Education For A Better World
UNIS Hanoi is not an Agency of the United Nations, but we are educating agents of change. What is the impact on teaching and learning of being a United Nations School?
UNIS Hanoi is an inclusive school which does not discriminate for enrollment based on race, sex, religion, political or other opinion. It does not select students based on academic achievement and will enroll all students whose learning needs can be effectively supported. All students are encouraged and supported to take the IB Diploma in our non-selective programme.
Programmes and Curriculum
The School chose to partner with the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) in the 1990s because of the close philosophical alignment of the two organisations. The IBO is committed to “develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.”
UNIS Hanoi chose the IBO to deliver a programme reflecting the School’s Mission and Guiding Principles, and became the first IB World School in Asia using the three IB programmes; Primary Years (PYP), Middle Years (MYP) and Diploma Programmes (DP).
Many elements in all three programmes, closely align with the principles of the UN. For example, the PYP Unit of Inquiry, “Sharing the Planet”, the global context of “Globalization and Sustainability” for MYP units, and the framing for Diploma investigations and debate in issues of social, economic, political and cultural challenges.
In addition UNIS Hanoi develops curriculum and makes explicit links when appropriate directly to the work of the United Nations from Elementary School through to the Diploma. For example, in Grade 4 when students are learning the skills of persuasive writing, they are asked to make the case for a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Viet Nam; In Grade 10 Humanities, students study conflict resolution with case studies from UN peacekeeping missions, and in Grade 11 Chemistry the student’s study of energy is contextualized by UN initiatives to double global sustainable energy resources by 2030.
UNIS Hanoi has always used the work of the United Nations, and the challenges it strives against, to set context and provide case studies and problem solving challenges for its students. And with the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals in September 2015, the commitment has only grown stronger and new curriculum with direct links to the SDGs has been introduced across Elementary, Middle and High School with more initiatives in development.
Service Learning is widely adopted by schools around the world. Rarely is it embedded into the curriculum and mandated for all students as part of the regular learning day as it is at UNIS Hanoi.
“By addressing real and authentic community needs, the Service Learning programme at UNIS Hanoi aims to provide opportunities for our students as individuals, and as part of the UNIS Hanoi community, to gain a deeper understanding of themselves, their community and their world.
Our Service Learning programme aims to provide opportunities for our students to develop the knowledge, skills and outlooks required to play their part in creating a fair, inclusive and cohesive society and to encourage them to drive and inspire sustainable change.”
At UNIS Hanoi our students are engaged in Service Learning at all grade levels ensuring that taking action and service are real and meaningful learning experiences, linked to real issues and situations. And with the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals the School’s Service Learning programme in Middle and High School is now framed, and will be measured, with reference to those 17 goals.
Service is considered essential at UNIS Hanoi and as such is embedded into the curriculum and scheduled for all students in Middle and High School. In Elementary School, service is introduced to the programme through the transdisciplinary units of inquiry.
In addition to the promotion of individual service, UNIS Hanoi has provided service to the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training in its goals to improve its educational programmes; At its request, for more than 15 years we have been providing significant on-campus professional development for Vietnamese Kindergarten teachers through our Early Childhood Education Renovation Programme; more recently a programme to provide swimming lessons and reduce deaths from drowning was created; and sponsorship is provided for Vietnamese teachers to attend the bi-annual Vietnam Tech Conference hosted by UNIS Hanoi promoting greater use of accessible open source ideas to support national education.
UN Day and Model United Nations
The United Nations, the role it plays and the diverse work it carries out across the globe is an important part of teaching and learning at UNIS Hanoi throughout the year. But on one day every year it is brought to the fore in every classroom and to every student at UNIS Hanoi as part of celebrations to mark UN Day.
UN Day is celebrated across the world by international schools and UN agencies every year. At UNIS Hanoi a more meaningful link between the learning that takes place in the classroom and the work of the UN is forged through a range of activities, often with direct involvement by UN Agencies.
In the 70th anniversary year, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Vietnam Dr Pratibha Mehta, inspired students to action: “One million people, many just like you, helped shape these new set of Sustainable Development Goals to see ‘the world that they want’, to help protect the planet and to make the world a safer, fairer and more just place for everyone.
“If there is any school that can help promote a vision of a world protected from climate change, that is more fair and just, then it is UNIS Hanoi and all of you.”
The Model United Nations at UNIS Hanoi has grown from a group of 30 to more than 100 Middle and High School students in the last five years as the programme has developed. In addition to sending delegations to MUN conferences internationally, UNIS Hanoi hosts annually a three day MUN conference focusing on engaging Vietnamese high schools with more than 200 students from 15 Schools attending in 2015.
In addition the Elementary School has created its own Model United Nations forum, inspired by the Paris Summit in 2015, as a culminating activity for Grade 5 students studying climate change.
“Become an agent for change… and be ready to have the experience change you.”
This has been the faculty recruiting campaign in recent years to emphasis UNIS Hanoi’s commitment to making a difference in the world through education.
UNIS Hanoi has become a destination school for teachers, not only because of its reputation for teaching and learning, but also because of the direct link to the mission and vision of the United Nations and the desire in teachers to be connected directly with its work. In 2015 the School’s connection to the United Nations became the most highly rated influencing factor for our new teachers in choosing to apply for a position at UNIS Hanoi.
UNIS Hanoi is a community of learners committed to making a difference in the world, and furthering the work of the United Nations through the education of young people.