Flinders leads the world with IB courses

Flinders University will become the first tertiary institution in the world to offer a new qualification for middle school educators teaching the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program (IBMYP). The University’s offering of a Graduate Certificate follows the School of Education’s official accreditation by the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) last month.

Flinders will also become only the second university in the world – and the first in the Southern Hemisphere – to offer a Masters in Education (IB) under the same agreement with the IBO.

Viewed as an international alternative to locally-based government education curriculum, the International Baccalaureate (IB) is a global education framework which has been adopted by hundreds of schools across Australia and overseas – including by more than 60 schools in South Australia.

“Until recently, teachers in IB schools have become accredited via a series of professional development workshops held in their region,” Dean of the School of Education at Flinders, Professor Bob Conway, said.

“However, due to the significant growth in the number of IB schools worldwide, a more formal level of professional recognition is now required, and, as a result, the IBO has been working with a small network of universities around the world, including Flinders, to develop and offer these recognised courses,” he said.

According to Professor Conway, Flinders’ quality assurance model and its strong international focus were significant factors in its rapid accreditation by an IBO delegation that visited Adelaide last month.

An inaugural group of 20 students will take part in a pilot Graduate Certificate program, which is scheduled to begin in October this year, and will involve a series of three intensive workshops covering the IB Middle Years Program curriculum framework, teaching and assessment.

Coordinated by Kathy Brady, both the Graduate Certificate (IBMYP) and the Masters in Education (IB) will be full-fee paying programs and only open to teachers who currently work in IB schools in Australia and overseas.

According to Ms Brady, each intensive workshop will also feature a three-day field placement at Concordia College, one of the premier IB schools in the state.

“We are extremely fortunate to have Concordia as a partner for this program, especially in relation to the College staff who will participate in the teaching programme to ensure we provide our students with the most up-to-date methods and information as possible,” Ms Brady said.

“We have also had a phenomenal response from staff within the School of Education with no less than eight staff who have undertaken some professional development courses in IB in order to participate in the teaching of the postgraduate programs.  Without them, this would not have happened.”

Since the accreditation was announced on the IBO website two weeks ago, the School of Education has received many requests for information from around the world, including Singapore and Hong Kong.  More interest is expected to be generated within the Asia-Pacific region after Ms Brady attends the IBO regional conference in Beijing in October.

“Such has been the level of interest in this course already, we have no doubt that once we are up and running, every intake for these awards will be oversubscribed,” Ms Brady said.

Photo: Flinders nearly completed Education building will be home to IB students.

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