Established in 1995, Global Jaya School (GJS) is located in Bintaro, a suburb on the outskirts of Jakarta. GJS is an authorized International Baccalaureate (IB) World School that delivers three IB programmes – Primary Years (PYP), Middle Years (MYP) and the Diploma Programme (DP) – to 968 students from 18 nationalities, while carrying accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Managing the students and a staff of 140 for the past 2.5 years is Canadian Head of School, David J. Hornby. We meet at GJS’s tree-lined campus to learn more what this school has to offer.
Tell us the story of how you became an educator.
I did my Bachelors of Education at the University of Victoria and started teaching in Vancouver. I had the opportunity to work in Japan, where I taught for eight years, then in China for 10 years and now Indonesia for 2.5 years. My initial idea to get some experience overseas turned out to be a lot more; I now have a Korean wife and two teenage boys!
I followed in the footsteps of my mother, who was an English major and taught abroad in China and the Philippines. My elder sister also teaches at an elementary school. My father has always been a sporting person and we did a lot of outdoor activities when we were young, leading me to teaching skiing and swimming as a teenager, which I felt was the direction I wanted to go.
Do you prefer teaching or being the head of school?
My background is in Physical Education (PE) and Geography. I timetable myself to actually get out and teach, so I still teach PE to year 11, which means I still have that contact with the kids.
What makes GJS unique?
I would say it’s the family community we have; the closeness and safeness we feel. We serve families who want the best possible education for their children, preparing them for higher education.
Global Jaya School was founded in 1995. What’s the school’s history?
It started as a primary campus with 100 students and has grown to 968 students today, from kindergarten through to grade 12. It originally was a national school, and switched to the IB Programme in 2004, catering to international and local families.
Tell me a bit about the IB curriculum.
I believe IB prepares students more for the future. The programme inspires you to be more innovative and find ways for self-motivation, while being more creative and involving a lot of project work. Students can choose projects that inspire them and that they’re passionate about. There are also a lot of oral presentations, which helps to form a student who is more confident speaking in front of peers and teachers.
What are your school’s entry requirements?
It varies depending on the year, but students have to have a level of English understanding. When students join in secondary school (starting at year 7), they have to pass a series of online tests, including English, maths, and a written component. Usually we don’t have intake in the final year of school (Year 12).
What years do you believe are the most important in education?
Personally, I think every year is, but when thinking about creating opportunities for the future, the last two years in the Diploma Programme are the most important.
Your school puts a big focus on the arts, especially theatre. How does practising the arts better a student’s skills?
We are very supportive of the arts and I think it gives students the opportunity to be creative and showcase their talents. We have the facilities to support creativity, whether it’s through music, theatre, visual arts, or film studies.
Personally, I think practising the arts can better your concentration. For instance, at my previous school in Shanghai it is compulsory for students to learn the violin in years 1-3 as it’s been proven that learning an instrument helps with focus and concentration. There’s also research on activation of both sides of cognition. With theatre especially, a student can learn to be a lot more independent, creative, and improve on their confidence, and that spills onto their other subjects.
How do you prepare students for higher education?
What IB does is similar to what you’d be doing at the first year of university, for example writing a 4,000-word essay. The ability to not only research and plan, but develop their ideas on paper to a deadline – while studying all their other subjects – is demanding, but it teaches them discipline and time management, which is integral for the future.
What programmes do you have in place to ensure you groom young adults who are compassionate and are concerned for the environment?
There are always activities that students can get involved in whether it’s Clean Up Jakarta Day or giving back to communities by teaching English or coaching soccer at local schools. We also arrange charity concerts where proceeds are donated to organizations in need. We think it’s important for the kids to feel good about spending time with people who need support.
Even in Years 5 or 6, the students are doing projects to come up with ideas for generating clean energy!
We have a large archive of newsletters on our website which showcase what our students are doing to realize there’s a big world out there and that we can come together to make a change.
What are your school’s pass rates?
In 2015, we had 88 Diploma candidates, of whom 96.6 percent passed with an average score of 32.2. The highest possible score is 45. The world’s average score last year was 29.88.
Which universities do your graduates attend?
Our graduates go to countries all over the world to continue their higher education, for instance the USA, Australia, the UK, the Netherlands, Singapore, Switzerland or South Korea. We have graduates at King’s College London, Berklee College of Music, The Hague University, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Vancouver Film School, to name but a few.
Do you teach sex education?
It’s taught in the sciences. We also have counsellors who teach development. Parents often ask me when we should start teaching it, and I think these days the earlier the better. We start in the primary years – it’s an important topic.
What qualities does one need to possess to take up a career in education?
If a young person asked me that, I would say you really have to enjoy spending time with children and you need a passion to pass on your knowledge. There are different areas of education you could go into, for instance younger years teaching, counselling, or teaching a specific subject. You really have to practise what you preach and be a role model.
What kind of teaching techniques do you encourage?
We’re always trying to encourage teachers to follow the IB philosophy, which gets kids to ask more questions. We want teachers to come up with ways to motivate students using cooperative techniques in the classroom. Teachers should challenge them to think about what they’re learning.
It is the teacher who can create a real life situation in any subject.
What qualifications must your teachers have?
They should have a Teacher’s Certificate, and have five years’ experience in their subject. Most have a Master’s degree in their subject area and are very experienced.
Is it difficult to attract new teachers?
We don’t have a lot of turnover, so it’s usually quite easy to attract good teachers, although not always to attract them to Indonesia. It’s a very competitive market and teachers may be more attracted to teach in Europe or the Middle East for a variety of reasons. Our last hire was done in the UK. We like to hire teachers who have had experience teaching abroad.
In all your years as an educator, what are you most proud of achieving?
More recently, I’m proud of what the final year students achieved last year. They not only achieved really strong academic numbers, but were also a class that came up with strong ideas to help locally and globally, whether it was creating awareness for endangered animals, helping causes like the blind, or those with Down syndrome. I’m proud of the class of 2015 and the teachers and team around me who helped get them to that level.
What do you love most about your job?
Each day is different – it’s anything but boring. I see problems as challenges and I enjoy coming up with solutions and working with a team to come up with solutions. Leadership positions have to solve people’s problems. There are things I’d never have thought would cross my desk, but in my position you’d be surprised! I have a good support network around me which really helps me to do my job to the best of my ability.
Thank you, David. To get in touch email: [email protected]