Social Enterprise

OSC is a Social Enterprise

A Social Enterprise is a profit-making company whose profits go to charity. OSC's profits benefit the McCall MacBain Foundation. The McCall MacBain Foundation aims to improve the welfare of humanity through focused grants in health, education and the environment.

In addition, OSC continues to divert time, money and effort to support IBDP schools and education in the developing world. Some of our recent activities are outlined below.

OSC revision classes in Rwanda

Four highly experienced OSC teachers each devoted one week of their time in March and April 2012 to travel to Rwanda and deliver IBDP Revision classes there. OSC, as part of its Social Enterprise projects, covered their expenses. The classes were for students at the only IB World School in Rwanda, Green Hills Academy in Kigali.

Many countries in Africa have developed enormously over the last decade – few more than Rwanda. Just 18 years after the horrors of the genocide, it is a thriving, efficient nation. Keith Allen, OSC’s Academic Director says that the capital, Kigali, is the most pleasant African capital city that he has visited since he first travelled to sub-Saharan Africa over 38 years ago.

Kigali only has one IB school: Green Hills Academy. OSC has been supporting the school since 2009. Most of the 1500 students at the school are Rwandan citizens. So that they can afford the school, fees have to be kept low (a maximum of £3,000 per year). Not surprisingly, these students cannot fly to Oxford for OSC’s world-famous Revision Courses. But, they need to maximize their grades just as other students do.

With this background, Green Hills identified English A1, Mathematics HL, Economics and Physics as four subjects that students were finding particularly difficult. OSC teachers Liz Stephan, Paula Heinen, Bruce Hebbert and Pete Clark then volunteered to share their experience with the students and spent a week each running revision sessions. All were very popular with the students.

OSC supports Professional Development in Ghana

OSC employs some of the best IBDP teachers in the world. But, in addition to their teaching skills, many of them have other areas of expertise – many are IBDP examiners, some are IB workshop leaders (training other teachers), others inspect new schools to check that they are prepared for teaching the Diploma Programme. Linked to its Social Enterprise activities, OSC has continued to send some of these highly experienced to support schools in West Africa.

IB Diploma subjects are regularly revised and the IB is extremely keen that teachers are trained on the new syllabuses, the latest ideas for teaching it, and the new assessments. OSC teachers are regular participants in these training sessions - another reason why OSC courses are much more effective than those run by former IB students who are not teachers and would not be able to attend IB training).

Training workshops are concentrated in parts of the world with high densities of IB World Schools. So, schools in Africa, in particular, are at a disadvantage – especially those with tight budgets. OSC is trying to reduce this disadvantage by paying for some of our most experienced teachers to travel to Africa. The most recent trips have been to the SOS Hermann Gmeiner International College in Tema, Ghana – a school giving orphans from across Africa an opportunity to study the IBDP.

OSC teacher Fiona Swanson went to Ghana in May 2012 to help the teachers understand the new English A: Language and Literature course. Another OSC teacher, Peter Gray, went in February 2013 to ensure that the teachers are up-to-date on the new Maths HL and Maths SL Internal Assessment – on Mathematical Explorations. OSC’s Academic Director, Keith Allen, also visited the school in October 2012 whilst on holiday in Africa to discuss further support – and had an opportunity to hold staff and student training sessions at the neighbouring Tema International School – another IBDP school.

Increasingly, experienced, talented IB teachers, examiners and workshop leaders are keen to give their time freely to support education in less privileged environments. OSC is proud to be able to facilitate this.

Academics Without Borders Canada (formally known as Academics for Higher Education and Development)

OSC's profits have recently contributed towards Academics Without Borders Canada (AWBC), a McCall MacBain Foundation (MMF) project. AWBC organises and implements capacity building and refresher courses for faculty at the University of Liberia. MMF are currently funding the following projects:

Teaching Mathematics and English: During Liberia's Civil War, many of the teachers were either killed or fled the country. As a consequence Liberia's educational institutions were torn apart and the level of education available country wide was lowered. The faculty of the University of Liberia teach remedial Mathematics and English courses to help students reach an adequate level to pursue their university studies.

