with this point, the importance of IB program is embedded in the advantages as well as the benefits resulting from the qualification. As such, International Baccalaureate qualifications are so much in demand and in regard to this point, enrolment is mandatory for every student who want to compete in the worldwide field. Given that most of the local students and international students in Australia pursue local curriculum, there is a need for IB programs in order that they may help the students to acquire the necessary global understanding to function in a competitive global market age.
The resulting effects of IB program are such that employee performance is significantly higher in the workplace, and provides exposure to a variety of job opportunities and increase in knowledge altogether. In this connection, IB program qualifications improve the chances of students given that the world today is inclined towards global competence and almost everything is going global. In this context, IB qualification adds to the value of the students and their competency. As well, it drastically reduces the problems of unemployment since it increases the quality of the employee services along with their job performance and innovation.
The introduction of IB program results in a number of benefits such as high student enrolment in school, and development of a curriculum that align with the specific needs of the students. In addition, the school will attract global recognition as well as a flexible curriculum that accommodate global changes. Adoption of IB options in schools uplifts the educational standards and the teachers have a shallow mastering of the content and the techniques of instruction because of their limited training.
The adoption of the IB curriculum is not by itself an international education, but schools provide reasons such as the curriculum offered, its international dimension and its ability to meet the needs of mobile foreign students. Locals attracted to IB programs regard it as superior than Higher School Certificate (HSC), and that it compliments local curriculum and that HSC is not recognised in other states. Other attributes of IB that make it attractive is marking criteria consistency, academic excellence and community service.
Hayden (2006) still asserts that IB programs are not the sole indicators of international education. The school curriculum represents work in progress, involving a considerable number of stakeholders inside and outside the educational setting. Administrators, parents, businessman, students, community representative and teachers are among those who are responsible for curriculum development and design. With IB schools that are well-established, parents have limited knowledge on what the system entails. The IB provides improved learning chances for students as well as expanded opportunities in institution of higher learning. Education system with international dimension is recognised by universities; hence, ensures an elevated adaptability for IB holders, especially in a swiftly globalizing world.
In Australia, there had been the steady increase in the level of the performance and achievement in students in year 11 and 12 from 8 to 10 %. The increase can be attributed to the IB program that is offered in the level. The renaissance is attributed to the experience of IB that includes simplification, standardization and streamline of education for students. The parents of the students frequently travel to other nations for employment purposes. The program also has significant effect on the educational achievement and performance of minority and low-income students. However, few students access these programmes because of small-scale, and perceptions, held by students, that the programme is for high income students (Davis, 2006).
There are a direct relationship between IB programs and high achievement levels. The causal relationship is bi-directional, since students pursuing IB are high-achieving, and that IB experience improves learning success. Consequently, high expectations and rigor of the IB programme and IB curriculum demands are a source of stress for students, and as such, it may have detrimental effect on students' social development. Students joining IB diploma programmes also carry with themselves high expectations and hopes of their teachers, friends and parents. The ensuing stress leads students, teachers and parents to question if the challenges and tensions, faced by students, are worth the final outcome. Also, it is questionable if the long-lasting benefits of pursuing IB option can compensate the effort and time, required by the IB program (Haslam, Schafer & Beaudet, 2009).
Teachers also express the presence of heavy workload associated with IB. In addition, performance of students in IB program is tied to bias that IBO practice. However, it is not negligible that enrolment in IB programs foster Students' academic success. Students have a high performance scale compared to non-IB students. Performance appraisals, included in the system, help in identifying students that need specialized assistance (Bacon & Bingham, 2006). As such, students with special needs are accommodated in the program. Furthermore, IB programme acts as a bridge of class distinctions, crime, and language barriers. The students also have a high likelihood of being admitted into institutions of higher learning. As a result, the students have a greater likelihood of reaping continued success, and they can utilize the skills acquired during IB programs in developing their future knowledge and careers. The efficacy of the IB programme is not in doubt, since the challenges and stress can be complemented for the better.
The study utilized primary data collection methods, which involved the use of online surveys. This is because primary data gives a researcher an opportunity to get first-hand information, regarding a phenomenon. The questionnaires were administered to all the study participants online. In order to minimize costs that would have been incurred in travelling to personally drop the questionnaires to the participants, the researcher used an online survey. This was in line with Ader et al. (2008) postulation that researchers should endeavour to minimize expenses, while, at the same time, ensuring that the whole study process meets the validity and reliability threshold.
