Technological advancements are redefining the 21st century workplace. The future of work entails working with and alongside machines, which means today’s youth will need to not only focus on academic achievement to secure themselves a bright future, but also ensure they’re equipped with a broad range of skills that would help them thrive.
Leadership skills have become essential for individuals who are looking to differentiate themselves from a competitive workforce. A good learning environment that provides students the opportunity to grow both in and outside of the classroom can contribute to this. These are just some of the hallmarks of Jerudong International School (JIS) in Brunei.
JIS students study as part of a diverse student body; the school has 1,663 students from 55 nationalities between the ages of two and 18, of whom, 196 are boarders. The school is located on a large, 120 acre campus, ensuring students study comfortably within a spacious, green environment. As an ‘Outstanding’ IB World School offering a British International Education, the size of the school has allowed it to embrace student leadership opportunities as a core part of its ethos.
For instance, leadership starts in the youngest years of Junior School, with opportunities to inspire others provided in a multitude of ways as children progress through the school. This includes community involvement, such as preparing food for the needy during festive seasons to helping fellow alumni achieve their goals.
Indefinite opportunities for students to cultivate leadership skills
Senior School students have numerous opportunities to flex and groom their leadership traits. For instance, those who become one of the 16 House Captains can develop their leadership and communication skills by managing up to 70 students from Year 7 to 13.
House Captains receive bespoke leadership training from Ralph Morel, JIS leadership facilitator, where they undergo a leadership journey that includes activities such as looking at building a shared agreement, reflecting on the type of leaders they aspire to be and identifying factors that make a good team. Students are also given opportunities to put theory to practice by applying their training in real-life situations, including during speeches and assemblies. There are also leadership dinners and hikes through the jungle to help contribute to the development of these young, confident leaders.
JIS also prides itself on its highly successful Outdoor Education. The School is one of the World’s leading providers of the International Award (Duke of Edinburgh Award) at Bronze, Silver and Gold level which involves adventurous excursions to China and Sabah (Malaysia), and are instrumental in developing students’ sense of service, physical abilities and practical skills.
Each House Leader can pursue additional activities for their personal development. Members of Hawk House have been to Temburong for leadership training, where the Year 12 Hawk Boys underwent survival training. This involved hiking through the Borneo Rainforest with local guides and surviving for three days eating only what they could catch. There’s also a Senior Management Student team who organise the Upper Years students, while the School’s Head Boy and Head Girl meet with the Principal once a month.
Holistic experiences for personal and professional growth
Students from Years 7 to 9 can apply to be on the Student Council each academic year. These councils are designed to be the ‘voice of the students.’ Each applicant is interviewed by the Pastoral Director and Assistant Head of Middle Years before a final Council is appointed.
As part of an initiative to ensure senior students take on greater responsibilities and demonstrate maturity within the school community, Years 12 and 13 students participate in the Borneo Project, which has been running for five consecutive years with much success. Students also fundraise for causes in and out of Brunei throughout the year. Meanwhile, the Cambodia Project sees Middle Years students fundraising for the Angkor Hospital for children, culminating in a visit to Cambodia and partaking in a range of activities, such as painting murals on the walls.
Charity initiatives aside, all Year 12 and 13 students engage in the Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) programme. While CAS is an integral part of the IB Diploma for IB students, JIS also requires A-Level students to participate in a CAS programme, encouraging them to enjoy a range of activities alongside their academic studies.
A space where students flourish
JIS students are happy with the vast activities and opportunities presented to them.
Sheng Kai Wong, Head Boy, said: “The last five years at JIS has pushed me in ways I never imagined, and made me into an individual who isn’t afraid to take those steps out of my comfort zone.”
Meanwhile, Shreya Roy, Middle Years Liaison Captain, said: “We get opportunities to be the role models that we wanted to see growing up. Not just the seniors but everyone gets the chance to be someone that inspires someone else, allowing all of us to be part of a community of a range of identities, reaching out to all. It is an area for growth and development with the support that we want.”
It’s clear that students experience accelerated growth on a personal and professional scale at JIS, setting the pathway for them to become leaders of tomorrow.