SYNERGY IN ACTION
In November 2014, a young Kenyan man called John Ndung’u Njeri made the closing speech at the annual Model United Nations, held at the International School of The Hague (ISH). John talked about his fight to get himself an education and thanked the school for the part it played in supporting the orphanage that rescued John from homelessness.
The three-day conference, which simulates the actual work of the United Nations, is run entirely by ISH students and attended by schools all over the world. It gives weight to one of the core principles at the school – that of educating pupils for global citizenship and contributing to wider society.
An eco-friendly school
This semi-private school – funded by a mix of fees from parents and direct grants from the Ministry of Education – accommodates 1,500 pupils from pre-school through to Year 12 in a purpose-built, ecologically designed school. With its wind turbines, solar panels, paperless reporting and paper waste reduction, this is a school that lives by its principles. A student-led initiative led to the creation of a nature garden on campus specifically for educational purposes.
With global ecological issues in mind, students regularly report to NASA on local climactic conditions as part of the international Globe Programme. “I’m very fortunate with the quality of my staff,” says secondary school Principal David Butcher.
As the Model United Nations conference illustrates, ISH excels at synergising curricular and extracurricular activities. For the past three years, the school has raced its own car – designed, built and driven by the students – in the Shell Eco Marathon. There ISH students rub shoulders with students from other universities and technology colleges from Europe and abroad (one of the few secondary schools to do so) to see whose car can go the furthest with the least amount of fuel. Back at school, the music and drama departments come together to co-create an entire production – including script, lighting and props – that is performed to peers and parents.
The school’s PE programme is aligned to extracurricular sports; in fact, the school is renowned for its sporting prowess, regularly competing in – and winning – competitions at International Schools Sports Tournaments.
The primary school follows the IPC (International Primary Curriculum), and the secondary school follows the International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Programme (MYP) and the IB Diploma Programme (DP). Exam results at both MYP- and DP-level are exemplary. “Our results get better every year,” says Butcher. “And are above the world average.” With such good results at hand – and with the IB global centre for the Africa, Europe, Middle East region having its curriculum centre in The Hague – the school is perfectly placed to run pilot projects for the IB that then filter through the entire global system. “In some ways we are more global than local,” says Butcher. “We like to be proactive in what’s happening in our field of education.”
When ISH flew John Ndung’u Njeri over to speak to the students, it wasn’t just to participate in the conference. It was a measure of the school’s long-term commitment to this particular project.
“We want to be the game changer on that,” says Butcher. “Our school’s ultimate aim with its work in Kenya is to build a school. The brightest students will then get the opportunity to continue their studies at ISH.” While students at ISH may not face the same challenges as John in securing an education, they will graduate with an education that extends far beyond its school walls.