IBPHS Report: Vocational Education and the IBO
An Exploratory Seminar IBCA, Cardiff, 10 – 11 May 2004
The seminar was divided into three segments:
Day 1 – Full discussion of the first six agenda items:
- Current issues in vocational education
- Working IBO definition
- Student outcomes
- Distinguishing IBO elements
- Possible models
Day 2 –
AM –There were three (3) presentations of different possible models with time for follow up questions
PM – Group discussions about proposed “IBO added-value partnerships” concept and full seminar
Day 1 discussion – Throughout six item agenda, a recurring point was emphasized:
- IBO was not likely to construct an alternative complementary program for years.
- IBO’s financial and manpower resources are stretched in managing current programs and a big parallel program threatens dilution.
- Director General George Walker, in concluding remarks, enlightened; “We have dozens, perhaps
hundreds of schools in the United States that we have no earthly idea what they are doing – whether
they are integrating IB mission and principles, adherence to the core curriculum,
teaching of theory of knowledge course. There is not enough money and site authorization and
assessment teams to monitor and enforce compliance. Obviously, a second great parallel program is
simply not feasible for simple want of resources – last year’s deficit was $800,000 and the
IB programs are admittedly “very expensive already”.
#1: Dr. John Munro, Professor of Gifted / Special Education, University of Melbourne:
- Focused on defining vocational education, how the IBO could add value to vocational programs through new type of partnership arrangement.
- Partnership proposal based on targeted vocational educational competencies to be demonstrated could be tendered through Theory of Knowledge course.
- Establish criteria in TOK – evaluate through extended essay. See document #2, John Munro’s full paper on constructing a core curriculum for vocational education in an IBO context, especially last two pages of tables. Munro, an Aussie who possessed a passionate state of mind and liberally offered “Munroism’s” such as “teach people how to vocate”, received two questions.
Before presenter #2 took place, Arnold Heller inquired why the Oulu Business College was not presenting
its model. Monique Conn, Research Director, responded that Oulu had already integrated the IB’s
academic core and a business administration curriculum, was a working model and ongoing partnership,
and that potential models might be more enlightening for fleshing out concept and discussion. Ironically,
Esko Loulainen, Oulu Principal, was the only other participant to emphasize the importance of
entrepreneurship education to be a meaningful part of any new program.
Arnold Heller inquired to Tony Halsall, IBO Director; “Isn’t entrepreneurship and business management
education an important component for any broad vocational curricula remarked that the entrepreneur’s
creation of companies empowered business managers to offer jobs causing demand for vocational
education. During Arnold’s power point presentation, Monique questioned if his students had ever
exploited the Caribbean artisans from whom ACTCo purchased about $15,000 worth of product
(2013 dollars = $25,000). Heller answered: “IBP / ACTCo students always paid the fair price insisted
upon by the artisan, had spread a lot of money around the region, and was overall very good for the global
economy during the 1990’s.
IBO friends were delightful, charming, brilliant, warm and generous people, perhaps a slight holding of
a classic British academic left wing bias against entrepreneurship. Regardless, IBO appreciation for the IBP
was considerable. IBO reality is a balance between stretched resources and a will to move forward that
lends itself to “added value partnerships applying Diploma Program standards and practices on a small
scale such as individual project #2 presentation. See document Diploma Program standards and practices
for IBO philosophy, expected support levels, balanced / well planned curriculum and assessment,
adequate resource provision, expected student support and IBO authorization criteria (example – distance
#2: Pierre Michaud, Three Rivers, Quebec. Michaud wished to internationalize a Technical /
Vocational Education program at his provincial school (age 16 – 19) with possible joint projects between
related programs. His aim was to develop a “technical IB profile” based on an enhanced ability to know
what one is talking about, share it with others and provide meaning. Michaud’s proposal would be
based on four dimensions:
- Language and literature,
- Philosophy (logic / ethics),
- Physical education and health
- Exploration of new disciplines.
Michaud hoped to involve his students in foreign exchanges and develop new connections to limit
isolation resulting from living in a pristine, river-rich area. He received two questions.
#3: Arnold Heller, North Atlanta IBP– Presentation was the only PowerPoint and overall worked fairly
well in conveying the IBP / ACTCo story. Heller received about 30 questions from 17 assembled people.
Most enthusiastic participants were Sue Fifer, a director of metro-London vocational education programs
and Oulu principle Esko Loulainen who asked Heller how he could involve his Finnish students in enterprise.
Heller advised that the Finnish student customize cell phone rings. Loulainen’s face lit up in “natural idea
style” glow. Flo Durway, North Carolina IB Coordinator, advised Arnold that he contact CASIE –
Center for Advancing the Study of International Education located in the Atlanta International
School. Heller offered program literature, a ten page full color magazine style piece, for interested
persons to take home – six did. See document NAHS IBP – Involving students in enterprise and e-catalogs:
One school’s experience.
We broke for lunch after which we met in our groups. Arnold lunched with Monique and Tony and
others and started the discussion with; “Okay, so what concept and name do you have in mind?
They both announced that a second parallel program could not be developed now and outlined the preference
for the value-added partnerships. There was a beauty in the IBO’s new concept – simplicity in structure,
flexibility in arrangements, opens up a world of possibilities.
Dr. Heller, who had retired from North Atlanta the previous spring and left a void in the program’s
direction, theorized a possible proposal to Dr. Douglas Frutiger. Dr. Frutiger, then the NAHS CIS
Coordinator and now retired, had been hoping to regenerate the IBP after Heller’s retirement. Frutiger
simply submits a proposal to the IBO with following criteria to be evaluated in an extended essay /
- NAHS IBP students write a new ACTCo Business Plan
- ACTCo operates the Warrior Warehouse effectively for full year, installs refinements
- ACTCo updates the e-catalog and web site program information folders
- NAHS IBP engages in student exchange and international trade with Montego Bay H. S.
- NAHS IBP performs data collection search of all IBP graduates 1992 – 2003; college attendance
rate, profile of business involvement, percentage that became entrepreneurs and most successful
- At end of year IBP students submit an extended essay that the IBO would review to see if they had met their criteria – demonstration of desired competencies that they were to have learned.
Monique Conn and Tony Halsall both said that was a perfect concept of what they had in mind.
Arnold Heller envisioned an IBO opening in the new concept and presented it to Douglas
Frutiger for approval and possible application. NAHS IBP was in a position to be:
- One of first vocational education partnerships
- Possibly bring core members into an IBP collaboration
- Eventual formation of an IBP structure within this opening place
- An IBP proposal into the “next steps phase”.
George Walker approached Arnold Heller at the conference end, told him of his past NAHS visit for a
CIS conference, was aware of the IBP and had hoped to have inspected the program. Unfortunately, he
had had to run to the airport to catch a flight. The Director-General appreciated the IBP’s potential
but at that point in time sincerely supported the added value partnership as in the best IBO interest.
George Walker, a nice man, was correct and prescient as well.
The Atlanta Public Schools began moving away from specialized, expensive programs such as the IBP.
APS’s new direction was to more fairly allocate scare resources into a standardized testing program to
boost scores and increase graduation rates. Test scores did rise, graduation rates did plunge –
because of massive fraud and corruption of APS culture that led to perhaps the worst educational scandal
in history. During this challenging time, Dr. Frutiger prudently and successfully focused limited resources
on keeping the International Baccalaureate Program – which the APS paid for – strong and moving forward.
The IBP, lacking advocacy and energy, lost direction, declined, and essentially dissolved upon
Doug Frutiger’s retirement.