What future-ready education looks like in Singapore
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What future-ready education looks like in Singapore

What future-ready education looks like in Singapore

Dover Court International School (DCIS) is a school in Singapore that offers the English National Curriculum from primary to secondary level and the International Baccalaureate for Years 12 and 13 sixth-formers. It is part of the established Nord Anglia Education group, which has 66 schools worldwide.

It’s also one of the region’s most future-ready schools.

At this IB World School, the vision is to foster behaviours and characteristics that will prepare students for their professional and personal success, such as enquiry, collaboration, resilience and global citizenship. DCIS educators believe that, armed with these, their students will be able to seize the opportunities in an uncertain future.

With the Fourth Industrial Revolution rapidly changing the workplace, a report by Dell estimates that 85 percent of jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t yet been invented. Education is a crucial cog in ensuring today’s students will be able in this reality and to compete with their peers, and increasingly so, robots.

Yet, according to a 2018 report by The Economist: Intelligence Unit, not many countries have begun to address the impact of automation through educational policy.

“Intelligent automation is expected to boost the importance of both education related to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and of so-called soft skills, which allow workers to trade on their uniquely human capabilities,” said the report.

DCIS is one such school to buck this trend.

One of the ways this FOBISIA (Federation of British International Schools in Asia) member school does so is via an emphasis on inclusive education.

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Dover Court International School

Broadly defined, inclusive education refers to a schooling system where all students, no matter what challenges they may have, can be full participants in their classrooms and in the school community.

Genuine full participation is hard to measure, to be sure. But there are stand-out indicators at 301 Dover Road – where DCIS is located – that would make one agree with that claim.

Christopher Short, Principal at DCIS, noticed the same the first time he walked through the school’s entrance.

“My initial impressions were of a sense of belonging, of anticipation, of excitement and I immediately knew it was a school community I wanted to be a part of,” he said.

After all, the school’s mission is to nurture all children to achieve their maximum potential, whatever that may be. Many schools promise this but DCIS makes this a reality.

Such progressive approach to education not only allows students with special educational needs reach higher achievement and develop improved skills. Many studies over the past three decades have shown that their peers without challenges benefit too.

A balanced, strategic curriculum for the future

In the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, there is a new demand for multidisciplinary learners, ie. those with in-depth knowledge of a specific field and sufficient knowledge in other fields that complement their specialisation.

DCIS’s curriculum ensures this through several approaches.

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Dover Court International School

Its enquiry-based curriculum offers a huge range of experiences with something for everyone to thrive on. Whether it’s learning a new sport, volunteering or running events, both within and outside of school, the diverse student population here are encouraged to forge their own independent paths in multiple areas.

This allows students to have fun with learning, which research has shown to also be the best way to learn. Liberated from the constraints of chasing As or the anxiety to conform with traditional definitions of success, DCIS students are allowed to be who they want to be.

At DCIS, the performing arts is also open to all and enhanced through collaboration with Juilliard. This connection gives the school access to works, curriculum and artists that it otherwise would not be able to get.

Further encouraging students to become multidisciplinary learners is DCIS’s MIT STEAM collaboration.

“STEAM” refers to STEM plus the arts – humanities, language arts, dance, drama, music, visual arts, design and new media. While it dives into the same scientific concepts, STEAM does so through learning methods in the creative process, such as inquiry and problem-based learning.

To bring this 21st century approach to DCIS, DCIS has partnered with MIT to provide this innovative way of learning which encourages creativity and experimentation.

Through this collaboration, a group of DCIS students visits MIT in Boston every two years to immerse themselves in a culture of hands-on problem-solving. The school also runs MIT challenges three times a year to encourage science and technology students to work together to find innovative and creative solutions to complex problems.

The importance of such education is amplified by the digital revolution that is already underway. The Fourth Industrial Revolution will blur “the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres,” as described by Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the Geneva-based World Economic Forum. To thrive in this future, students today need to be lifelong and agile learners, who have the “human skills” to stay ahead of their robot competitors.

Many of these skills are what the World Economic Forum has identified in its Future of Jobs report to be the most crucial soft skills to have in order for workers to benefit from the coming digital revolution. Complex problem solving and social skills will be in demand in the majority of jobs across all industries, according to the report.

“Overall, social skills—such as persuasion, emotional intelligence and teaching others—will be in higher demand across industries than narrow technical skills, such as programming or equipment operation and control.”

A DCIS graduate attains these skills and more to be the best versions they can be, for now and the future.

The effective of DCIS’s efforts in preparing its students for the future was recently recognised in an accreditation by the Council of International Education (CIS). A CIS accreditation affirms a school’s high standards of professional performance and its commitment to continuous improvement. It shows that DCIS is focused on the quality of teaching, committed to students’ development of global citizenship and has a suitable philosophy of education suitable for its students, among others.

Never one to rest on its laurels, DCIS is expanding the many educational opportunities it provides by seeking approval to offer a BTEC Business Level 2 in August.

“We are proud that Dover Court we provide an environment that we genuinely believe prepares our students for their future. Our school community reflects the wider global community and everyone benefits from this. We foster students who are empathetic, accepting and understanding, qualities that we all hope our children will have as they grow up and forge their own independent paths in the world.” – Mr. Christopher Short, Principle of Dover Court International School

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