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To what extent can low fee international education programmes, aid the process of decolonization in post-colonial Mozambique?

Introduction

At the end of five hundred years of shouldering the white man’s burden of civilizing “African natives” the Portuguese had not managed to train a single African doctor in Mozambique, and the life expectancy in eastern Angola was less than thirty years”

      (Rodney 2018 pp 247)

Education creates a nation’s doctors, lawyers, nurses, and teachers, all the social services needed to develop a society, keep its citizens healthy and economically productive. With few exceptions, throughout the colonial period of Africa, education systems provided for the majority black populations were geared towards the needs of the minority white settlers and their ‘mother country’ and not in the interest of most indigenous populations. The quote above demonstrates the reality of the outcomes of the Portuguese colonial education system in Mozambique.

Using the context of Mozambique, this essay will examine the rise of global transnational education programmes delivered by private schools for a growing middle class across Africa. I will examine how Enko education, a transnational provider of private education across Africa, with three schools in Mozambique, promises to help African students gain places in ‘leading’ global universities by giving students access and opportunity to study internationally recognised curricula. There are a few different international or transnational education programmes but this essay will consider only the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP). Transnational organizations like Enko education and the IB raise interesting questions for decolonization within the African historical context. What I hope to offer is a study of the increase towards private low fee international schools and their implications for decolonization, with a specific focus on Mozambique. This paper will examine the question: “To what extent can low fee international education programmes, aid the process of decolonization in post-colonial Mozambique?”

The first three sections provide contextual information and are structured similarly: considering general trends in low income and postcolonial contexts in Africa before discussing Mozambique in detail. In section one I present a history and context of some colonial education systems. Section two is an overview of the African learning crisis and rise of low fee private schooling including Enko education. In section three I examine the IB, its philosophy and history, before moving onto analysing the issues described in these contextual sections through the framework of underdevelopment in section four. In the final section I provide a conclusion.

Before continuing I need to define some of the boundaries of this paper. This is not a paper about so-called low-fee or low-cost private schools (LFPS) of which I have written about elsewhere (Vincent 2021a, Vincent 2021b) and have been the basis of much academic debate over the last two decades (See Tooley 2009, Härmä 2020). Nor is it a paper about elite private international education, the type of which is normally available to the highest socio-economic groups, referred to as Type A international schools by Hayden and Thomson (2013). Instead, I seek to examine what may be considered the middle ground, and its decolonising role, within a post-colonial context. These are private schools that cater to a growing middle class and offer the type of international education programmes found in elite schools but at a tenth of the cost. This trend sits alongside the rise of LFPS across Africa, within a general trend of privatization in the age of global neoliberal economics.

Section 1: Colonial and Post-Colonial Education

            According to Datzberger (2021) pre-colonial African education was based on social and communal relationships within family tribal and clan-based groups which focussed on the learning of utilitarian skills. These skills are those that were needed for the development, within the individual, of the social-cultural values and norms. Usually within pre-colonial societies the important unit was not the individual, but the group and hence education was focussed on developing group cohesion amongst individuals. Children were educated to engage with a particular activity, and to ensure the transmission of cultural values. Education of this type included oral storytelling and literature as well as the transmission of traditions through stories and dancing and interactive experience. Traditional pedagogies in Kenya for example, are highlighted by Wa Thiong’o (1986) who stresses the importance of using local African languages for cultural transmission and education through the Arts. Rodney (2018) claims that whilst local differences did exist between different African communities in their pre-colonial education, most did follow a similar pattern based on respect for communal relationships.

            With the scramble for Africa circa 1870, there was differing emphasis given to education between different colonial powers. Although the differences appear to be by way of degree and implementation, the intent of colonial powers was generally to absorb African societies into a subordinate position in an economic hierarchy. Thus, in British, French or Portuguese colonies, education existed to promote the interests of the colonising nation generally at the expense of the colonised. Madeira (2005) gives an interesting comparative account of the differences and similarities of education systems in Anglophone, Francophone and Lusophone colonial jurisdictions.

Whilst he was writing about his experiences of British colonial schooling in Kenya specifically, the colonial education system described in detail by Wa Thiong’o (1986) could be thought to be typical of colonial education systems throughout Africa during the colonial period in terms of its purpose (Rodney 2018). Wa Thiong’o (1986) is included here because he has written with lucidity about his personal experience of colonial education, an experience that could be thought to be typical for successful indigenous completers of colonial education, even across different contexts. He describes how the Kenyan colonial education system was designed to dominate ‘the mental universe of the colonised’ (ibid pp 16). He writes that the colonial education system focussed on the ‘destruction or the deliberate undervaluing of a people’s culture … and the conscious elevation of the language of the coloniser’ (ibid pp 16). The author goes on to describe how the colonial school served to sever the child from his community and natural environment so that he came to see them as something other to themselves. This was brought about by the deliberate use of colonial language but also ‘the alienation became reinforced in the teaching of history, geography, music, where bourgeois Europe was always at the centre of the universe.’ (ibid pp 17)

