BECOME A MEMBER! Sign up for TIE services now and start your international school career
New Goals for UNIS Hanoi’s Service Learning Scheme
By Akofa Wallace 09-Nov-16
The United Nations International School Hanoi (UNIS Hanoi) is taking a new approach to measuring the effectiveness of its IB Service Learning programs by linking them with the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). For the first time, the school has connected each of its 39 service projects to the most relevant SDGs. This ambitious method means that every project intends to make a real, long-lasting impact, while guided by specific goals such as ending poverty, establishing gender equality, and ensuring good health and wellbeing or quality education for all, to name but a few. The brainchild behind the initiative is UNIS Hanoi’s Middle and High School Service Learning Coordinator, Colin Campbell. He says he hopes the SDGs will become a “vocabulary” the school will use in order to assess the effectiveness of its programs. He continued, “We make service a core part of the Middle and High School experience. There isn’t an opt out. But it’s just not enough to have kids in clubs or groups; we want to make sure that the programs they are involved in are making a difference in Vietnam, and the right kind of difference. As a UN-connected school, it was organic to link our service initiatives with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. They are an excellent set of targets with which to motivate the students.” At the beginning of the school year, students in Grades six to 12 received a handbook detailing each service-learning program and its related SDGs. For example, the Swim for Life program links to SDG 3 (good health and well-being), as well as to SDG 4 (quality education). New for this year is the Cycle for Change program, which hopes to address SDG 3, SDG 4, SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities), and SDG 13 (climate action). For its part, the Feminist Photography Foundation will seek to focus on SDG 1 (no poverty), SDG 10 (reduced inequalities), and SDG 5 (gender equality). With these strong links established at the outset, students and their teachers will be able to better gauge the true impact of their activities over the course of the year. “We want students to question whether they actually reduced poverty, promoted quality education or gender equality, or contributed to ensuring good health and wellbeing, which are just some of the goals for a number of the projects,” said Mr. Campbell. “What we are doing is holding ourselves up to a higher standard.” The SDG-linked service learning programs is just one way the United Nations-affiliated school in Hanoi is embedding UN principles and values into the curriculum. The Middle and High school units of inquiry have also been revamped to better reflect UN aspirations. The move comes as UN appointed Board Member, Ms. Claire Montgomery, called on all faculty to commit to sharing learning experiences that exemplify the work of the UN, in particular the drive to achieve the SDGs by 2030. Claire Montgomery said, “As our students progress through the school, the Sustainable Development Agenda can serve as a reminder of the highest ambitions of international cooperation. We look forward to a more peaceful, equitable, and just world by 2030, and we hope our students feel equipped to contribute to this ambitious agenda.”
Please fill out the form below if you would like to post a comment on this article:
There are currently no comments posted. Please post one via the form above.