What future-ready education looks like in Christian Alliance International SchoolEducation | 19 Jan 2021
The school has become an IB World School while continuing to offer the Alberta Curriculum and AP courses.
Christian Alliance International School (CAIS) is a school in Hong Kong offering the Canadian (Alberta) Curriculum from primary to secondary level and the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) for Grades 11 and 12 students, in addition to Advanced Placement (AP) courses.
The IBDP, an academically challenging two-year pre- university program for students in Grades 11 and 12, is recognized as one of the most influential international education programs the world over and develops students intellectually, socially, emotionally and physically.
“The IB mission of developing inquisitive, knowledgeable and caring young leaders who make positive impacts in the world ties in very well with our school’s educational philosophy,” says Richard Vanderpyl, Head of School at CAIS. “We are excited that the school will offer this highly recognized diploma curriculum for our students.”
Three curricula pathways
Being the only international school in Hong Kong offering the IB Diploma Programme and Alberta Curriculum ensures a distinctive edge and learning flexibility for all CAIS students. Dr Richard Lee, IB Coordinator and Principal, points out the IB curriculum is a good match with the school’s current Alberta Curriculum.
One of the top-performing learning systems in the world, the Alberta programme accommodates education from early childhood to Grade 12, and its graduates consistently score in the top tier of international rankings. On top of it, the school also offers the AP program, college-level curricula and examinations specially designed for high school students.
“CAIS students can take AP courses and exams that some can earn them college credit, or qualify for more advanced classes when they begin college,” explains Ronald Chan, Guidance Counselor, Student Service Department at CAIS.
A smooth transition
The Alberta and IBDP, in fact, share many similarities. Both make room for students to study more than one language. The Alberta programme maintains a delicate balance in humanity, science, and art subjects, which means students are already familiar with handling a wide variety of subjects and a rigorous programme.
“This facilitates a seamless transition from the Alberta to the IBDP as students enter Grade 11,” says Dr Lee. Since students may require some time to understand the IBDP – its challenges, requirements, workload, etc. – the school will provide a one-month preparatory period for students; they may switch back to the Alberta if it is in their best interest.
IBDP: A world-renowned curriculum
Charles Grayson, Senior Student Services Manager at CAIS, underscores the high level of recognition the IBDP enjoys among the world’s higher education institutions. Students who have graduated from an IB Programme harness a myriad of critical transferrable skills such as communication, independent thinking, adaptability, etc. and have a statistically higher chance to secure admission into elite and Ivy League universities and colleges all over the world.
One reason for its global recognition, Dr Lee says, is that it prepares learners to embark on higher education. Learning at a similar pace as university students, students taking the IBDP need to conduct original research and learn how to attribute ideas to original sources. This includes writing a 4,000-word essay that mimics university assignments in the compulsory core subject ‘Theory of Knowledge’. Many find the first year in college easier to handle given the rigorous academic training they have received prior to entering universities.
World-class facilities and faculty
The Phase II development of the CAIS campus, with a focus on music, arts and drama, aligns with the IB mission for a holistic education. Upon completion later this year, the school’s already well-equipped campus will be augmented with a range of facilities, including five laboratories, two gymnasiums, a football pitch, a 300-seat lecture theater, a 600-seat concert theater and more.
Another advantage CAIS has in offering the IB programme is the Christian ethos the school is widely known for. “The emphasis on critical thinking and responsible, global citizenship that feature prominently in the school’s educational approach will further enhance the values of the IB curriculum,” says Vanderpyl.
The people who deliver the curriculum are as essential as the curriculum itself. For CAIS, the faculty comprises educators of different nationalities and cultural background. They are all professionally trained to offer both the Alberta and IBDP. “We care for and love our children, and truly want to see them succeed in school and adult life,” says Dr Lee.
In helping students identify the learning stream that best fit their goals, the school provides all-rounded support to all Grade 10 students to help them understand better their own interests, aspirations, strengths and weaknesses. Apart from career counselling, individual planning and university preparatory classes are also available.
“Students may at any time contact their academic advisors, who provide guidance and assistance for courses and curriculum recommendation. The goal is for students to understand the challenges of the two diplomas and thus capable of making the best decision,” says Grayson.
Chan adds that students are advised on the subject combinations that will best serve their interests, abilities and future aspiration. Parents can also contact the school should they require any information or assistance to help their children get the most out of their education.
CAIS understands well that children thrive in an atmosphere of care and support. On regular school days, pastoral care and advisory time are given high priority, providing plenty of opportunities to be had either individually or as a group. Together teachers and students discuss everything from academic, stress to time management.
“Aside from academia, we are committed to imparting children with soft skills that will propel them to flourish as conscientious members of the society we are all part of,” concludes Vanderpyl.
Christian Alliance International School
33 King Lam Street, Lai Chi Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Tel: 3699 3862 / 3699 3863 / 3699 3866