            Not only did colonial education systems place Eurocentric learning material front and centre but colonial education was elitist and competitive, designed to select and mark out a minimum of the colonised population for secondary school, university, and then junior roles within the colonial administration. The aim was to train a class of the local population that could work to keep the colonial machinery in operation. This class needed to be culturally homogenous, replaceable and have a connection with the colonizing nation. As such the curriculum and pedagogies were devoid of developing critical thinking. Wa Thiong’o (1986) describes how, in Kenya, the only mark that mattered at the end of primary exams was English. Without a pass in English a child could not move up the educational ladder no matter how bright they were and how well they scored in other subjects.

            In Mozambique the intent on paper was like that of the British and French although the implementation of the colonial education system was hampered by the lack of development of the colonial power itself (Madeira 2005). In official Portuguese political discourses, the plan was to create a shared Portuguese culture across all of its ‘overseas provinces’ where black Portuguese citizens would be created. This plan was only haphazardly implemented and never came to fruition (ibid). Portugal had been economically dominant in the region of what is now Mozambique since the 1600s but towards the end of the 1800s Portugal itself had failed to industrialise to the same extent as other European powers and therefore was unable to promote the economic development of Mozambique (Cross 1987). Instead, from the 1930s it sought to use Mozambique to shore up its own economic position through the exportation of forced migrant labour and the provision of jobs in Mozambique for Portuguese settlers who lacked employment opportunities in Portugal. Thus, on the eve of independence the Portuguese ruled Mozambique directly from Lisbon with ‘the main objective [being to] quite nakedly to get the maximum benefits and profits…for the mother country’ (Gaster 1969 pp 151). The ‘almost absolute lack of African participation in positions of economic and political leadership’ (Cross 1987) was caused by a failure of the Portuguese to fully assimilate the indigenous population through education, creating a very weak, small, and fragile assimilado (‘Africans considered to have divested themselves of all tribal customs…and assimilated Portuguese values and culture’ (Cross 1987 pp 553))petty bourgeois.

In the early days of colonial education in Mozambique (1800-1930), education of the indigenous population was left to the catholic missionaries. However, by 1900, Portugal effectively only controlled around 10% of modern Mozambique and so influence in many areas was gained by the British through the activities of protestant missionaries (Madeira 2005). Madeira (ibid) claims that in the first decades of the 20th century up to 1948 there were more schools operated by protestant missions (and under the influence of the Americans and British) than there were catholic. The Portuguese state operating in Mozambique focussed its energies initially on the provision of public academic education for the children of white settlers, mulattos (people of mixed race (Cross 1987 pp 553))and assimilados. Education of the indigenous population was left to the missionaries who favoured literacy for the catechism and the elements of training needed for the indigenous population to fill the unskilled labour roles (Madeira 2005). This resulted in an effectively two-tiered education system within Mozambique where the indigenous population who had access to schools (most didn’t) was taught just enough to be able to read and write the catechism and to fulfil their role in society as forced migrant labourers (Cross 1987, Madeira 2005). The curriculum that existed was Portuguese in values and culture and Portuguese was the language of instruction, the use of local languages in the education system were banned in 1921. This system left Mozambique with a literacy rate that stood at 5% in 1967 (Gaster 1969).

The Mozambique Liberation Front, FRELIMO, was formed in 1962 from the fusion of several exiled organisations and succeeded in its aims of securing independence during the liberation war that spanned 1964 to 1975 (Cross 1987, Gaster 1969). From its inception FRELIMO was aware of the need for education (Mondlane 1967, Gaster 1967, Samuels 1971) to ‘train cadres and promote general literacy’ (Samuels 1971 pp 69). Thus, even during the war of independence FRELIMO started schools in the areas that they were active in and began a secondary school for refugees from Mozambique in Tanzania, called the Mozambique Institute (Mondlane 1967, Gaster 1969, Cross 1987). FRELIMO adopted Portuguese as the language of instruction ‘to unite all Mozambicans above diverse languages’ (Hall & Kidd 1978 pp 124), and they were aware that ‘education must prepare us to develop a new society and meet its demands’ (ibid pp 125). Education was thus seen consciously by FRELIMO to build a successful post-colonial society. However, despite efforts post-independence, the educational picture in Mozambique is still severely underdeveloped with a recent report citing an average years of schooling at 3.2 years of education amongst the population and high levels of illiteracy (Härmä 2016).

