My school applied for accreditation with the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) to deliver the IBDP last year (European Azerbaijan School, 2014). The accreditation was achieved under the ‘FastTrack’ system. The school’s mission statement was apparently written to conform to the expectations of the IBO and thus cannot be considered as an accurate reflection of the aims and aspirations of the school. As all summative assessments use past paper questions, they will align with the stated objectives of the school.
Interviews with parents during a recent open evening have illustrated some of the tensions within the school community. Many parents want their children to study at Azeri academic universities and few want them to study abroad. Lack of finance is a big factor for many of the parents. Azerbaijan is a Muslim state and many parents want their daughters to stay in the country, even after they have finished at university. Changing parent perspective is part of my wider task and thus, if this new approach to learning is seen as successful, it will help to support the aspirations of TEAS.
My Azeri colleagues are another source of data. They help me design the syllabus for the earlier years that are working towards joining the IBDP. I have to try to balance preparing the students for IBDP, whilst ensuring they have sufficient knowledge to allow them to revert to the national curriculum if circumstances or personal choices so dictate.