Assistant Professor, The Education University of Hong Kong
Ewan Wright is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education and Human Development at the Education University of Hong Kong. He is also a Research Fellow at the Asia Pacific Centre for Leadership and Change. He is the programme coordinator for the Executive Master of Arts in International Educational Leadership and Change. The online, part-time programme is designed to develop school leaders with the capacity to operate successfully in an international leadership environment and lead educational change in the East Asian context. As a sociologist of education, his primary research interests are in international schooling and the International Baccalaureate in East Asia. His research has been published in international journals such as British Journal of Educational Studies, Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, and Studies in Higher Education.
Does the International Baccalaureate “work” as an alternative to mainstream schooling? Perceptions of university students in Hong Kong
Across East and Southeast Asia, the International Baccalaureate (IB) is expanding and diversifying. More students are “opting out” of mainstream schooling to take the IB’s Diploma Programme (DP), which is marketed as a distinctive skill-based education that prepares students for university. This IB commissioned research investigated how DP alumni reflect on their educational experiences in developing cognitive and non-cognitive skills and as preparation for elite universities in Hong Kong. An online undergraduate survey (n=734) found that DP alumni self-perceived higher capacities than non-DP alumni in communication, creativity, critical thinking, cultural sensitivity, global-mindedness, leadership, and time management. In interviews (n=42), DP alumni discussed how their educational experiences “worked” in terms of university admission and developing a range of skills. However, there were complexities as the DP alumni also perceived that students from mainstream schools were often better prepared for pedagogy and assessments in the context of higher education in Hong Kong.
The presentation will provoke a critical discussion of how the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme prepares students for higher education in Hong Kong. As such, it will be of considerable interest to practitioners working at schools offering International Baccalaureate programmes in the East Asia context.