Section 2: The African learning crisis and Enko education

The educational situation in Mozambique presents echoes of a wider African ‘learning crisis’ (Oketch 2021) recently described as severe by the World Bank (The World Bank 2017). The argument put forward by Oketch (2021) is that the increased access to education brought about by EFA has caused a decrease in the quality of education in some African contexts, for example Malawi (Inoue & Oketch 2008, Härmä 2016). The crisis has arisen because schooling is not the same as learning. There has been improvement in access to schooling, but the quality of that learning is poor or declining with many children not meeting minimum indicators (Oketch 2021). Other authors cite country and school contextual factors to explain differences in learning outcomes for children in different African countries (Carnoy et al 2014). Studies show that a large proportion of students across Africa are 3 years behind where the curriculum expects them to be in terms of literacy and numeracy (The World Bank 2017).

Because of this perceived poor quality in public education many families have turned to the private sector. The education systems of low-income countries have witnessed increased privatization and the creation of education markets, through the rise of LFPS and an increase in Public-Private-Partnerships (Unterhalter et al 2020). Many authors have documented this trend (Tooley 2009, Härmä 2020) and there have been some large-scale studies examining the evidence of the effectiveness of private schooling (Day Ashley et al 2014). This is a global trend that affects many low-income contexts. Added to this learning crisis there has been an increase in the middle class of the Global South in recent decades who have been clamouring for more and higher quality education (Gardner-McTaggart 2014, Härmä 2016). One of the ways this demand for private schooling from an emerging middle class in Africa is being met is by private actors through for-profit education companies like Enko Education.

Enko Education is a for-profit educational company, inspired through the meeting of Cyrille Nkontchou, from Cameroon, and Eric Pignot, from France, at MIT Sloan School of Business in 2012. It has been funded by private and institutional investment finance from both inside and outside Africa including Proparco, Oiko Credit and Enko Capital (Materia 2021). The founders of the company worked in Management Consultancy and Finance in Europe before starting the company (according to their LinkedIn profiles). The founders were puzzled by the seeming lack of African students at their university, relative to students from other comparable regions like India (Allen 2020). Enko education was established with the mission to:

increase access to the world’s leading universities through high-quality international education.’ (Enko 2021).

To illustrate what Enko means by high quality international education, most Enko schools offer IB programmes as well as Cambridge International programmes. ‘World leading’ is an ambiguous phrase, but the fact that in 2017 a student from their first cohort gained a scholarship to study at Yale in the US (Allen 2020) serves to illustrate the company’s intent. Their aim is quite simply to help African students go to university in the Global North as this is where most world leading universities are located according to international ranking criteria. At an estimated 3000 USD cost per year in fees, Enko schools are catering for a growing middle class in Sub Saharan African countries. Currently they operate 16 schools across Africa with nearly 3000 students, with the first school being founded in Yaounde, Cameroon in 2014 (Enko 2021). Currently Enko has three schools in Mozambique: Enko Riverside which offers the IB DP; Enko Sekeleka which offers international A levels and Enko Benga which will offer programmes to both local and international students.

Section three: The IB

Whilst there are a variety of international curriculums available, here I will examine the IB which was officially founded in 1968. Its first programme, the DP aimed to provide a broad, balanced and challenging education that could promote international mobility by providing an internationally recognised university-entrance examination. The first DP exams were delivered in 1970, but its philosophical roots go back further (IB 2021b). The ideas that were embryonic to the IB can be traced back to the publication of a UNESCO booklet entitled “Do Education Techniques or Peace Exist?”by Marie-Thérèse Maurette (1948) who was the director of the International School of Geneva at that time. The concern for promoting peace continues to be reflected in the mission statement of the IB:

“The International Baccalaureate® aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.”

           (IB 2021c)

LanguageNumber of students taking exams
1st language exams2nd language exams
Amharic500
Arabic8641323
Sesotho12>10
Swahili38172
Ndebele0>10
Shona0>10
Zulu0>10
Table 1: African Language examinations taken by students in the May 2020 global IBDP Exams. Source IB Statistical Bulletin:

Today the IB provides four educational programmes for children from primary age all the way through to pre-university secondary level. All programmes are underpinned by a similar educational philosophy. At the time of writing there are 5,500 schools across 159 countries delivering educational programmes to nearly a million children (IB 2021a). Of these around 80 are in Africa or 1.5% of the total IB schools worldwide (Hill 2018). As of 2018 there were no government or state schools offering any IB programs in Africa despite attempts throughout the history of the organization for it to work with governments across Africa notably in Senegal and Ghana (Hill 2018). Uptake of the IB by African schools since the 1970s has been slow and not in line with the early vision of the founders who felt that the IB had something to offer the education systems of newly independent states in Africa (Bunnell 2016). Cost is identified as one factor for this slow growth (Bunnell 2016). IB programmes are expensive for schools to run and therefore most schools that offer the program are catering to communities that can afford this type of global education, so called traditional Type A international schools (Hayden & Thompson 2013). Other barriers to adoption of the IB by schools in Africa are cited as: lack of IB conferences and teacher support on the continent; the fact that the IB in Africa is managed from the Netherlands; and a Eurocentric bias in its pedagogical outlook and philosophy (Blunnel 2016).

