This week Principal Dale Pearce attended important events to further our college’s strong international connections. We have included excerpts from an article he wrote on BSSC’s international connections.

Today I had the great pleasure of attending two separate but related events. The first was a schools forum run by the education department’s international unit, where we were briefed on emerging policies and approaches and contributed to discussion about how we can further develop international perspectives among our students and broaden our existing programs. There are many schools doing really exciting things in this area and we can all learn from one another.

I was then able to attend the premier’s launch of Victoria’s new China Strategy. I came away enthused and optimistic about the opportunities that we can create for our students in the years ahead, and confident that our school is well placed to take advantage of the focus our government is placing on international education. I’m proud of our leaders who have created this culture at our school and the staff who continue to support it.

It is clear we need to start developing strong global perspectives in our students, many of whom will live and work overseas at some stage. This is how we incorporate international perspectives into our curriculum.

  • In 2001 we were the first government school in the world to be accredited with the Council of International Schools. This exposure to a set of international standards, including the requirement to develop international perspectives among students, was significant for us.
  • We have a full fee paying international student program. The 25 or so students are predominantly Chinese and apart from the opportunities we’re providing them, they enrich our school community. They are housed in home stay accommodation and we’ve developed a series of practices that link them with other students and celebrate their culture.
  • We always have a group of international exchange students in the school.
  • We support a group of refugee students who are part of a growing Karen community in our regional city. We run after school activities for these students and those from other schools.
  • We teach a number of languages – German, French, Indonesian, Chinese (first language and second language). We also teach Auslan.
  • We have sister schools in China, Indonesia, France and Germany.
  • We have annual student exchanges and overseas trips for our students.
  • We have established a Confucius Classroom in partnership with Hanban, the Chinese government agency that support the broadening of understanding of Chinese language and culture. A Confucius Classroom requires a partnership with a Chinese school and collaboration on a range of fronts.
  • We are supporting 25 other schools to develop Chinese language programs. We do this with the support of staff provided through the Confucius Classroom program. We deliver community Chinese classes to around 30 participants each week.
  • We’ve embedded Asian perspectives into our curriculum wherever possible
  • Later this year we expect to start delivery of the VCE into China. This will provide great learning opportunities for our teachers, who will mentor the Chinese staff doing the delivery, and fund subsidised travel and learning opportunities for our students and staff.
  • We celebrate diversity through a range of events each year.

For BSSC, Chinese was a logical focus given the 150-year old connection Bendigo has with China, although our college’s focus is more extensive because we’re conscious (as government needs to be) about having too many eggs in the one basket.