Computer Skills: Many faculty members at the University of Liberia do not have computer skills, and no knowledge of the internet due to the high cost of this service and low coverage. However, as the internet becomes more affordable and the coverage faster, the University of Liberia will be connected by the end of 2012. AWBC's computer course will train faculty in basic computer skills, and on how to take advantage of the internet for teaching resources and research - a key factor since the University of Liberia's library was destroyed during the war.

Research Methods: A well-functioning College of Business and Public Administration at the University of Liberia is an important element in having successful development in Liberia. The School produces the graduates who staff important parts of Liberia's civil service and its private sector; the accountants, economists, managers, and public administrators that Liberia so desperately need to grow economically. Further reserach will allow School to improve their analytical and teaching skills to enable them to teach their students how to engage in research, something that is integral to many of jobs they will be employed in in the public and private sector.

Online Distance Learning Initiative: After research and assessment by AWBC, it was found that one of the primary reasons for underperformance of the University of Liberia is the lack of competent faculty to conduct classes on critical subject areas in the arts and sciences, the social sciences and in management studies. An Online Distance Learning Initiative was developed to determine whether online tools, in an area of low-bandwidth, can be used to effectively bring University of Liberian students into an online classroom conducted outside of Liberia. The ultimate goal of the project is to add similar courses to the University’s list of courses and thereby extending and improving the number of courses offered.

OSC is excited and thrilled to be a part of this new project, through MMF.

Alfalit

In 2011, OSC’s profits contributed to Alfalit. Alfalit is an adult literacy programme in Liberia, Africa, a project supported by the McCall MacBain Foundation (MMF). MMF has targeted the project’s expansion to the South East, the South East Literacy Project (SELP), reaching remote areas and villages of the country. The goal of the project is to help 6,000 youth and adults to read, write and do basic arithmetic. Currently, two regions (Zwedru and Pleebo) in the South East have 50 literacy centres with 3,489 learners, all following the ‘Laubach Way To Reading’ and attending Level 1 and Level 2 classes.

December 2011 was a benchmark for phase one where all lessons needed to be complete in all 50 centres and an evaluation carried out - this goal was achieved. The objectives of Level 1 include:

•    To learn sounds and names of letters
•    To learn a total of 132 words as initial vocabulary development
•    To be able to write and recognize one’s own name
•    To learn figures up to 100 including one’s own telephone numbers

Alfalit is now teaching 5,962 people in 65 centres. Alfalit is also currently working with the Ministry of Education to gain formal accreditation for an "Exit Exam" so that learners who successfully complete all four Alfalit levels can make a smooth transition back into former education, as many do.

The programme itself has had a real impact on the rural areas and has gained the local people’s trust. Within the community, teachers are elected and then given adult-teacher training as part of the project. Classes are held in the evenings and are attended by a mixed group: youths who do not attend school, mothers, older men and women who for whatever reason have never learned how to read or write – pride and status are set aside and everyone participates.

Local feedback from learners' employers include:

Two companies that employ casual labour in Maryland Country have reported to the regional Alfalit office that they have seen a reduction in thumbprints on payroll as a result of women enrolled in the scheme have started signing their names on paychecks, and have been implementing basic Maths skills.

Alfalit have also received reports that many workers are opening bank accounts whereby they deposit and withdraw money unassisted.

OSC are proud to support this project and know that these classes will give the people in Liberia the basic numeracy and literacy skills which will allow them to gain some independence.

Right to Play

OSC's profits from 2011 are also being used to support the work that the McCall MacBain Foundation is doing with the Right to Play NGO. The current RTP project is a continuation and expansion of the first phase (2007 to 2010) and continues to target some of the most remote communities in Liberia offering support to the most disadvantaged and underserved of Liberia's children and youth. The project targets in and out of school children, as well as community leaders, teachers, government bodies and the general public in River Gee, Sinoe, Maryland and Grand Gedeh Counties in South East Liberia. The project objectives are:

  • To implement sport and play activities containing key life saving skills messages for children and youth.
  • To enhance the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to lower the incidence of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases
  • To contribute to building a peaceful post-war Liberia thorugh sport and play activities.