The IB emphasises constructivist, learner-centred, and inquiry-based pedagogy being heavily influenced by the pedagogical approaches of John Dewey, A.S. Neil, Jean Piaget, Jerome Bruner, all of whom were influential educationalists in the early to mid-20th century (IB 2021b). These principles are at the core of all IB programmes and are highly aligned to current global education policies. In addition to its core pedagogy IB programmes aim to be broad and have strong focus on languages. Students from around the world can take their DP subject exams (like maths, history or science) in English, French or Spanish and can study a variety of world languages as a first or second language. It is also possible for schools to request language exams for languages that may not have a large representation globally. Table 1 shows the number of students who took first or second language exams in each African language available in the May 2020 DP exams.

Section four: Underdevelopment

In the first three sections I have examined the colonial and post-colonial education system, the rise of private education in low-income contexts and the IB. In this section I will use the theoretical framework of underdevelopment as described by Rodney (2018) to analyse these trends.

Africa, taken as a whole, has been drastically underdeveloped by its historical interactions with Europe, according to Rodney (2018), who describes how the pre-colonial trading relationships between Europe and Africa, served to widen what was only a narrow economic gap initially around 1500 into a chasm by 1870. It is claimed that these trading relationships, which were focussed on the exportation of human beings from Africa, served, in the main, to stall the development of African societies from this point on. Several reasons for this stalling are claimed, but primarily it was the forced exportation of human labour, which is the foundation of development, that was the keystone of underdevelopment. These relationships also corroded social relationships within African societies.

Rodney (2018) contends that because of the stagnation of development in Africa through pre-colonial trade, European imperialists were able to invade and dominate the African nations in the colonial period. Education was seen as necessary to change the population to accept colonial administration, as discussed earlier. Education during colonial times, developed an administrative middle class in many countries, who had vested personal economic interests in keeping the economic relationships established between the colony and mother country intact. As Wa Thiong’o (1986) writes: ‘By education children are brought up in the culture, values and world outlook of the dominant class which may or may not be the same as the class of their birth and family. By choice they may opt for one or the other side in the class struggles of their day’ (ibid pp 104). This policy has been documented in Mozambique by the creation of assimilados despite the Portuguese being less successful in this than the British or the French. Writers like Fanon (1961) described how, following the liberation movements across Africa, the stage would be set for a new relationship: neocolonialism. In neocolonialism Fanon (ibid) describes how ‘the former dominated country becomes an economically dependent country’(ibid pp 77). He goes on to write that ‘the colonies have become a marketthe important thing is not whether such-and-such a region in Africa is under French or Belgian sovereignty, but rather that the economic zones are respected’ (ibid pp 51). After independence and in the neocolonial period, the ruling political elites who have been educated under the colonial system have more in common with European interests and less with their countrymen. Fanon describes these political elites as ‘spoilt children of yesterday’s colonialism and of today’s national governments, they organise the loot of whatever national resources exist’ (ibid pp 37).

The adoption of the IB by Enko schools in Mozambique sits in this historical narrative and has implications that need to be considered in this light. From this starting point we will examine first how the Enko model of education fits into this narrative followed by the role of IB in supporting decolonization in societies like Mozambique.

Section 4.1 The Enko model

As presented, the Enko model of education, provides access to international education programmes, at a fraction of their normal cost, to African students to enable them access to universities in the Global North. International education programmes are adopted as these are seen to be of higher quality than the state education system and easily recognisable by admissions officers at universities in the Global North. Although there is a focus of getting access to university more broadly (not every African student in the schools can win scholarships to Yale), the stated intention is to gain admittance to ‘world leading’ universities. Although the term ‘world leading’ is appropriately ambiguous for marketing by implication this means access to universities outside of Africa. Afterall, according to data, only four African universities make it into the top 500 global universities, with highest placed being at number 226 (QS 2021). For the sake of this paper, I assume that by world leading, Enko means ‘outside Africa’. This model when analysed by the underdevelopment framework presents several issues.

The model of European finance providing investment to African children to attend universities in the Global North is reminiscent of situations described by Rodney (2018 pp 258) where colonial governments provided investment opportunities for their businesses, seemingly to develop Africa but which ultimately benefited the colonial state. In similar fashion with the Enko model, investment is provided to Africans to ultimately pay very high international student fees to relatively expensive universities in the Global North. Thus, investment ultimately goes to providing income for the education industry of the Global North. During the colonial period, trade from Africa to Europe and America was encouraged to the exclusion of trade between Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Colonial powers blocked development of machinery and skills within Africa in the colonial period to ensure that African industry did not compete with European industry. By focussing on world leading universities (as measured by western metrics) history is in danger of being repeated through modern trade in educational markets. This situation potentially leads to further underdevelopment of African universities and is in danger of creating educational dependency on Northern educational institutions. Dependency is increased because more Mozambicans become dependent on the northern education institutions.  In time these individuals may have a vested interest in maintaining this economic status quo.

