By David Buck To meet the needs of its diverse student body, of which 65% is Namibian, the Windhoek International School curriculum complies with the requirements of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP) for students in grades Pre-Kindergarten to Five, the IGCSE for Grades 9/10, and the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme for Grades 11/12. No other school in Namibia offers these IB programmes. More importantly, WIS students consistently score well above international averages on their IB exams. For example, the global pass rate last year was at 80% and for WIS, 92%. It should also be noted that we are the only school in Windhoek which offers external (Cambridge, GB) IGCSEs. The International Baccalaureate Diploma programme is recognized in over one hundred countries, including South Africa and countries in Europe and North America. Apart from DHPS, which offers the Abitur in order to study in Germany, WIS’s diploma programme offers its students a tremendous advantage for admission to universities beyond southern Africa. These programmes are unique because of their educational methodology; they follow an inquiry-based approach in which students are taught not just how to arrive at an answer, but to explore the reasoning behind the process. WIS teaches students how to think and gain knowledge, and works to instil a love of learning and an outlook of caring for others. Founded in 1990, WIS has a mission to “embrace[s] the diversity of its students from the international community and Namibia, in an atmosphere of mutual respect, tolerance and educational enrichment for all.” True to its mission, WIS today has approximately 300 students from 35 countries, the majority of which – 65% -are Namibians. To successfully implement the curriculum and meet the needs of these students, WIS recruits a certain number of experienced teachers from abroad who are familiar with these programmes; this adds a unique and special international aspect to the School. WIS is accredited by the Council of International Schools and is periodically assessed by international accrediting bodies. In addition, the School offers a strong Special Needs Programme that benefits expatriates and Namibians alike; students with learning difficulties can attend our School and achieve success. The presence of an accredited international school in Windhoek is, without a doubt, an asset to Namibia and to the City of Windhoek. Businesses, companies, embassies, and NGOs contemplating establishing offices or posting employees with school-age children in Namibia can be assured of access to an educational institution with a curriculum that is recognized in and transferable to virtually any country. WIS’s unique programmes also enhance educational opportunities for Namibians. Since its inception, WIS has maintained a dual fee structure for expatriates and Namibians that is intended to attract Namibian parents seeking an education of an international standard for their children. WIS also contributes to Namibia as an employer and responsible member of the Namibian community. Over 60% of the WIS staff are Namibian. Their children receive tuition subsidies, thereby improving opportunities for local families. WIS supports the tertiary studies of our Namibian teaching assistants to achieve formal credentials as teachers. The IB Diploma programme has a significant Creativity, Action and Service (CAS) component that focuses on outreach to the local communities. A specific example is the School’s relationship with the Orlindi Place of Safety Orphanage in Katutura. IB Diploma students and younger WIS students participate in regular and recurring activities with the Orlindi orphans, both on campus and at the orphanage.
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