By Joseph Ssemutooke
According to David McLaughlin, Director, GEMS Cambridge International Schools the school has high-quality educational facilities around the world. “We have more than 70 GEMS Cambridge schools in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, UK, Switzerland, USA, India, China and Kenya, among others,” he says. McLaughlin explains that the Kampala school becomes the second in Sub-Saharan Africa, having opened the first in Nairobi last year.
GEMS Cambridge International School, Kampala, will start operations in September, this year. However, it is now open for parents to visit and enroll their children. Built on an 18-acre chunk of land in Butabika, Nakawa Division, the school will teach basing on the national curriculum of England from kindergarten to Year 13. But for its first year (2013 to 2014), it will be offering tuition for only years 1 to 6.
However, the school will slightly adapt to the local terrain. For instance, Swahili, History and Geography have been tailored to meet the local curriculum. At the end of their studies, students will attain the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE), which is still a variation of the general GSCE to make it international instead of being entirely British oriented.
“Our global GEMS network of schools provides parents with the opportunity to transfer their children from one GEMS school to another in different parts of the world where they might move,” McLaughlin explains. Christine Simmonds, the school’s principal, says teachers are mainly British-trained and undergo regular improvement/refresher courses.
“Our GEMS name is inspired by our belief that every child is a gem, precious and unique and ready to shine and achieve his or her hopes and dreams,” she says. Simmonds adds that: “We aim to educate a child not just in class, but all-round so that they can become world leaders and world changers in whatever field they have natural ability.”
GEMS Cambridge International School, Kampala will offcially open in September. PICTURES BY PETER BUSOMOKE
Over the last five years, GEMS students have been accepted into 590 universities in 41 countries.Some of them are among the most prestigious universities and colleges in the world. Twelve outof the top 15 and 36 out of the top 50 universities in the world have admitted GEMS students.Also, over the past five years, GEMS students across the world have won more than 900 international, regional and local awards for academics, sports and the arts. “So you can believe us when we say we look forward to having students in Uganda get honours such as the best mark in maths in the world, which we have done elsewhere on our other campuses,” McLaughlin says.
He says with over 130,000 students from 151 countries in GEMS schools across the world, every school features a wide array of nationalities. The cultural diversity students get exposed to provides them with a unique opportunity to interact, study and experience other cultures and belief systems. He says this global cross-cultural experience is extended further through a special initiative where GEMS students are linked via video conferences to students in non- GEMS schools around the world.
Also, the trips to different locations around the world make them global citizens with world views, interests and experiences. Simmonds says parents’ involvement in their children’s learning is important in GEMS teaching. The school ensures parents take interest in what they are learning in school and at home. “We brief parents on the children’s progress through weekly emails, reports and monthly visits to the school. We also ensure the parents have a say in how the school develops by getting their views and incorporating them in our programmes and policies,” McLaughlin explains.
GEMS Cambridge services in Kampala