Clearly capital is needed to run schools, but the profit motive shifts the overall aim of education away from the needs of individuals and their communities and to the needs of shareholders keen to recoup their investment. Afterall, these schools are creating and exploiting an education market, and aiming to make a profit; any excess that is made is not necessarily entirely reinvested back into them, as would be the case in a not-for-profit private school. For-profit schools have been known to close at short notice when the profits do not materialise, putting children, who may be halfway through a program, at a severe disadvantage, particularly if there is no alternative provider of the same program (Jones-Nerzic 2020). Making a profit is therefore the primary aim, education is secondary.

The financing of these schools through investment by Global Northern finance illustrates Fanon’s markets as quoted above and means that ultimately any profits made by these schools are taken out of Africa and back into the Global North. This clearly serves to underdevelop the community as money that is made by families in Mozambique for example, is used to pay schools fees, some of which goes into paying teacher salaries and other administrative costs but some of which finds its way back into the Global North via the repayment of loans and profits to non-African shareholders and finance. This ultimately leaves fewer financial resources available for the local communities than if these schools were run by the government or as not-for-profit entities. It could be argued that without the profit motive, investment would not be available to run these schools which provide education and employment. I would argue that every government has an obligation to provide quality education for all its citizens and investment in education should be provided through these channels for the ultimate benefit of society.

International education of this type may bring benefits to the individual, but the benefit to the wider Mozambican society is harder to ascertain. Individuals who reap the benefit of this education and move abroad are not likely return unless there are suitable jobs and opportunities for them to do so, a problem that schools like Enko do not seem to address in their mission. This model potentially serves to increase inequality in Mozambican society as the very poorest are excluded from these opportunities. By overlooking this, these schools could potentially contribute to continued underdevelopment of the society by encouraging the removal of human resources from Mozambique, creating an additional problem for the government: providing suitable opportunities to encourage diaspora to return and loss of intellectual talent needed in society. It seems unlikely that this model of schooling will help to provide Mozambique with more Doctors, nurses, and teachers. Here we see the tension between the needs of developing individuals and the need to develop a society. I argue that education of this sort is not helping to create a socially just society and will continue the legacy of European interaction with Mozambique as highlighted in the quote at the beginning of the essay.

Section 4.2 An international education

Some writers have highlighted the problems arising from transplanting IB programmes into non-Eurocentric cultural contexts. Drake (2004) examines the cultural dissonance and tensions that arises from the implementation of the IB in Hong Kong for example. The pedagogical approaches that the IB favours were developed in the context of liberal democracies where individual freedom is stressed. These educational philosophies reflect the societies that they were gestated in and may not always be appropriate in all cultural contexts.

Liberal individualism runs to the core of IB philosophy and educational approach, not surprising considering that the key educational thinkers who the IB based its approaches on were all European or American men and were developing their theories within the liberal culture of those societies. Thus, the drive for learner-centred, inquiry-based education where the individual student takes control of their learning has roots in this Eurocentric way of understanding the world. Not all societies place such emphasis on the individual and it is documented that pre-colonial education within African societies was generally based on the needs of the society not the individual. Education may be beneficial for the individual but if there are no jobs suitable for the individual to come back to then it won’t benefit society but instead continue its underdevelopment.

Not only is the IB Eurocentric in its educational philosophy but it is also Eurocentric in its content. There is some scope for African study in history and through African languages, but as a science teacher of IB curriculums I know there is little to no mention of African scholarship in these curriculums. The narrative of these subjects is firmly outside Africa. In the IB DP biology curriculum there is no mention of any African scientist or the contributions of Africa to the advancement of scientific knowledge. In fact, the guide for DP biology only mentions Africa once as, a side note. This lack of African perspective demonstrates a possible lack of involvement by Africans in the development of the content. For biology alone it is possible to find examples of content that could link well to the African context for example the development of knowledge in biochemistry from foodstuffs derived from Africa.

African writers have provided ample examples of the misfit of European based education programs under colonialism being imposed on African society (See Wa Thiong’o 1986, Rodney 2018 pp 300-304) and I do not have space to include them here. But these programs served to Europeanise the indigenous population and ‘it followed that those that were Europeanized were to that extent de-Africanized, as a consequence of the colonial education and the general atmosphere of colonial life’ (Rodney 2018 pp 304). If international education is really going to serve the interests of African societies, then it needs to become more culturally sensitive in terms of its philosophy and content, allowing more flexibility to and representation of local needs and wants in its educational approaches and providing more input from African scholarship across its content. Even in Enko schools which employ African teachers (not necessarily local teachers) the head of school is normally from the Global North. This individual is likely to have limited sensitivity to the issues raised here and will be steeped in the cultural atmosphere of international education as described above.

