My International School of Beijing Experience
by Sule Jacob

This summary captures a WEEK LONG working visit of Sule Jacob Olaoluwa - Executive Director, iRead To Live Initiative, Nigeria to the International School of Beijing, China .

Introduction:

iREAD TO LIVE INITIATIVE (www.ireadtolive.org) is registered as an Incorporated Trustee with the Corporate Affairs Commission, Nigeria and works in collaboration with individuals, and international organizations with focus on supplementing government’s efforts in achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of Quality Education 2030, engaging and developing human potentials through education.

The initiative was launched to facilitate and supplement government efforts in achieving the United Nations SDG of Quality Education in rural, urban areas and across all levels of education, with an immediate focus on Basic, Primary and Secondary Education in Nigeria, starting from Osun State.

The purpose of the working visit was to promote the awareness about the Sustainable Development Goals as a service expert, share deep cultural learning and dynamics about Nigeria and China considering both country’s similarities, and share stories about access to quality education in Nigeria and Gender Equality Issues.

The schedule of the visit spanned through April 18th -29th 2019. It was also a time to meet with the Executive members of Empowerment through Self Esteem Education,(ESEE) interact with the school community and work with some other student groups who are passionate about creating a sustainable society as young people.

The visit was a mix of learning and exposure to the traditional Chinese environment, a brief tour around the school’s makerspaces hub, Library and to observe the students in action give back to their school community by teaching Non-Academic Staffs of International School of Beijing.

Session 1: Welcome Address and Introduction

Fiona Yu-Jia, staff of International School of Beijing introduced Jacob to the Executive Team of ESEE Kids led by Alex Zheng alongside Amanda Shu as Presidents , Hyoree Kim and Elaine Jin. This team of High School students have worked tirelessly to empower local Chinese village children with new skills, and particularly to support Children to be able to communicate in English Language. The ESEE team also provides opportunity for equal learning opportunity for the Chinese local students. During Jacob’s participation in the ESEE session, he shared Nigeria’s colonial history, Education, Religion and what the Nigerian Government is doing towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals with the Students. Jacob thanked the ESEE executives for their hard work and also made reference to the collaboration between ESEE and iRead To Live Initiative in supporting Girls with Sanitary pads in during the Nigerian Girl-Child Literacy Project 2019. Upon conclusion of his presentation, he divided the students into groups and asked them to share with their peers what they have been able to learn from his presentation. The kids demonstrated their attentiveness by making good presentation afterwards.

Schedule of Engagement

The week-long visit created opportunity for impacts on the entire school community. Jacob had interactions with students from Grade 6 to Grade 9, he also met with various Students groups, shared practical strategies on how Students can deploy their talents towards achieving the SDGs

targets, examples and real life stories about iRead' advocacy for literacy, quality education and gender equality all of which are being championed by volunteers who are law students of Osun state university and other youths through the Non- profit organization - www.iReadTolive.org in Nigeria.

The Discussions

Middle and High School students from Grades 6- 9 had robust sessions with Jacob where he led conversations on Global competence literacy lesson planning, Nigeria and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, Overview of access to Quality Education in rural communities in Nigeria, Girl-Child Literacy projects of iRead To Live Initiative, Literacy competitions held, and Integration of the SDGs into a local Chinese School.

The discussions also gave deep insight about Nigeria’s culture, and the challenges Nigeria is faced

with as a nation. Jacob consistently emphasized that although Nigeria has her own peculiar challenges, he expressed confidence and strong conviction that Nigeria,particularly her youths will continue to work tirelessly to bring the desired change and development to Nigeria.

Students had the opportunity to identify their preferred SDG and pledged to ensure that they take actions locally to impact their various communities. Several questions including Jacob’s educational and family background were up for discussion by the students.

No doubt, China has its own peculiar challenges; various student groups identified the numerous challenges and possible solutions to be deployed in creating sustainable solutions. Students identified some of the differences in the Chinese culture to that of Nigeria; they also appreciated the similarities and the need to appreciate our cultural diversities.

Observation:

The visit to China was a landmark step towards iRead To Live Initiative mission of campaigning for the achievement of the SDGs globally. It was also a time to observe students learning process and teaching approach. The following observations were noted:

a. Conducive and well-equipped learning environment

b. Qualified and experienced Teachers with 21st Century skills for teaching

c. Empowerment and engagement of students with practical skills for life after school

d. Provision of internet facilities for the school community

e. Robust Teacher-Students relationship

f. Effective time management, Standard cafeteria and proper waste management system

g. Balanced student learning with relevant activities incorporated

As the world is moving towards digitalization, it is expected that learning conditions should be improved and modeled towards the growing trend globally, International School of Beijing is thus leading this change and have within its reach adequate facilities and infrastructure to prepare students to be the next set of Global leaders.

Take Home to Nigeria:

Having interacted with students in Grade 6 to Grade 9, there are some highlights worthy of note and same is worth implementing in Nigeria.

The Makerspace is an incredible project worthy of commendation. The project empowers students to think about sustainability to design

Technology integration: Students are empowered with skills to support their professional quest for learning, while the ISB media team is yet another amazing team of young people putting into practice their skills learnt by conducting Live interviews , creating and editing of videos.

Appreciation

Special thanks to ESEE, ISB PTA and Office of Service learning for creating the opportunity for this global exchange.

My profound gratitude to the Head of school - Patrick Hurworth, High school principal: David Muron, Middle school principal- Jon Hill, Librarian- John Lemley, IT head - Garrett Nunan, Maker Space coordinator- Julie Lemley. You all are so amazing and incredible.

On behalf of all of us at iRead To Live Initiative, I also want to appreciate the Librarian for the donation of Fifty books to iRead Library in Nigeria.

Long Live International School of Beijing! Long Live Peoples’ Republic of China!! Long Live Nigeria!!!