An Education on Globalization
Globalization is hardly a new term, but it is certainly one that means different things – depending on who you talk to.
For New Yorkers, Londoners and metropolitan residents elsewhere, globalization has come to define a way of life, one in which a rich cultural mix adds to the vibrancy of the city.
Globalization also touches those of us whose mission is education. In the 21st century, parents are looking to raise their children as global citizens. As a result, students must be able to excel by standards both local and International.
Across the 19 institutions in our group of independent schools and colleges, Alpha Plus has watched the emergence of this aspiration first hand. Many of our families have international lives and careers – but throughout their travels, a key concern is to provide their child with a world class education and preferably with one which is readily portable.
But, while the provision of a transferrable education is commonplace in higher education – with university exchange programs, degree recognition and trans-national collaborations, the concept of a transferrable education has not yet fully translated into the services that we provide our younger students.
And yet, it is during those formative, years that the foundations of a truly transferrable education and global mindset are established. It is during those years, when they are best able to learn languages and their minds are most open to new ideas, that we can teach pupils to see the world from more than one perspective. It is also during those years that students are most vulnerable to falling behind – a common occurrence for students beginning their schooling in the United States only to relocate to the United Kingdom, where the English National Curriculum tends to be about one year ahead of the American system.
At the same time, it is this generation that will one day be most in need of a global perspective. A child of today may one day lead an industry that doesn’t currently exist, as is the case now with some of our alumni. As the world grows smaller and the pace of innovation accelerates, it will be crucial to develop students who are innovative thinkers and able to adapt to the needs of the 21st and 22nd centuries.
This is the exact reason why Wetherby Pembridge will open its doors in New York this fall – our first school in New York City and one that will bridge the divide between the needs of our increasingly globalized society and the flexibility of our education system. Our classrooms will host a uniquely blended curriculum, marrying the rigorous English National Curriculum to New York City’s educational enrichment. Our approach will prepare our students to attend top schools here in the United States, or abroad – all while ensuring they benefit from New York’s rich, global culture, with lessons that are enhanced by visits and trips to Central Park or its many museums.
We see Wetherby-Pembridge as far more than just a school though – it is an innovative start-up, one that is redefining education in today’s day and age, but unlike any other start-up it is backed by a clear track record. Though we are new to New York City, Alpha Plus is a proven brand, known for teaching our children not only a variety of academic subjects, but also the values of citizenship, politeness and social awareness – and many of our alumni are already leaders in their fields.
It is with this mix – British and American, a brand-new school and a proven educational network – that will permit us to demonstrate what a globalized K-12 education can accomplish for our children, creating a model that can and hopefully will guide schools across the world.
Today’s children will one day be called upon to navigate the unknown with confidence. It is our privilege and our duty to empower them to succeed in tomorrow’s world.
Graham Able is the Deputy Chairman of Alpha Plus Group, the owners of Wetherby-Pembridge School.