The following article comes from Rob Ford, CEO & Director of Heritage International Schools, Moldova.
“When I enter the school gates each day, it’s like going to different countries for my education”.
Dani, Grade 12, Heritage Student.
This summer, I left the new academic year planning for one day and took the train from my home in Bristol to London. As my daughter Evie and I walked from Russell Square towards UCL, we were met by very happy, very excited and very international Heritage students as they were competing in the London global round of the prestigious World Scholars Cup against teams of students from across the UK and the World.
Evie commented on how good their English fluency was and then marveled as primary and secondary age Heritage students switched to Romanian or Russian. We also noticed how confident they all were, enjoying themselves having fun, especially as they were mixing with their new international friends and how confident they had adapted to being in the global city of London. On the train home I felt proud to see my school’s mission in reality, in the actions and thoughts of my students.
I’ve worked with many schools, teachers, school leaders and policy makers in my career, who even now, still believe that just putting the word “international” in a school name or “global” into a policy will intrinsically develop a culture of international mindedness or an ethos of global citizenship. It is much deeper than this surface approach but it is essential for any school to put international education and global learning at the heart of its curriculum to give students the skills, knowledge and international mindedness to successfully take on the challenges of the 2020s and beyond.
At Heritage our very mission from our Founders and why we were set up as the first international schools in Moldova, was about preparing young people for the future and an essential part of our culture and ethos is the development of global citizenship through international education that runs through and links our formal and informal curriculum across our schools.
An essential part of our culture and ethos is the development of global citizenship through international education that runs through and links our formal and informal curriculum across our schools.
We have over 25 nationalities in our school and serve both the local and international communities in Moldova. We also work closely with the national education community and looking outward, globally for education is crucial especially for countries in Eastern Europe.
As we have faced the difficult and existential challenges of the 2020s from a pandemic to the war on Ukraine, our lode star has remained the hope and belief that our holistic education, global citizenship, critical thinking, humanitarian liberal values, public duty, social responsibility are all preparing students for the challenges of the future as future leaders.
One of the main ways of our strategy, led by our designated deputy academic director & GSA Ambassador, Tatiana Popa, and her team, is to connect our classrooms and students with their counterparts across the globe on every curriculum area and to provide opportunities to discuss and find solutions to the issues we face as a planet and global community from climate change to sustainability to AI. Leadership is essential here, our academic director, Inga Chiosa, is also a GSA ambassador, and the drive comes directly from our mission and the priorities we set in our school strategy for our students to develop into their best future selves.
We are proud to be active members of Global School Alliance (GSA) and this remarkable international network of schools and organisations across sectors and around the World grows from strength to strength as it unites educators through innovative opportunities and being a partnership to help develop and improve schools to successfully develop the curriculum, skills, student leadership and knowledge young people need for now and in the future. It is also very instrumental in the development of teachers and school leaders through the network, webinars and partnerships. GSA is one of the most important advocates and networks in international education for schools. Being a member of GSA is a key element of our global learning strategy.
What we have all understood from this decade so far is that we very much all live in an uncertain, unpredictable, challenging global society from Chisinau to Cardiff and we are all on the one planet. Education is the key to navigate these challenges and international education means learning is not abstract but linked to the real World.
It is also about developing identity from who we are in our local societies to our global citizenship. This is why it needs to be at the heart of any curriculum and why we continue working together for a hopeful & successful future.
CEO & Director of Heritage International Schools, Moldova.