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International school launches IB

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With educational trips to the zoo, one international school is hoping to attract more students to a new international baccalaureate  program that it will soon be implementing

Photo by: VANDY RATTANA

Northbridge students visit Phnom Tamao zoo on Monday. 

NINETY Northbridge International  School  children aged between 9-12 made the dusty journey to Phnom Tamao Monday and Tuesday to meet their favourite animals and help clean up the sprawling nature reserve, part of a new initiative between the park and school to raise awareness of endangered species and promote their preservation.

The students - many of whom have never performed manual labour - spent the morning picking up rubbish and coconut husks, moving bricks and stencilling garbage cans. The work was the culmination of a month of international baccalaureate influenced study - an education program the school hopes to implement within the next two years.

"The international baccalaureate is based on inquiry and concepts rather than academic content," said school councillor Louis Arndt.

"It is about harnessing kids' natural curiosity and teaching them multidisciplinary skills about the bigger concepts," he added.

"We have just been approved for candidate status, and we hope to have a training program for teachers beginning in March of next year. I see IB being phased in within the next two years."

Northbridge school student Barpy Chay, 11, loved his time at the zoo. "It's like a holiday. I don't mind doing the work either, I get some fresh air and its more fun."

Opportunities for teachers

Barpy Chay's teacher Simon Burden says IB offers many opportunities for his students, and the possibilities open to teachers are exciting.

"I did a questionnaire recently and almost every single kid said, ‘I love science'. Because they are having such success with it.... I am guiding and directing them but we are going down all sorts of avenues I never would have dreamed of."

The International Baccalaureate  was created in 1968 by a group of European diplomats who wanted their children to  attain a schooling certificate that would allow them to attend any college in the world.

Now there are over 2,418 schools worldwide in 131 countries practicing IB, the majority of them still international schools.

The International Baccalaureate is often viewed as a good option for highly gifted children, as the system is  based around individually directed research and learning and aims to produce "trans-disciplinary and bilingual scholars".

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