Finally, the IB provides access to its curriculum in the colonial languages of English, French, and Spanish, so that students can study their entire DP in either of these languages if they wish. It is interesting to note that even in Mozambique, FRELIMO decided on using the language of the coloniser in its educational system with the aim of uniting different groups. Other African writers have criticised the adoption of European languages as national languages by independent governments and emphasised the need to adopt local African languages. While the use of European language by governments may have been pragmatic, it is a symptom of the neocolonial relationship. If this is the case, the IB would do well to adopt an African language more broadly in its African schools.

Conclusion

I set out to explore the question “To what extent can low fee international education programmes, aid the process of decolonization in post-colonial Mozambique?”. My argument suggests that the model of for-profit low-fee international education programs risks continuing the process of underdevelopment and increasing dependency. It potentially does this is by making the better off and more educated members of Mozambican society dependent on higher education institutions located in the Global North. Society in Mozambique cannot fully decolonise until Higher Education institutions of quality are developed and economic opportunities for skilled individuals become available in the country. This requires investment from the government. In a sense we are witnessing the creation of education markets in Mozambique. It is my contention that these markets serve to strengthen the position of northern higher education institutions.

 Another way dependency is increased is through the removal of capital from Mozambique back to institutions outside of Africa. The for-profit model does not ensure that finance is contained within the communities the schools serve and it promotes loss of intellectual talent. If those individuals that can access higher quality education ultimately leave the country, then developing a robust, independent society in the long run is potentially hampered. These relationships mirror many of the situations of the colonial period of Africa as described by Rodney (2018). Ultimately the exportation of finance and human capital to the Global North from the Global South will not serve to build an independent Mozambican society in the long run.

Finally, the pedagogies encouraged by the IB are Eurocentric in philosophy and origin, while the content taught in many courses could be developed further to encompass more of the African local experience and context; I provided one example for one course but there is scope that this could be the case in other subjects. The involvement of more diverse viewpoints in the development of IB content would be one way that this organisation could aid the decolonisation process.

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  • QS (2021) https://www.topuniversities.com/university-rankings/world-university-rankings/2022 accessed 21st July 2021.
  • Rodney (2018) How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Verso. London. New York.
  • Samuels, M.A. (1971) The FRELIMO School System. Africa Today. Vol 18. No. 3 pp 69-73.
  • Tooley, J. (2009) The beautiful tree: a personal journey into how the world’s poorest are educating themselves. Cato Institute. Washington
  • The World Bank (2017), The Learning Crisis. Learning to Realise Education’s Promise. World Development Report. Washington DC.: International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank (Part 2). http://www.worldbank.org/en/publication/wdr2018 accessed July 2nd 2021
  • Wa Thiong’o, N. (1986) Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature. James Currey. Woodbridge.
  • Unterhalter, E, Ron Balsera, M, Dorsi, D (2020) What can be done? The Abidjan Principles as a human rights framework to evaluate PPPs in education in Critical reflections on Public Private Partnerships Gideon, J & Unterhalter, E Editors. Routledge.
  • Vincent, W. (2021a) To What Extent Could Low Fee Private Schools Aid Development in The Republic of South Sudan. EDPS0057: Education and International Development: Concepts, Theories and Issues. UCL IOE. Unpublished Essay.
  • Vincent, W. (2021b) Can The Expansion of Private Schooling in Developing Countries Serve To Improve Access, Efficiency, Quality and Equity in Basic Education: The Case of Primary Education in The Republic of South Sudan. SOCS0020: Economic perspectives on education policy. UCL IOE. Unpublished Essay
Categories
Coordination

The Core: Extended Essay in the DP

Originally posted on November 26, 2019 @ 9:00 am

A summary of my week hosting #DPChat focussing on the integration of the extended essay into the rest of the IBDP.

With much thanks fo the many educators who got online and joined the discussion that week and provided the ideas that I have collated here. These are the people to follow on Twitter:

@JeffersonLars @Elfdaws @ExtendingEast @agudteach @rajashree_basu @trigrama @malikah_sheriff @AdrianvWJ @shoey_sarah @geogeducator @IdeasRoadshow @zoebadcock @bear48

Why is the EE important?

At the most basic level, it’s good preparation for university.

Students get to follow an interest (lacking in some subjects) develop excellent research skills, work one on one with their mentor (communication, self development) fine tune essay writing skills for further Ed.

I think EE is a great project that is an opportunity for students to formally connect content, concepts, and context in a meaningful way. Investigating, researching and reporting a detailed evaluation of diverging viewpoints is a life skill.

As a former IB student, the two takeaways that you keep for life are: 1) learning about learning, the ATLs that make you a lifelong learner; and 2) knowing about knowing, which comes from #TOK and builds up your critical thinking skills.

