This year, UNESCO celebrated the fourth “International Education Day”, announcing it is time for “changing course, and transforming education”. This year’s celebration showcases the most important transformations needed to preserve the fundamental right of education for all. It also aims at building more sustainable, inclusive, and peaceful futures. Since we at Beirut Baptist School (BBS) aim to educate the individual on the basis of peace, inclusion and democracy, we are determined to research, alongside parents and all stakeholders, how to compensate for the losses suffered by students as a result of the epidemic, as well as the economic and political crises ravaging our country today.
UNESCO’s perspective emphasizes life skills concerned with developing the sense of citizenship among the learner, while respecting their surroundings and protecting their health. With this in mind, BBS aims to pinpoint the learning gaps suffered by all learners in each cycle of schooling. Perhaps the most notable of these losses is the decline in the educational level of all learners, each to a different extent.
In response to this, the school administration has worked on a plan to compensate for these educational losses. The plan first requires a clear evaluation of current status. It will begin with the adoption of diagnostic tests at the beginning of the academic year and proceed to include formative and summative assessments.
Adopting these assessments aims at easing the stress that conventional testing has on learners, especially during times when most suffer difficult circumstances. We have also relied on continuous assessments in order to avoid having the educational material accumulate, leading to heavy workload for the learner. Our goal at BBS is to create a supportive educational environment for students and provide them with the best conditions in order to minimize as many educational gaps as possible. But in doing so, we keep in mind that most factors that caused the decline are still present.
When it comes to assessment, our ultimate goal is to form a self or partnered assessment, taken in groups composed of learners, teachers, or both. This method is used within the framework of the formative assessment type adopted in many countries, such as Finland. The concept is based on recognizing that the ultimate objective of conducting assessments is to develop a self-evaluation capacity in learners, It also helps them learn to monitor their progress and design their own learning activities on the basis of inclusiveness, continuity, diverse methods of evaluation, engagement with objectives, and good organization and accuracy. This will ultimately create a concise assessment design, more suitable to these challenging conditions.
BBS is also working hard to develop its curricula across all academic cycles. We do so without placing additional load on the already overburdened learner. We strive to improve the alignment and effectiveness of the learning process in its three settings: in-class, remote, and hybrid learning. This adoption of various methods of delivery has provided learners, regardless of their condition, the ability to follow up in a flexible system. The adoption of such a system has produced satisfaction as well as relief among the school community. If mental health, which cannot be overlooked, is not secured, then we will not succeed as an educational institution concerned with education as a humanitarian aspect.
On the subject of academic support, the Beirut Baptist School administration sought to involve parents in the process of addressing the academic needs that learners require. The learner’s best interest is our priority with his/her education and well-being the ultimate goal. The academic support plan, launched after the end of the first term, will compensate for any and all educational losses that have resulted due to difficult circumstances.
In the area of curriculum review and development, the administration of Beirut Baptist School held regular meetings with coordinators at all levels of education. These meetings, conducted since the beginning of the school year, aim to identify fundamental skillsets and ensure they are integrated in our teaching. These meetings will continue until the end of the school year in order to fill the gaps that have occurred.
Here at Beirut Baptist School, we hope to have provided a setting that prioritizes our learners’ mental health and emotional well-being. We also hope to have empowered our students to realize their educational aspirations. We share common goals: to achieve peace, cultivate love, and foster a school community abundant in these values.