The highlight of this new phase is that in Maryland and Grand Gedeh Counties (2 previous implementation counties) program activities focussed on consolidating and and continuing the achievement made in the first part of the project. This is being done through building the technical and physical capacity of Restoring Our Children's Hope (ROCH) - the local organization made up of RTP leaders  – to plan, monitor and implement ongoing activities. The ROCH Leader Networks have taken the lead implementing regular program activities which were previously spearheaded by RTP staff.

In the new counties, RTP spent the year building the foundations for their programs, and getting to know the community and local partners and authorities. The fact that RTP programs are being taken over and run by ROCH is a great sign of the sustainability of the project, and the fact that it empowers local people to instigate their own change in the community. To increase organisational capacity of the volunteer leader networks to plan and implement activities, RTP granted modest funds which resulted in the networks having to develop proposals, targets, and budgets. Both networks decided to improve the learning environment of school children and as a result of school visits, ROCH and RTP donated 27 bench desks to three schools in Sinoe and River Gee County. This donation meant students were no longer sitting on bricks, and could work more comfortably.

The 'Sport for Health and Peace' project is strengthened through RTP's focus on developing the capacity of local volunteer leaders to use sport and play as an educational tool for the holistic development of children and youth.

The project now has 648 active leaders (229 females), engaging 20,198 children and youth (9,513 females) across four countries of implementation. The target is to reach 22,000 children by end of 2012.

OSC is proud to be associated, through the MMF, with Right to Play in Liberia.

Africa Books Project

OSC is working with Tula Publishing to provide books to schools in Malawi and Ghana - schools which typically have few or no reading or reference books. Studies by international donor agencies have demonstrated that providing appropriate books has made a tremendous difference to child literacy and development.

Click here find out how your school can contribute and to read full details of the books and schools selected and progress on the project.

Building a training centre for midwives in Liberia

The first full year's profits from OSC were used, via the McCall MacBain Foundation, to construct a midwife training centre in Liberia. For further information, click here.

Free presentations to IBDP students

OSC's team of former IBDP teachers and examiners provide free presentations for IBDP schools across many countries. Presentation topics range from Time Management and Revision and Review to How to get started on your Extended Essay and Tips from Examiners. To request these presentations, contact us via osc@osc-ib.com.

Scholarships for students from state schools

OSC's Pre-Exam Revision Courses attract thousands of students from all over the world. OSC offers scholarships for students from state-funded IBDP schools who might have financial difficulties. For further information, click here.

Support for needy students to attend OSC Summer Courses

In 2009, OSC provided scholarships for African students to attend our Mid IBDP Summer Course in the University of Cambridge. The students, from Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zimbabwe had progressed from orphanages in their home countries to the SOS Hermann Gmeiner International College in Ghana. For further information, click here.

Logistical support for IB Teacher Workshops

IBSCA is the Association of IB World Schools for the UK and Ireland. Since 2009, IBSCA has been running authorised IB Teacher Workshops. OSC provides logistical support for these. For further information, click here.

Subsidised places for UK state school teachers on workshops

To assist the growing number of state schools in the UK offering the IB Diploma Programme, OSC provided a further discount for their teachers to attend IBSCA Teacher Workshops in April 2010.

Professional development for a school in Rwanda

Green Hills Academy offers the IBDP in Kigali, Rwanda. OSC has provided support by bringing a senior teacher from the school to the UK for three weeks so that he could exchange ideas with the highly-experienced IBDP teachers working for OSC. OSC has also provided Revision Guides for the school and, in 2010, paid for an experienced IBDP teacher, examiner and workshop leader to visit Rwanda to run workshops for staff and students.

 

 

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