Ideas for structuring the EE

We’ve just kicked off the EE with our EEco @MalinMeiLing . We started with a fair to celebrate the end of the grade 12s. They gave tips to grade 11 & their essay review. Next was the intro workshops explaining process & looking at global issues. Next week we’ll have fair with subjects represented.

#DPChat As a mentor it seems to be my job to teach my #IBEE std how to reference and use the library databases and walk them through appropriate EE structure. Students didn’t even know about the reflections they need to do.

I think as a minimum the cohort should have some workshops in the library about how to use online databases and how to reference properly using the different conventions. I don’t believe this currently happens at all.

We have an EE coordinator (@ExtendingEast) and she does an incredible job of structuring the EE for both students and supervisors, including introductory carousels, support workshops, and an EE day for focused writing and research #DPChat

HoD’s present mini-workshops (20 min) based on subject area. 1/2 our #G11 students choose which 2 they’d like to attend; the other 1/2 attend a research/writing workshop in the library. The next day, they switch. This all takes place during mentor time in the morning.

We hold sessions in the beginning working on organization and research skills. We have whole group and supervisor check ins. Reflection on the process is a skill specifically taught right after the first interaction. Citation specific session is held at the end.

On #EECelebrationDay, our G12’s came dressed as their #EE after submitting their final drafts. Special thanks to the supervisors who guided them & the parents who fed them! Congratulations, G12’s! #buzzbuzz

Ideas for integrating EE into the DP

We have EAL learners and for support and development of ATL skills of research , thinking and communication we use some templates in the initial part to induce and develop these skills. We have core lessons where explicit strategies for skill development are taught

New Lang A syllabus = new opportunities for the EE. The focus on global issues is a great segue for students to start thinking about a WSEE. Can also be more seamlessly connected to both TOK & CAS. Loving the layers of learning here

I think the knowledge framework from ToK is a great resource for World Studies EEs, helped students to clearly understand and article the different approaches of their two subjects.

This year I had students do a practice ToK presentation on their EE topic. This helped them (I think!?) to frame their topic as a knowledge question, and think a bit more about their methodology.

I think we need to structure the EE for all students in task-specific goals for each step of the EE. Break it down into doable segments with frequent meetings and strict deadlines. ATLs should be developed BEFORE DP, but we have to remember, these are NOT yet responsible adults.

We just did this service workshop with @cbkaye . The MISO method is a great way to ask a lot of questions in a short period of time. Connect your EE to #SDGs or #service and you could most likely combine your CAS and EE in an awesome way. Is this ok? Or is it double-dipping?

It’s great! In my experience consulting for #IBO they loved when there was intersection between EE and CAS. More connected learning through different vantage points and experiences.

I love sentence starters. As often know the information but may need help getting sentences and paragraphs started.

#DPchat I suggest adding one more discussion point to the #IBEE discussion: What is the role of librarians in support students with their #EE? Librarians can provide important training to students and advice on academic honesty. #lksw2019 #intlchat #sisrocks #IBDP

For EAL students doing the EE I’d say it’s actually not so different? I’d suggest going over the assessment criteria along w/ subject-specific expectations from the EE guide. I’d also want to discuss research practices to be sure they’re drawing upon quality sources …

In many cases those could be in their best language, but also pulling a lot from research in target language (probably English).I’ve been doing the EE, but realized recently I need to support the handling of sources better: finding/selecting, reading, analyzing/evaluating, using.

Categories
Coordination

Integrating TOK into the IBDP

Originally posted on November 18, 2019 @ 8:00 am

A summary of my week hosting #DPChat focussing on the integration of TOK into the rest of the IBDP.

With much thanks to the many educators who got online and joined the discussion that week and provided the ideas that I have collated here. These are people to follow on Twitter:

@tuckbarrows @alexbclearning @agudteach @simunderhill
@melloluiz2 @natalie_carman @jdesegonzac @soloelsie
@ian_huffaker @richard_royal @malikah_sheriff @AdrianvWJ
@JungnitschM @UzayAshton @steppescience @Elfdaws


The general consensus was that TOK integration is thought to be important for furthering students understanding of the subjects they are studying and also for helping students inquire more meaningfully about their subjects. A focus on TOK in subject groups enables concept centered and inquiry focussed teaching.

The need to justify ideas and insights is central to most classes and that integrating TOK terminology into our lessons on justification presents a great opportunity.

DP teachers need to understand they’re more than single subject specialists. Too many DP teachers see themselves as “just X” and separate themselves from TOK.

Teachers cannot understand TOK any better than the students if they have had no specific training on it. They think it is the subject whenever a problem is debated. So to use GMO in foods or not becomes a TOK link. This is NOT TOK and saying this is unhelpful.

