As we prepare to look ahead to the objectives which our Association wishes to set itself for the future, it is useful to think back to our General Assembly of April 2008 ( which also took place here in St Germain) and to reflect on the issues which we discussed and the extent to which we are successful in dealing with them.
This process of evaluating the work of our Association guided our deliberations at the meeting of our Board of Directors in December 2008.
SUPPORT OF THE BRITISH OPTION OF THE OIB
We reminded ourselves last year that ASIBA’s role is to support and to promote the Option in a variety of ways whilst striving to ensure that this support could not be construed in any way as interference in the transparent neutrality of the examination structure.
This support was seen first of all in the Association’s efforts to help maintain the quality of the examination:
A. FINANCING OF TRAINING MEETINGS IN BOTH SPECIFIC SUBJECTS
These training sessions for OIB teacher/examiners are now organized over a 2-day period in each of the two subjects ( Language/Literature and History/Geography).
Training is given by our Cambridge Inspectors, currently Adrian BARLOW and Claire SLADDEN, to whom we would all wish to express our sincere gratitude for their commitment, professionalism and constant support. ASIBA takes care of the payment of fees for our Inspectors and has instituted a review procedure to ensure that we try to keep fee payments in line with true costs and expenses.
By enabling ALL OIB teachers to benefit from these indispensable training sessions, ASIBA helps to maintain true equality for all colleagues involved in the teaching and examining of the British Option.
These extremely well-attended and stimulating meetings are of the highest professional standard and are an essential tool in reviewing and improving the quality of the teaching, examining and professional reflection of all involved in the OIB and consequently contribute to the pedagogical quality of our International Sections.
B. PROVIDE A STRUCTURE FOR ADVISING/SUPPORTING NEW OIB SCHOOLS
ASIBA has been very active in encouraging all OIB schools to become involved in the Association – membership increase has been very encouraging.
Schools which have recently joined the British OIB Schools Group and have begun presenting candidates for the OIB are able to use membership in the Association to obtain advice and support from other member schools, sometimes in the form of visits and observing classes in other places.
C. INCREASING AWARENESS OF THE OIB
ASIBA has supported financially initiatives aimed at increasing awareness of the value of the exam in UK educational circles in order to facilitate for OIB graduates entry to UK higher educational establishments. The Association was pleased to finance the presentation to UK university admissions tutors in June 2008 by Rob MILLER and Alan ACKROYD. Further initiatives of this kind are planned for 2009.
ASIBA has recognized the need to promote awareness of the OIB with French higher educational authorities and is hoping to organize presentations to directors of Grandes Ecoles and Classes Préparatoires.
The Association organized and financed the translation into French of the OIB Handbook, the official, Cambridge-recognised document which sets down the regulations for the operating and examining of the British Option. The annual amendments to the Handbook will be translated into French, financed by ASIBA.
The ASIBA web-site has proved invaluable in presenting and promoting the OIB and our Association will finance the translation of the site into French.
ASIBA was delighted that several members participated actively in the Congress on International Education organized in Valbonne in March 2009 by the Fondation pour le Développement de l’Enseignement International, presided by François-Xavier d’Aligny.
So where do we stand in relation to our goals for the future?
- Efforts will continue to encourage all OIB schools to become members of ASIBA
- Financial support will be given to the organisation of presentations on the OIB to higher educational establishments in France and the UK
- Continued and extended support will be given to the organization of training meetings for all OIB teacher/examiners in both specific subjects
- If appropriate, financing will be provided for collaborative meetings between representatives of the French educational authorities and Cambridge International Examinations
- ASIBA will fund meetings for OIB syllabus development – this has already been requested for History/Geography
- The Association will pay for the translation into French of the amendments to the OIB Handbook
- ASIBA will organize and finance the translation into French of the ASIBA web-site
Finally, let us look at the current situation facing the OIB:
- The British Option will see an increased number of candidates in the 7 centres
- French educational authorities are clearly showing their desire to become more closely involved in all aspects of the examination, insisting on the need for harmonization and total compatibility to ensure that the ground rules of this essentially French state examination are respected
- Cambridge International Examinations are understandably anxious to guarantee that the OIB meets the criteria of excellence necessary for entry to UK higher education
For all of these reasons, the role of ASIBA in helping to support and promote the OIB is more necessary than ever.
At the Congress on International Education at Valbonnes in March 2009, a high-ranking representative of the French ministry made very clear his views on the OIB:
- This examination is unequalled in terms of being a bilingual programme of the highest possible academic quality
- The OIB is a programme of excellence which is unique in its multi-lingual and multi-cultural dimensions
- It is essential to maintain and protect the high quality of this examination
- International centres of higher education and international business organizations are increasingly aware of the value brought by OIB graduates and are looking specifically for students with this profile.
For ASIBA, it is a duty and a privilege to offer our support to this excellent examination structure.