In September 2022, the next-generation Brookes CIL International School is opening in the heart of Kyiv as a joint project of Brookes Education Group (BEG) and CIL International.
Kevin Skeoch, Founding Director of Brookes CIL and educational leader with more than 30 years of experience, shared key challenges of modern education, the need for a new approach, and how the new school will change the educational landscape of Europe.
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On being an educational leader
I have spent 30 years working in international education with IB in particular in different parts of the world, leading schools in the US, the UK, Switzerland, Canada, and South Korea. I have gained in leadership, community understanding, business knowledge – and had a wonderful introduction to various people of the world.
The school is the heartbeat of the family, especially in the foreign context. By dealing with families from different nationalities, the school makes them united and whole, which is very similar to defining internationalism itself.
Why Brookes CIL International School is a game-changer
Brookes CIL International School is Kyiv’s mark on the world for the future. There are many good schools, but at this time and place education, learning, and the future come together. In Europe, we mostly see revitalization or reconstruction of existing schools. Ukraine is going to make waves because this school is put up to become one of the greatest schools in Europe as well as in architectural history.
I have been around the world many times, I have seen many other schools, and I know that at the heart of it – a school is a place where children feel safe and secure, they want to learn and have the ability and motivation to do anything at Brookes CIL with professional educators support.
I would like this school to be a learning hub, an educational center for Europe, a professional center for teachers, a meeting area for students and exchanges.
The kids in the school will be at the forefront of it all, with a great menu of options we call 7 wonders of CIL – gymnasiums, makerspaces, creative think tanks, entrepreneurial skill centers, creative and performance halls, school classrooms.
Brookes CIL International School: The core values and mission
Our core values really make us different – Brookes CIL stands for creativity, innovation, leadership, character, and connectivity.
Creativity is openness to ideas, freedom of speech, freedom to do things that you want – that cannot be taken away from anyone. Creativity is not a teacher’s closed cupboard, it’s doing what you want, and let’s see how it goes.
Leadership is not about being president of the student council, or being popular, or making decisions for other people – it’s something wider and greater. Leadership is the ability to help others to move the world forward. And this is one of the highest aspirations in our school.
Ingenuity or innovation – school is a design center sparking something unusual and interesting that will be a different way of seeing things in any subject, design or thought process.
Character development fits creativity and leadership, it is our identity. Brookes CIL will be a great Ukrainian character-building institution, some great minds are going to come out of there and some great things are going to be done.
We are not looking at national borders – we are looking beyond. We have Brookes network advantage – automatically all children of the school are part of BEG family and are connected to 5 parts of the world. They are going to be collaborating, sharing ideas, competing and doing things together, seeing and experiencing, taking a class in another part of the world. International education is not better than state education – it’s the peers and deep relationships in international education that really set you apart.
What is the IB curriculum and how’s it different from the traditional one?
I am an IB convert – I would say that IB is not the only, but it’s certainly the best curriculum on the private market today, and it’s also the most popular.
An IB education has 4 different programs within it. IB is a very progressive educational framework that is 53 years old and it’s something totally different from anything traditional that might be in Ukraine, Canada, the US, or the UK. The central difference is that it’s criterion-referenced.
IB places one thing at the very center – you are assessed on your perspectives, and the marks are awarded for your ability to look out and beyond and make comparisons that are not natural or expected from you.
You are not at the mercy of a teacher, or a popular vote, or a difficult situation. It’s the curriculum that aspires to everyone’s ability and opportunity to achieve.
Is it possible to enter Harvard from Kyiv?
The IB was first accepted by Harvard, the Sorbonne, and Oxford, now it has worldwide recognition.
Internationalism is at the core of the entire program, it all comes to the idea that we are globally-minded people, and we have globally-minded ideas aiming to study in any university in the world. And that’s a tremendous opportunity and a great luxury.
The IB diploma you receive is a piece of your development, and you take it with you. If the children came out of Brookes CIL and went to any other school or university in the world – they would fly high. They would be absolutely well-prepared for any challenge that’s put in front of them.
Key challenges of educational industry: COVID-19 implications
I sometimes think that I am in the greatest profession of all. But there are things that really hit me at the heart of it all. I feel so sad about young people around the world who lost some connections and experiences as well as some opportunities because of the pandemic.
Children are the leaders of the future we have to protect.
- We are still a very small population in a very small world.
- A hiccup on one side of the world can lead to disastrous big loud noise on the other side of the world.
- The protection of freedom of movement and freedom of decision-making has been at the forefront of big debate now.
- What is going to be the future of Internationalism and globalization?
- A change to work and assessment patterns both in schools and in offices
- Online learning taught us that there is a limit to how much free time a child can have or do.
COVID-19 has also taught us good things – at the end of the day, we are very adaptable human beings that have come out of this more prepared and reasonable.
Kids are kids anywhere in the world. How do you keep students motivated to sit and watch the computer all day long? Nothing replaces a teacher in the classroom. We don’t really have the ability to see, hear and feel each other unless we are together.
In Brookes CIL we don’t have to worry about the air that we breathe, the pollution that we make, the sources of our heating. It’s all going to be state-of-the-art and cutting edge, it’s also going to be well-protected.
I am very happy, hopeful, and excited to come over to Kyiv. I see Ukrainians are very family-oriented and I see this school will be family first, it will be a center where you are proud to have your relatives come in, your grandparents will identify with it, and most importantly the children will be taken up with great love.
Great schools have great governance. Great governance comes with great people. The Board members of this school are risk-takers, mavericks, nationally proud people taking a huge step forward in establishing something that is going to be a game-changer in Ukraine.
I am honored to be given this opportunity. I am certain that with this school, Ukrainians are making a mark for themselves, and I am very happy to channel that wherever they wanted to go.