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2019-04-11 10:37 GMT+8

Varduhi Grigoryan-Avetisyan evaluates the mission of international schools

Having worked in many international schools before arriving at the English School of Mongolia (ESM), I was surprised to see the great difference between the previous schools I had been working at and ESM. Not all schools are established and led with the bright vision of making a change in the country it is founded in!

Having in the past been a very isolated country, nowadays Mongolia can truly be called a developing country, which has opened itself to new ideas and new undertakings which might lead to many positive changes in the future. Arising from the vision that the next few decades will see big change in the progress of the country, a lot of projects have been put into realization. That is also one of the reasons why people with the true heart of educators, and the deep belief in education as the main foundation stone allowing any development to happen, can find welcoming grounds to put their cherished vision of the ‘power of education’ into realization. The English School of Mongolia is just one school that have a number of such educators united under one roof.

The English School of Mongolia was founded in 2011 as an independent international school, accredited by Cambridge Examinations and awarded IB World School status in 2015. It is the only FOBISIA School in Mongolia. The language of instruction is English, and currently at ESM there are some 70 foreign and Mongolian teaching staff and over 750 students. Aiming at bringing about change in the education system by modeling new teaching and learning approaches, and moving towards implementing the IB Primary Years Programme and Diploma Programme, ESM pursues the philosophy and mission of supporting the developing country, seeing the bright future of Mongolia in the country’s growing generations. Mainly targeting the middle class population of Mongolia, the school is now educating the children who will later form the country’s leaders, diplomats, managers, bankers, entrepreneurs, outstanding doctors, scientists and specialists of other spheres, who will make a difference in this country.

Interestingly, the cultural background of these people ensures that, even after living and participating in higher education abroad, they will return to make a great contribution to the development of their own country. This makes this kind of international education provision more effective. In giving them everything, we get much more in return! This surely makes the vision of the school more and more effective in its pursuit of making a contribution to Mongolian progress.

Though as an international school we believe the school must have a truly international community, quite often in countries such as Mongolia, where expatriate families are few in number and where the main school community is Mongolian, being an international school means a different thing to what it might mean elsewhere. The goal of the school is to have international values related to education integrated into the educational system of the country itself.

With outstanding exam results and increasing recognition of the difference when compared to the old system, the Ministry of Education in the country has started giving serious consideration to possible collaboration to the benefit of all students. Thus even a small school may effect positive developments in the national education system itself.

As the Director of ESM, Mr. Graham Hill, says: ‘Growing a socially conscious generation who feel responsible for their own country’s progress as well as global society growth is a long and a hard process. However, if school education, which is the fundament of all further developments, is successful in growing open-minded, thoughtful, caring and responsible individuals, the belief that school can make a great contribution to the country’s development would be shown to be true, and the reward for this hard work would be seeing these young people taking a lead in all spheres’. IB education with its mission, philosophy and approaches may be helpful in ensuring this bright future is reached. That is why ESM has now taken the path of implementing IB programmes, making sure that the education the students receive here provides them with all the required skills and knowledge to be successful leaders in the 21st century as well as good global citizens. Showing the culture of being a caring and responsible individual, sharing world experiences, opening the doors of world cultures and their values, ESM aims to have this growing generation realize the values of their own culture while first seeing the beauty in other cultures.

‘Never has it been an easy task to make people see the value of other peoples’ cultures, but that is the only way to make the world a more peaceful and more beautiful place to live in. This must be the target of true educators throughout the world, and if we unite our efforts, this will happen one day. I believe people with such belief are many and they are the ones who can make this happen. I have been lucky enough work with a team that unites people who have a similar vision, and we believe we can make this change happen here in Mongolia’ says Mr. Graham.

Looking into the bright eyes of the young children in the elementary school, seeing their inquiring approach to even the most challenging global issues, how they use their problem-solving skills to suggest solutions, we feel rewarded – and become more and more inspired, believing this is not just a vision. Let’s make it happen!

Ms Varduhi Grigoryan-Avetisyan is Head of Junior
School at the English School of Mongolia (ESM).

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