Oxford International AQA Examinations (OxfordAQA) – a joint venture between education charity AQA and Oxford University Press (OUP) – officially launched its international qualifications in China this month.
OxfordAQA’s international GCSEs and A-levels have been specifically designed to enable students outside the UK who are following a British curriculum to achieve their potential.
The launch events in Beijing and Shanghai were attended by 300 school leaders and teachers and attracted significant local media interest. OxfordAQA’s Managing Director Christine Ozden and board member colleagues from AQA and OUP also held a series of meetings with school leaders, teachers and members of the British Council.
These events were also a celebration to recognise the schools that have already been approved as OxfordAQA centres. In addition to the core academic subjects, OxfordAQA also introduced its Independent Project Qualification (IPQ). The IPQ (OxfordAQA’s international version of the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) proved to be of particular interest, with teachers valuing the benefits it provides by supporting students to develop independent study and research skills.
Sadie Visick, AQA’s Director of International and Corporate Affairs, said:
"It’s always a real pleasure to meet and talk to school leaders and teachers in a country where education is highly valued. While there is much we can learn from China, for example the Shanghai Maths approach, the British education system is hugely respected here.
"I was struck by the interest in our approach to fair assessment, which means students who don’t have English as a first language won’t be disadvantaged. The other area that seemed to really spark interest was our programmes designed to develop creativity, initiative, critical thinking and learner independence.
"The global growth in schools that offer an international curriculum taught in English has increased to 41% in the last five years and Chinese students and their parents are looking more and more towards international options to continue their education post-18. Our aim is that OxfordAQA’s international qualifications will fully equip them to do so successfully."
OxfordAQA is exploring with schools the best way to help them deal with the challenges they face, such as ensuring teachers have the right level of English language skills or a thorough understanding of how to teach a British curriculum.
Today, AQA’s Director of Qualifications Strategy, Dr Ian Stockford, is speaking at the first China International School Summit and Annual Meeting of the China Education Regulatory Board, hosted by the Beijing Foreign Studies University. This will be followed by visits to schools in Hangzhou and Changzhou.
Dr Stockford said:
"Being invited to present at this conference on behalf of OxfordAQA and to have a dialogue with teachers is a fantastic opportunity to explore the challenges that teachers and students in China face.
"We know many students will want to use their UK qualifications to progress to universities in the UK and US, and this visit will help us help us ensure we put them in the strongest position possible."