Recently at Atlantic College, there was a campaign called AiU looking to stir up conversation on how to make our school and the UWC mission more successful. We woke up one morning with posters put up all around the school that featured plays on the UWC mission statement and commenting on how we are failing to meet some of these goals right now. While I disagree with the way the campaign was started, it was definitely necessary. With two new schools opening next year and the goal of expanding to even more schools in the near future, now is the time to revisit the UWC mission and how we are working to accomplish it.
UWC has definitely had its share of controversy in recent years. To name one, there was some backlash against the new schools opening, especially because the schools seem to be concentrated in Europe and not expanding elsewhere. The expansion of schools means that scholarships will likely have to be cut down. This is something that we as students are worried about. Having socio-economic diversity at UWCs is something that makes our schools so great and gives students who wouldn’t be able to afford an education a chance to succeed. We can already see the diversity threatened and it would be very sad to see it worsen.
Here at AC, a pre-IB program is supposed to start this year, a fact that most first years weren’t aware of until pretty recently. This means that there will be 14/15 year-old students now sharing the campus with us and these students will most likely receive spots to attend the IB program at AC if they want to apply. Since most of the UWC schools are running out of funds and are looking for creative ways to generate revenue, I can see where this is coming from. There are other UWC’s who run pre-IB programs as well and to the best of my knowledge, this has worked out fine for them. But this program was started without the support of the majority of students at AC. Last year the students tried to voice their opinions about the program but it seems like the pre-IB went on anyways.
As potential first years are getting their notifications for interviews now, I think it’s important to reflect on the good, the bad, and the ugly of the UWC movement. As noted in my Theory of Knowledge class this week, the IB curriculum was founded by Atlantic College but has since gone on to become a separate company. The morals and ethos of the mission that the IB started with have changed as the curriculum evolved and it doesn’t fit in exactly fit in anymore with the UWC ideals. But where do we go from here? Do we have to start over again and make a new curriculum again, just 50 short years later? And honestly, I have no idea what’s right. And I don’t think I’m qualified to say what’s right. But these are questions you have to think about when thinking about the future of the school.
I don’t say any of this to try to turn people off of the UWC movement. I just think it’s important for the information to be out there and I think this was part of the aims of the AiU movement. And we all have to remember that UWC isn’t perfect. AC isn’t perfect. But then again, nothing is. We must strive as much as possible for perfection but also acknowledge that we might fall short in some areas. For me, the pros of Atlantic College far outweigh the negatives. It might be different for others, but I have no regrets about coming here.