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Dear ASIBA members,

As 2005 draws to a close, it is time to take stock of what ASIBA has done over the past year and to plan ahead for the years to come. For new and prospective members, however, may I just remind you that ASIBA was set up in December 2000 to support and promote the British option of the OIB following UCLES’ (University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate) withdrawal of most of the logistical and financial backing which had previously enabled it to function with a full system of examiner training and inspector moderation. ASIBA’s present role therefore, as most of you will know, is to subsidise these aspects of the option with a view to helping it maintain its functioning and quality as fully as possible.

What has happened this year, then, as far as this support is concerned? Well, after a festive start with our AGM combined with a five year anniversary celebration attended by representatives from all member schools and two distinguished speakers from UCLES and from the French inspectorate respectively, ensuing OIB activities confirmed a pattern that seemed to be emerging from previous years, particularly with regards to teacher/examiner training meetings. These took place, as has been the case in recent years, twice during the school year in both OIB subjects (language/literature and history/geography), with the following elements on the annual agenda:

  • analysis of existing procedures
  • proposals for improvement
  • continuous development of practising teacher/examiners
  • induction of new teachers into the examining process

It is becoming increasingly obvious that this trend is not a luxury but something that is absolutely essential if the OIB British Option is to maintain the consistency of teaching, examining and moderation which has been its trademark up to now whilst at the same time planning for the rapid growth that is taking place within the option at the moment. This growth has been fairly regular over the past five years, moving from around 220 candidates in June 2000 to 395 in June 2005. Next year will see numbers soar, however, to a planned 498, with four new schools joining the operation, leaving no doubt that efficient management of the immediate future is critical.

ASIBA’s support in this effort is, at the moment, essentially financial: in 2005 the association funded four visits (travel, accommodation and subsistence) from inspector-moderators whose presence we feel is indispensable at training sessions. This has used up nearly the entirety of our funds – if we wish to provide the same support next year, membership fees as they stand now would not suffice. We, as members, therefore, need to take stock of the situation and act accordingly. At present the annual membership fee is fixed at 85 euros, as indeed it has been since early 2003 when it was slightly increased from 76 euros (500 francs) which was the original fee adopted when ASIBA was founded. Given the growth in the option’s needs since then, we would like to encourage our members to adopt what we consider ineluctable changes in the membership subscription system. These would involve the following:

  • an increase in the present fixed annual rate from 85 euros to 100 euros for each school and each parents’ association member
  • a new additional fee element payable only by the school member (or if none the parents’ association member) which would take into account the number of OIB candidates for individual schools (on the basis of the previous year’s OIB entries ). The proposed additional fee element would be 25 euros for 1-20 candidates; 40 euros for 21-40 candidates and 60 euros for 41+ candidates.

It is felt that this system, whilst ensuring the possibility of continuing the funding described above, would also be more equitable, with the schools with the largest number of candidates making larger contributions to operating costs.

I would ask you, therefore, to consider the Directors’ proposals in the light of how strongly they feel that the present system must be maintained and that these relatively minor changes are one way of addressing the issue. We are sure you will come along to the AGM or send in your proxy form and vote favourably for their adoption.

With all best wishes for a happy festive season and a very successful 2006 to you all,

Donna Philip
ASIBA President
December 22nd 2005

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