Ways to integrate TOK

  • Train the faculty on TOK. The Cat 3 “TOK for subject teachers” is a great way to do this when deployed as an in school workshop.
  • Link TOK to CAS by asking TOK teachers to explain and discuss early in the DP year the term “ethics” in context and how this knowledge can be applied by students when reflecting on one of the CAS learning outcomes: “consider the ethics of choices and decisions”.
  • Collectively brainstorm the essay titles with the DP teachers. Can be conducted informally and allows for rich discussion. Insights from different subjects can also help the advice we give students.
  • During whole faculty  time, create an opportunity for DP subject teams to complete a blank template for their AOK’s knowledge framework. Promotes great discussions and helps Ts to learn about TOK reqs.
  • Carve out common planning time for TOK teachers and subject teachers. Have open conversations and invite staff into your classes is a great way to start a conversation.
  • Have a small TOK icon to signpost RLSs and TOK concepts in student materials in other classes- this is a visual reminder for all of us that there is potential for making TOK connections which we flesh out together in class.
  • Concept based teaching is one good way to incorporate more TOK into lessons. I also ask my students what they are currently studying in TOK & try to build lessons around that. Good way to get our kiddos involved, too.

Resources

Categories
University

IBDP University Admissions and English Language Requirements

Originally posted on November 14, 2019 @ 1:05 pm

A few weeks back, I ran across a US university admissions policy that required a TOEFL score for any international student applying to the college. This in and of itself isn’t necessarily unusual but I was surprised that this policy mentioned that only TOEFL and IELTS were acceptable as part of admissions to the campus.

When I followed up with my colleague on the other side of the desk, explaining that my students had IGCSE 1st language English and was studying English A as part of their IBDP program, I was told that they would still have to submit an IELTS or a TOEFL score.

I was really curious as to the reasoning behind this policy.

Now, I want to be clear, I get that putting together an admissions policy around language is not easy and presents a significant challenge. I also get that universities want to be fair and transparent to all of their applicants. I also understand that admissions colleagues are under pressure and accountable for the levels of English that the students have that are admitted onto their programs.

I also understand that in some cases there may be visa and immigration requirements that require an institution to make students take the IELTS or TOEFL.

But, when these factors don’t apply, it seems like madness to my mind to be asking students to undertake another test even it is one that they can “bag” easily.

Firstly it adds another (unnecessary) cost to families during a process that is already expensive. Secondly it adds another level of uncertainty and stress to students who don’t always understand the reasons for it. Often they see it as another test that they need to take multiple times to get the best possible score even though the university is only looking for a score above a certain number. Thirdly, IB students are busy! They have coursework in 6 subjects, plus their Extended Essay (4000 words) plus their CAS projects plus their TOK essay (1600 words) and presentation (10 minutes).

By asking these students to take an extra test just because that’s what your policy states and for no other reason than, this is what other institutions we compare ourselves to are doing then that shows that:

  1. You don’t understand the IB Diploma Programme
  2. You don’t know what students are actually studying in Group 1 subjects of the IB Diploma Programme
  3. That you really don’t care.

Aside from the very good detailed subject briefs that show the sheer volume of literature group 1 subjects require students to engage with the IBO has even gone so far as to produce a signed letter by the director general explaining the equivalence of language A subjects and what these subjects actually assess.

If you are a university and requiring IBDP students who are studying English in group 1 to take an additional test for the sole reason that they reside in a country where English isn’t the national language then I will be counseling my students to not apply to you. At the very best it shows that you don’t value international students enough to actually find out what they are studying and at worst shows that you don’t really care.

What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts…

Categories
Coordination

IBDP induction

Originally posted on October 29, 2019 @ 2:10 pm

The last week in September was a week of firsts.

It was the first time that I presented at a conference and the first time that I ran an IBDP induction morning for my new year 12s.

Most induction programs happen at the start but what I know about how people learn tells me that spacing information out over a period of time is probably best for their long term retention of the facts.

There is a trade-off then, between front loading inductions which save time but probably doesn’t help attendees remember the material all that much and spacing them out which may maximise retention but takes a lot more time.

In fact one of my prior schools used to do just this, new staff induction was spaced out over the first term.

This year, I ran the induction morning at the end of week 5. This, I hoped, gave kids the chance to get used to the new routines and social dynamics of year 12 but was near enough the beginning of the program to not render the information meaningless.

The following were the objectives of the morning:

  • Introduce students to key information about the IBDP
  • Introduce our students to the Academic Integrity Policy
  • Introduce students to the idea of assessment, specifically formative and summative assessment and the difference between them.
  • Introduce students to the library, Questia and citations
  • Introduce some key ideas surrounding study habits

For the assessment activity we had a paper airplane competition where students were judged on the criteria below. If students asked to know what the criteria were we shared them but if they didn’t and just proceeded to make an airplane using their own assumptions about what the assessment criteria were.

Download (DOCX, 13KB)

When they came to be judged they were given one set of “feedback” against the rubric and a chance to resubmit.


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