Gables Chamber event examines global relevance of IB education

Pictured at the April membership meeting of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce at the Biltmore Hotel are (l-r) Mark A. Trowbridge, chamber president and CEO; Karema Harris, executive director, Florida League of IB Schools Inc.; Drew Kern, chamber chair; Marian Krutulis, founder and director emeritus of Gulliver Schools; Enzo Siviero, vice president of the National University System of Italy, and John Krutulis, Gulliver head of school.

Three visiting education specialists concur that college graduates have to start in high school to hone skills they will need to compete for jobs in an ever-expanding global marketplace. “In this global outlook it’s going to be critical for cross-cultural agility,” UCLA chancellor Gene Block said during the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce annual education breakfast on Apr. 19. “We have to make certain we’re investing in more education, making sure our students are more competent than ever before.”

Gulliver Schools sponsored the chamber’s Good Morning Coral Gables breakfast at the Biltmore Hotel.

Businesses need to step up their role in preparing students for the future, said Karema Harris, executive director of the Florida League of IB Schools, who moderated the program.

“As public higher education budgets continue to be slashed, businesses have no right to complain they can’t find qualified people to hire if they don’t step up and assist educators in preserving these budgets,” Harris said.

Students should take advantage of programs in place in their high schools, including foreign languages, International Baccalaureate (IB), and courses that promote critical thinking, leadership training, public speaking and effective writing.

From a European perspective, Enzo Siviero, vice president of the National University System of Italy, said students should acquire a broad general knowledge that includes history and literature from diverse perspectives. He also urged students to travel abroad.

“We have to spend a little more time to understand differences, differences in cultures, and find connections,” Siviero said.

John Krutulis, Gulliver head of school, said the IB program is “a very important educational tool” to foster such interest.

About 15 percent of Gulliver’s high school students participate in the IB program. The school hopes to expand the program to accommodate a waiting list of 100 students, Krutulis said. To go a step farther to prepare students, Gulliver established a Middle School IB about two years ago.

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