Rockhampton Grammar goes Global
Lily, 12, spoke with Rockhampton Grammar School Headmaster Dr Phillip Moulds about wanting to study mathematics and world history.
Another student, 14, blurted out that she wanted to be a forensic specialist like the guys on TV’s CSI.
Will, Year 8, shared his portfolio of awards and robotics pictures. The future engineer, in heavy rimmed black glasses, thumbed through every page excitedly recounting school competitions and other contests he had won.
Cocoa was thrilled about the idea of being able to learn how to sail or surf.
These conversations among future RGS boarders, their parents and Dr Moulds could have easily taken place in sheds at Beef 2018 or recent Agriculture Shows in Biloela, Capella or Clermont. Instead, they were in conference rooms in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong – at student expos organised and attended by approximately 50 Australian schools.
“They’re the same conversations I have with our local day and CQ boarding families,” volunteered Dr Moulds, four hours into a second day of meetings with boys and girls and Australian educators in the Westin Hotel in Shanghai earlier this year.
“Parents – whether they are from China or Chinchilla – have researched school options and are particular about the experience they want for their children,” said Dr Moulds.
“I can feel your kindness,” extolled one parent at the School’s Beijing information desk. “I hope my son can learn from your school not only academically, but so he can also grow healthily and be a benefit to other people, to our society.”
The Rockhampton Grammar School’s presence in China is small, but significant, according to Dr Moulds, as overseas parents choose schools in America, Canada, the UK and Australia for their children.
“A few years ago, when we started learning about the possibilities in China, parents were looking to send their children for a year or maybe two to ensure a pathway to Australian universities. It has changed now. We’ve talked to many parents who want their children to board from Year 7 or 8; many even talked to us about their plans to move to Australia so their children could benefit from our education values sooner,” Dr Moulds said.
At least three new students from China will start School at RGS in July this year, joining three already-enrolled international students.
“I was impressed with their level of English proficiency and their genuine interest in RGS. They love our academic foundations, but the Central Queensland location is a real asset too.
The RGS international experience is not limited to international students. “RGS Global Education is for everyone. Every student and every parent. Our programmes, including our near 40-year relationship with the Japanese city of Ibusuki, are as much about providing experiences for Central Queensland families as it is about international students coming here to learn,” explained Dr Moulds.
RGS has outgoing exchange programmes and access to scores of schools through its association and membership in Round Square, the international association of about 180 schools in 40 countries which organises student conferences and interactions among member schools.
Dozens of RGS students have visited Round Square schools over the last few years. Exchanges such as these are buoyed by the School’s global and intercultural components of its curriculum, overseas educational and co-curricular excursions, study tour programmes and Year 10 international community service projects.
“It’s fair to say that international or global education experiences have always formed a part of RGS; we’re now at a stage, however, where the profile and participation rates of our programmes are growing, where our reputation is drawing interest abroad, and where opportunities are developing for students to more easily acquire an international experience,” said Dr Moulds.
“Really it is that hands-on global perspective which is increasingly becoming vital in terms of our teenagers’ education, their growing awareness of their independence and interdependence, their identity and diversity and their responsibilities as Australian and world citizens,” Dr Moulds added.
In February, a small part of the world came to RGS as four students and two teachers from YK Pao, an international school in Shanghai, attended RGS on an exchange programme (RGS will reciprocate with a visit in September) that featured homestay arrangements and customised study programmes that exposed students to RGS classes as well as the School’s exclusive beachfront campus and Great Keppel Island.
“I would definitely come back,” said student, Sandy.