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Prem Center International School

How can a school develop in its students a genuine appreciation and understanding of a world populated by many cultures?

The answer lies not only in learning secondhand from history or geography books. Besides, whose history or geography does a young person learn about? It is said many times that the recipe for harmonious coexistence on this planet lies in education. But, in what kind of education?

One school which has chosen to grapple with the issue of offering an education which equips young people for contributing to the future survival of this planet and its inhabitants is the International School, Prem Center. Located in a part of the world and on a campus offering space for reflection about these issues, as well as opportunities to learn firsthand from people of diverse cultural backgrounds the International School, Prem Center just out of Chiangmai off highway 107 aims to do just that.

Students and staff are a melting pot of cultural diversity. The teachers of this school, who have lived and worked in a range of countries on all continents, bring with them a combined rich cultural experience. The students, whether day or boarding, similarly bring with them their own cultural diversity and experience. Boarders of the International School, Prem Center learn from each other not only in the classroom but also in their daily lives by sharing apartments with people from cultures different to themselves.

The International School Prem Center has therefore chosen to implement the only truly international curriculum, the International Baccalaureate (I.B.) for 4 to 18 years old. Designed by the world's top educators it represents no one country. It is a curriculum which looks at the world through many different cultural perspectives because the examples studied in lessons deliberately include countries from all parts of the globe. In addition it develops skills in analytical thinking by teaching students not only how to access and research facts, but also how information is packaged for us as consumers. Logic, emotion, culture, spiritual ity and politics all play a part in how information is presented and the I.B. student learns to recognize these when messages are conveyed in the world.

The extracurricular program plays an important role in the development of commitment to the planet. The International School, Prem Center's community service program begins with teaching young people to look after their immediate school environment and fellow students and expands to include the family, local community and ultimately the world beyond. Students discover the intrinsic joy of helping others in the community. Whether planting trees or helping others in need students discover that they can make a tangible difference to people and to the environment. The school community service arm extends beyond Thailand into the region and beyond. Already the International School Prem Center Visiting Schools program has shown the power of networking for the good of the planet. Joint projects between the Prem Center and overseas visiting schools have involved planting trees, painting a school, bringing clothing and educational materials as well as giving practical assistance to others. Community service is a popular component of the Visiting Schools program as well as a curriculum requirement of the International Baccalaureate. But most importantly, such opportunities are valuable in teaching young people that they really can make a difference for the better to the world. This in turn encourages them to continue to do so after they have left school.

In order to understand others on must begin by understanding oneself. And to understand others one must understand and appreciate one's own culture. At the International College, Prem Center students not only learn about each other's cultures but also enjoy celebrating their own cultures by sharing with others what is special about their country, whether it be on a national day of celebration or in a multicultural school event.

The words of past Canadian Prime Minister and Nobel Prize winner, Leicester B. Pearson, describe aptly what the International School, Prem Center is aiming to achieve: "How can there be peace without people understanding each other, and how can this be if they don't know each other?"

Prospective parents who would like to find out more are invited to check the web site at www.premcenter.org or, better still, to arrange to meet with the College Head, Carolyn Solomon, telephone 301 500 or E-mail carolyns@premcenter.in.th to arrange an appointment with her.

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