History helps us understand the world in which we live in, it helps us understand incomprehensible problems, different outlooks and gives us an overall understanding of how things came to be.
Zeroing in on a school, history is integral to how an educational facility holds itself, why it teaches what it does and the way it does, and why it offers certain programmes.
Choosing to attend a school with a rich, in-depth history is important for many reasons, but we wanted to outline the five main ways in which a school with a long, intricate history provides a better education for your children.
1. A Strong Value System
Values help a school - and people in general - grow and develop; they form a school’s messaging, actions and reasoning.
With time to develop and grow, a school’s value system becomes admirable and respectable.
For example, from the International School of Tanganyika’s (IST) founding in 1963, IST has developed a strong Statement of Values illustrating a promise in which all community members embody. The school strives to be:
- Responsible. We act responsibly, positively and constructively, towards ourselves and other people. We learn from our mistakes and accept the consequences of our actions.
- Inquiring. We show curiosity, perseverance and open-mindedness in seeking to understand and solve problems. We persevere in the face of difficulties and we embrace the learning that comes through failure as well as the joy of success.
- Compassionate. We empathise with others and act with care, kindness and courage. In our interactions, we behave with patience, generosity and integrity.
- Balanced. We believe in a broad education for our students, seeing the value of participation in a varied curriculum.
- Diverse. We treasure the diversity within the IST community, using the rich opportunities for deeper understanding that come from our differences.
2. Well-Developed Academics
Academics are in place from the moment of a school’s founding, but they are molded and perfected over time to truly challenge children to become well-informed world inquirers.
To illustrate our point further, let's take the founding of IST. IST opened its doors as the first international school in East Africa in 1963. The school provided an exceptional learning facility for the 305 students, but it wasn’t until 1983 - 20 years after IST’s commencement - that the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme was introduced. It has since become the main diploma programme at IST.
Through years of perfecting, the IB Curriculum is balanced in a way that allows students to not only learn, but also demonstrate their learning. It is a programme that aids students in honing both an understanding and skills in ways that relate to more than one branch of knowledge.
3. Well-Established Extra-Curriculars
From varsity athletics, to Model United Nations, to environmental initiatives, extra-curriculars take time and effort to develop.
To illustrate the time it takes to establish a comprehensive list of extra-curriculars, here’s the story of IST’s Roots and Shoots programme.
Roots and Shoots aims to inspire young people to become leaders who will stand up for what is right, use their voice and make the right choices to help create a better world. It is an organization founded by Dr. Jane Goodall and teaches youth to have respect and compassion for all living things, to promote understanding of all cultures and beliefs and to inspire youth to take action.
Dr. Goodall played a pivotal role in founding IST’s Roots and Shoots programme, since sitting down with Grade 6 teacher Swarn Lamba in 1991. The group has since sponsored countless initiatives including tree planting in the Pugu Hills, clean-ups of local beaches and aiding in the construction of an effective solar panel, just to name a few.
Dr. Goodall has made a number of visits to the school to work with the Roots and Shoots club members and educate them on the environment.
4. Rich in Diversity
Although a school may start off small, as it evolves more students from a diverse range of backgrounds will enroll.
We live in a diverse world and no matter what country you call home or what school you attend, you will witness the many ways in which people are unique, be it the faculty or the student body. It’s that diversity that opens an individual’s eyes to see just how big our world is.
Witnessing diversity from the point of a young age onwards allows children to become open-minded, it gives them stronger communication skills and allows them to become knowledgeable inquirers, all pivotal assets.
5. Strong and Diverse Alumni Network
As the school community grows and develops, and students graduate and gain admission to world-renowned universities, an alumni network becomes a useful tool for both graduates and current students.
Having access to a network where you can ask questions about schools, career choices and even career opportunities is an irreplaceable asset that comes with attending a school with a rich history.
Selecting a school steeped in rich history not only provides you with the peace of mind that their programme is tried and tested, but also a clearer understanding of expectations from you and from the school.
If you attended or worked at IST at any time, we invite you to connect with us and fellow alumni in our new alumni network