UWCSEA Annual Report 2017/2018: Message from Anna Lord, Chair, UWCSEA Board of Governors
Anna Lord, Chair, UWCSEA Board of Governors
14 March 2019
Each year the UWCSEA annual report tells a story of success and achievement, and this one is no different. I am delighted to introduce another set of information and statistics about the College learning programme and operations for the 2017/2018 year, which serve to provide a transparent account of our community’s work.
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The primary role of the Board of Governors is to ensure the long-term sustainability of the College, both reputationally and financially. We provide the strategic oversight that ensures the school is well-run, giving a quality experience to students, while at the same time we continually scan the horizon to prepare for the future. The 2017/2018 year was one where we had our eye firmly fixed on the future, and the main expression of this was the development of the UWCSEA five-year strategy.
The process of developing the strategy included consultations with stakeholder groups from across the community. With the UWCSEA mission as our compass, Board and management considered the external opportunities and threats that Singapore and the wider world of education present, as well as the internal resources and capabilities that we must harness to respond to various potential realities as they unfold. We generated much discussion as we tested our assumptions, sought relevant data and synthesised perspectives.
The outcome was the UWCSEA Strategy 2018-2023, which was approved by the Board of Governors in March 2018. But while the focus of the plan may be on the next five years, it was built with the more long-term picture very much at the forefront. In particular, we were focused on the financial sustainability of the College and our ability to deliver a high quality, mission-driven education to young people well into the future. I am confident that if we fulfil the promise of our five-year strategy, we will be well-placed to bring the College to the next stage of our development in the long-term.
Another major preoccupation during the year was compliance. Nowhere was this made more apparent than in our Service programme, where changes to Singapore regulations on fundraising led to a re-examination of our practice. We are immensely proud of the pro-active and positive approach staff had to the project: they took the opportunity to review and revise our internal processes around fundraising at the College, while protecting the integrity of student learning through the service programme, which is fundamental to who we are. At the same time, they built a deeper understanding of our programme among regulators, and took every chance to emphasise the strength of our Local [Singapore] Service programme, which has a long history in Singapore and contributes so broadly to our host country.
But if there was a theme to the 2017/2018 year, it was one of external outreach and partnerships. As an example, in January 2018 the College entered into an agreement with Sky School, which aims to provide education for young refugees and displaced people whose education has been disrupted. UWCSEA educators collaborated with people from across the world and are well on their way to articulating a curriculum that is relevant to the circumstances of people who have had to put their education on hold after they were forcibly displaced as a result of conflict and persecution in their home countries. By harnessing technology, the opportunities for impact are extremely exciting. We also began work on the Impact Study, conducted in partnership with researchers at Harvard Graduate School of Education Project Zero, to examine whether or not the UWC movement has a positive impact on the lives of our students and alumni and on society as a whole. Both these partnerships are fully aligned to our mission and we look forward to building more local and international partnerships that will help us to extend our reach.
And finally, this is the last Annual Report where my message as Chair will be accompanied by another fine piece of prose on the opposite page from Chris Edwards, our former Head of College. At the end of last year, Chris announced that he will be leaving us after five years in his role. Annual reports are not the place to pay tribute to departing leaders, but it seems appropriate to acknowledge that while Chris was our Head, the College moved closer to the heart of the UWC movement, examined our commitment to our mission and prepared the way for a sustainable future for UWCSEA in Singapore. Thank you, Chris.
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