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This year our numbers are up with 22 schools subscribed and 4 newcomers expected to sign up in due course. Our ambition, therefore, to have all British OIB schools signed up to ASIBA is that bit closer to being realized.

It cannot be overstated that without the financial support offered by ASIBA in funding the training meetings for the Cambridge inspectors (and consequently for the teacher/examiners and moderators), the Cambridge examinations board would not be nearly as supportive of the exam as it has been and continues to be. The message, anyway, seems to be getting through to the schools, luckily.

This year, with the new web site, magnificently engineered and web-mastered by Derek Erb, a Balzac parent, the advantages accruing from membership continue to grow in other directions as well. This tool will allow us not only to offer the only access to the Cambridge Handbook of the OIB examination in both English and French and a lot more information linked to the exam, but also to allow better communication between schools and teachers, both pedagogically and administratively. For example, the idea of workgroups using the web site has been suggested and should not be too difficult to administer. On issues like university counseling or school projects like MUN (Model United Nations), exchange visits, trips and drama, ASIBA will be able to offer schools the chance to share their experience more and thus become more successful. These are very concrete advantages.

This year sees also the celebrations marking the 25th Anniversary of the OIB which will be held in Sèvres (whose International Sections SIS are also celebrating its 50th anniversary this year). The OIB celebration is being planned for October 14th and 15th under the aegis of the FDEI (Fondation pour le Développement de l’Enseignement Internationale), whose president, Francois-Xavier d’Aligny, is organising the 3ème Congrès to coincide with it. This event has won the full support of the Mayor of Sèvres and the regional authority. François-Xavier D’Aligny is actively working on securing the presence of a keynote speaker from the political world. It is envisaged that there will be full sessions, smaller workshops/meetings as well as a social event in the evening and it is hoped that ASIBA can participate in some way, perhaps with a presentation of ASIBA’s activities and achievements aimed at representatives of other international sections.

No other initiatives have been proposed this year; the October and March training meetings are going ahead as planned. One area where we are all awaiting developments with bated breath is the new proposed reforms of the lycée. It is early days yet, but there will be implications particularly for History-Geography in the recent proposals which are being closely studied. There will be more news at a later date, no doubt.

My thanks go to all the Board Members for their work and support and I should like to pay tribute especially to Derek Erb for his work on the web site and also to both Glenys Kennedy, my predecessor, and Philip Shaw-Latimer, both of whom are retiring this year. Philip could rightly be called the “Father” of the British OIB, as he was there at its inception and has steered us wisely and graciously over the years. Their hard work, enthusiasm and generosity with their time and energy have been quite invaluable and we all wish them many happy years of retirement, hoping they will be still willing to offer their experience, advice and encouragement from time to time.

I would like in conclusion to reiterate the plea for younger members to step forward to become part of what is going to become an increasingly dynamic association supporting an impressive and prestigious examination.

Paddy Salmon
March 15th, 2010

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