Moreover, in response to Creswell (2003), argument that participants should not be inconvenienced during the process of data collection, each survey was posted online with annual subscription being paid. The reason for using online survey instead of self-administered questionnaires was because of the identity of the participants was to be kept as anonymous as possible. This dispute was based on the principle that others, not taking part in the study (Ader et al., 2008), will easily detect the identity of participants receiving questionnaires through the self-administration. The participants were given a two weeks time period to study the survey and complete them as required.
The structure of the online survey was in accordance with the topic question. So as to allow for maximum retrieval of information, the structure of the online survey was based on the guidelines offered by Ader, Mellenbergh & Hand (2008) as well as Creswell (2003; 2009). To this end, both open-ended and closed-ended questions were collectively utilized. More emphasis was placed on the closed ended questions because they facilitated the data analysis, classification, and tabulation of the response, codes, which have been indicated by the respondents as their answers.
Data for this study was administered by providing online survey instrument to the participants; a description of the study was included. The potential participants were made aware that at any point in the survey, if they wish to not finish, they could discontinue without any subsequent consequences. All data will be stored covering 3 years, after that, it will be destroyed and deleted from the computer’s hard drive. Any paper-based information will be destroyed in a paper shredder.
Findings of the Study
This study sets out investigate the impact of the hurried introduction of the IB program into the school with little or no consultation with the major stakeholders. Those stakeholders are teachers, parents and students. The IB was introduced to attract more students and provide the school with a more competitive edge over schools that don’t offer the IB program. The school has attracted more students, which has the flow on effect of more staff, both academic and ancillary, more school rooms (buildings) and, of course, more money.
A considerable number (75 percent) of student respondents agreed to the positive effects that IB program had in their academic performance and achievements. This was followed closely by the high number of teachers who pointed out that IB programmes impacted their major choice, which translates to their current profession. In addition, the IB option created global awareness, introduction to environmental and social topics as well as desire to be employed internationally. In addition, respondents, who enrolled in IB option, had a higher likelihood of participating in community service. A vast majority of parents (90 percent) would persuade their children to pursue IB options. The study also points a tie between IB program enrolment and continued success in post secondary education. The IB program is perceived to offer in-depth topics coverage, develop students' study skills and productivity, it also accents on developing strong analytical, writing, and thinking skills as well as developing a global dimension of students.
The trend amongst parents seemed to indicate that in Europe the IB was the preferred qualification for entry to universities. This corresponds with 98 percent of respondents who agreed that a higher number of IB students who applied for admission in the University were accepted as compared to non-IB students. It is also important to note that IB diploma students had a higher likelihood of receiving nationwide recognition for academic achievement and performance.
The findings suggest that there have been difficulties but the overall impact of the IB has been successful in its implementation. A vast majority of the respondents (87%) strongly agreed that lack of human resources, rooms, excessive workloads, and IB program stress challenged the efficacy of the program. Teachers point work related and working condition stressors such as high number of students, and limited resources as an impediment in adopting IB programs. The teachers also identified difficulty in balancing work and personal life, and stress as factors that affecting their job performance among others. However, a significant minority of teachers did not report excessive workloads, anxiety and stress as a challenge of adopting the program.
However, a vast majority of the major stakeholders asserts that running a dual system of IB and HSC had been less than harmonious, timetabling has been a nightmare as more staff has been required, more rooms, time required before and after school and some lunchtimes. Resources have to be shared and sometimes this is inequitable.
The respondents also consistently agreed that adoption of the IB program require a significant number of resources and facilities to be utilized in order for the program to retain its credibility. Nonetheless, a considerable proportion of respondents expressed positive perception and views, concerning the introduction of IB. They anonymously appreciated the benefits of a curriculum that is rich in topics coverage and provide in-depth discussion. Approximately 98% of students perceived IB program as an instrumental tool that sufficiently prepare them for higher education and future career success. This is attributed to the ability of students to transfer credits earned towards higher level courses. Overall, IB programme graduates views indicate that they value their education and the wider range curriculum that IB programmes offer. Students also had a positive view and perception towards the use as well as the choice of assessment criteria.
Based on the findings of the study and documented evidence, it is clear that the introduction of IB programs in schools is characterized by improved levels of academic achievement and performance as well as high acceptance rates in universities for students than non-IB students. Findings also indicates that IB students are more likely to record continued success in higher education as well as utilize skills attained in developing future career choices. Also, professional parents persuade their children to pursue IB option. Most parents, teachers and students have a positive view towards the new IB program.