School of Ostrava
– Unique in Czech
For sixteen years in Northern Moravia, there has been
a unique international school for the 21st century
which provides education not only for Czechs but
also for foreigners. The specifics of this education we
discussed with its director, Mgr. Ivo Helebrant
What is the fundamental difference between your
school and others? What makes you unique?
Our mission is to prepare students for real life so that
they act responsibly and are successful in today’s world.
The road to this goal is long, full of pitfalls, challenges,
new experiences, where the student develops
personally, socially and professionally and gradually
acquires a portfolio of essential competencies and
skills. We consider these aspects to be the meaningful
content of modern education, where the student is
given space, opportunities and incentives for learning
and development. Our uniqueness certainly lies in the
international environment, because we have students
and teachers from more than fifteen countries and also
teach most subjects directly in English. The influences
of different cultures, ideas, attitudes, values
communication in a foreign language, as well as in the
humanities and sciences, bring students opportunities
to apply around the world in all fields. We constantly
lead students to active citizenship.
What do we mean by active citizenship?
Active citizenship leads pupils through their own
teaching, special workshops, school clubs or other
non-formal education programmes (e.g. the Duke of
Edinburgh’s International Award) to realize their role
in society, their civic responsibilities and opportunities
to influence events and the environment around
them and the development and support of the local
community. The student develops his or her soft skills
in real situations or projects—communication, creativity,
cooperation, critical thinking. The latter is very typical
for our school—we intensively lead students to develop
critical thinking and understanding of the context.
Your school is also accredited in the International
Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IB DP). What
makes this program stand out?
IB DP is a highly academically demanding two-year
program for high school students. For both years, the
student studies six selected subjects across the curriculum
(mother tongue, one required foreign language (English),
mathematics, one humanities, one science subject and
one elective which our students are required to select as
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an addition foreign language), in addition to three areas
that are formally non-existent in Czech education—writes
a professional essay on a selected topic, discusses and
defends the subject Theory of Knowledge and performs
extracurricular activities and develops informally in an area
called Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS). The study takes
place only in English, including final exams, and the student
will receive a second high school diploma in addition to
the Czech Matura exam. Both are beneficial for admission
to universities in the Czech Republic and abroad.
Who provides this certainly challenging lesson?
What is the composition of your teaching staff?
Our school consists mainly of Czech teachers with
excellent knowledge of English, which we support in their
professional development, especially in the field of critical
thinking, support for creativity and experiential learning,
the use of information technology in teaching and
planning, the use of project teaching. It should be noted
that many of them have worked abroad for several years or
are continuing their education there, offering high quality
teaching together with teachers from other countries.
Your school has been providing education for sixteen
years. What do you consider the greatest success?
It is a certain specificity in the Czech Republic and some
other countries that private schools have a derogatory
label and for years we have had to prove that you can
learn differently and that our graduates are often more
successful in their professional lives than graduates of
public Czech schools. Few people doubt that today. We
receive the recognition of the professional public—the
University of Ostrava, People in Need, the International
Program of the Duke of Edinburgh, Erasmus +, and the
Czech School Inspectorate. Many of our teachers are
trainers and mentors for other organizations. And we
also appreciate that we have been able to break through
the fact that we are not just a language grammar school,
but that a foreign language is a tool for learning about
the world and more and more graduates are heading
to science or technology, where they become English
professors. They control it perfectly.
Dear headmaster, thank you for the interview.