In Denmark 15 schools provide an International Baccalaureate (IB) as a part of their educational programme, which is a two year study comparable to the Danish STX. The international organisation IBO, is in charge of the education and its framework. Therefore the primary focus of DGS, in the context of IBDP, is to improve the conditions that are controlled locally either by the Danish IB-educations or the Danish government through parliamentary work. However, we should aim to engage with IB organisations in other countries – via DGS and OBESSU (Organising Bureau of European School Students Unions) in order to have a united voice towards the IBO.
The Pre-IB year
The IB Diploma programme is a two year course, however Danish IB schools recommend that students who do not have 11 years of elementary education to enter the Pre-IB year, just as schools maintain the right to reject an application for the IB and move the individual applying for the IB to the Pre-IB instead, if they believe it would suit the student better. The Pre-IB year follow the Danish curriculum overall, meaning it includes NV, AT and PE none of which IB students need, however, all teaching, with the exception of the languages i.e. French, Spanish etc., is done in English, hand-ins are made and corrected according to IBO regulations and exams are handwritten and without notes. As such the Pre-IB year is a valuable introduction to the IB system, since it provides a chance for students to try the IB system, while maintaining the possibility of switching to a normal STX. As many students leave the Pre-IB classes and enter the STX system instead, it is clear that the Pre-IB year is a good idea. That being said, there are a few issues with this year. For students, who due to prior learning and a background in the international educational system, that do not need the Pre-IB year, the only chance of getting in to the IB quickly is that the specific school decides to let the student enter directly
The social environment
The IB programme is overall focussed on individual achievements and as such differs from the Danish system. Where STX students often have a lot of group work, IB students are primarily on their own. That being said, experiments and much class work can still happen in pairs or groups. In addition to that the status of a minority group often leaves the IB students to seek each other and form a unit of sorts across years. This unit, however, rarely extends to the STX students in the same school. It is not uncommon for IB and STX students to eat and hang-out in different areas and in general pretend the others do not exist. This is in part due to the language, which easily sets the IB students apart from their Danish-speaking peers, but also due to stigmas and judgements that are passed down through generations and have now evolved into a part of the culture. This is a huge problem as the two groups has loads to learn from each other, both in terms of academics, but also socially. If that is to happen the prejudice between the groups needs to be cleared out. A start is to have both IB and STX clubs in the schools as well as inviting IB students to parties and the like. In addition a suggestion could be to use one AT week on mixing the classes. That way STX and IB students would have to have class with each other and try both educational systems. In the very least it should help create a better understanding of the other group.
An international school
Some of the students in IB neither speak nor understand Danish. Unfortunately, this is forgotten too often on the schools across the country, when details such as English language packs for the Microsoft Office pack, English legal absence formulas or even English menus in the cafeteria simply are not available at the school. At the same time it is a problem, when the IB-students waste their time by attending a morning assembly, where everything is in Danish. Thereby not said that the IB-students should not be included in what is happening at the school. They should definitely. Important points from the morning assembly should be translated and communicated to the students who do not have Danish as their mother tongue. The schools need to prioritize this task and spread awareness about the problem, also within student councils and clubs at the school. Furthermore, a higher level of internationalizing and mixing on the school will also have positive results on the Danish students, who will be trained in language skills, international knowledge and communication. Due to this language barrier, DGS should always work towards Lectio in English, as it is a problem that some students do not understand the language of the system, which is used to communicate assignments and important messages.
The free choice of subjects
The foundation of the IB education is the hexagon of learning and the wide range of subjects to choose from. Due to the wide range of subjects available to the IB-students it is important that the school makes an effort of complying with the wishes of the students, to ensure that as many subjects as possible are offered each year. This could also include changing the schedule from year to year as the current system means that students that take specific subjects are excluded from others simply, because they are pre-planned to be at the same time as others.
Even though the converting of grades has been improved, it is still far from perfect. This results in IB students that cannot get the demanded average for the educations that are hard to get into in Denmark, even though they have an average to meet the criteria of international top universities. DGS is convinced that the converting is to be based on a comparison between the percentage of students achieving top-grades in respectively in the STX and IB system. Until this is a reality, Danish universities must take in account that there is a difference in the grades of STX and IB, when distributing the seats of the universities. An example of this could be an expansion of the Kvote 2 specific for the IB. By securing a realistic grade converting many young IB students stand a better chance of getting into their dream study. Not only does the grade converting help young people but there is a chance that it can minimize the amount of drop outs and thereby become a gain for society. Furthermore, it can minimize the amount of IB students travelling abroad, also a gain for society.
The 5-yearly evaluations
In the IB system every school offering an IB programme is required to hand in an opinion on how the IB system works on their specific school. At these evaluations students, teachers, IB-coordinators, the principle and the board have to partake. But the students in IB do not have a specific organisation representing them and therefore it is difficult to hear the different opinions of the students. It is crucial that this problem is solved if these evaluations shall be of any use for improvement of the Danish IB-schools. A solution could be specific councils for IB-students that had to be included in the making of the evaluations.
Lastly, we believe that an important way to secure better conditions on the IB education is through guidance, both to support and strengthen the students, as well as better counselling before the students start in upper-secondary-school to provide the necessary information about the IB education as well as promote the IB programme as an option.
In the context of the IB, DGS would like to:
● Promote a better relationship between the IB students and STX students both within the respective IB schools and within DGS
● Work on creating a better IB-Danish conversion and expanding “kvote 2” specifically for Danish IB graduates
● Fight against subject inhibitions
● Promote counselling that presents the IDBP as an educational option
Mere inddragelse af udvekslings-studerende
Vi oplever, at udvekslingsstuderende på de danske gymnasier ikke har mulighed for at deltage aktivt i undervisningen oftest i forbindelse med manglende danskkundskaber. Ofte kan de udvekslingsstuderende ikke følge med og får derfor ikke noget ud af undervisningen. DGS mener derfor, at gymnasiale institutioner skal være bedre til at sikre en seriøs inklusion af deres udvekslingsstuderende, så de føler sig som en bedre del af hverdagen. Gymnasierne skal være bedre til at inddrage udvekslingsstudenter i den daglige undervisning til fordel for både udvekslingsstudenterne og deres medstuderende. Så denne kulturudveksling bliver udnyttet i langt højere grad end den gør i dag.
Merit fra udlandet
Det har længe været svært at komme til en dansk gymnasieskole efter et udvekslingsforhold, og få merit i visse fag, for dette ophold, jf. paragraf 11 i meritbekendtgørelsen. Det er rigtig ærgerligt, da opholdet personligt, så vel som fagligt, potentielt kan opkvalificere en elev på måder, der eksempelvis har været et år på udveksling i Frankrig eller Quebec. At kunne få merit i fransk, og andre beståede fag, der vurderes til at være på niveau, eller et højere niveau, end hvad den danske gymnasieskole kan tilbyde. Det skal understreges, at meritoverførsel blot skal være en mulighed, ikke et krav for at komme på udveksling. DGS skal i samarbejde med andre interessenter arbejde for at ændre reglerne for meritoverførsel på gymnasieuddannelsen, således at, det skaber en større sammenhæng i uddannelsesforløbet, end det er situationen i dag.