Some thoughts about university...
Head of School
One thing that I have learned from the parents at our JVLR Campus is that it is never too early to plan ahead! During my frequent interactions with parents--whether they have a child in Early Years, Primary, or Secondary--the topic of university study typically comes up. It used to frustrate me that the parents of a 4-year-old would ask about something that is 14 years into the future. Now, however, I appreciate that our parents have a real interest in the opportunities and challenges that their children may encounter well into the future and want to know how to best prepare their children. Overall, in fact, I am very pleased to be part of a school community with such active parent involvement!
Of course, there is a dark side to this anxiety about something so far off in the future. We have said repeatedly that it is impossible to predict with any certainty the kind of world our kids will enter at the end of either their secondary or university studies. This could lead parents toward latching onto the most “useful” subject, language, program, etc., that they think will provide a soft landing in an uncertain future. (For example, when I was in university, everyone was packing into classes to study German and Japanese, as these were the hottest economies at the time. It was impossible then to predict that Japan’s economy would soon stagnate for the next 20 years!) Similarly, pushing kids along a particular path or into particular fields is something we actively discourage as it can derail the learning process and harm kids.
For many of our parents, enrolling their children at OIS represents a good-sized leap of faith. We know that our school is a fairly large departure from the way in which education is “done” at most schools in Mumbai and in India. We know, as well, that our students receive an education that is vastly different from their parents, and how they learn at OIS is typically quite different from how they learned at their previous school. Understandably, many parents can be anxious about how the IB education their child receives will impact future prospects and options, particularly when it comes to university admissions and employment opportunities.
Here are a few questions I have been asked:
Many of you now know that my wife, Tiffany Goulet, is one of our university counsellors at the OGC Campus, and by listening closely to her (she may disagree with this assertion) I have been able to pick up on some very good information that allows me to give reasonable answers to these questions and others:
For those of you who worry that your child will be unable to study in India for university (even after my answers above), I can share with you some very encouraging news.
First, last week I attended the first meeting of the India Global Higher Education Alliance, a partnership between the College Board, a handful of prominent universities in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, and a dozen (as of now) Indian universities. The College Board is a U.S.-based, not-for-profit organization that seeks to improve access to quality higher education, and it has formed the alliance to expand opportunities for Indian students. The Alliance brings together not just leaders from these Indian and international universities, but also folks from a wide range of secondary schools here. Much of the forum was dedicated to helping university counselors from schools like OIS gain a better understanding of the opportunities available to their students. This is a very interesting initiative that will continue to grow over the coming years, and I am excited that OIS is a part of it!
Second, the OGC University Counselling Office is hosting its 3rd annual Indian University Fair on Thursday, October 25 for students and parents in Grades 9 - 12. From just a dozen interested universities a couple of years ago, the event now includes over 30 schools from across the country. This illustrates what I mentioned earlier: Universities in India are increasingly interested in our graduates, so much so that they are willing to do a bit of recruiting at events such as this fair to attract good kids with an IB education. Keep in mind, too, that each year, OIS hosts visits from well over 300 universities from all over the world.
Taken all together, I hope this gives you a better picture of the opportunities available to your children! I welcome any comments or questions that you might have.
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