Today the Phuketindex.com team interviewed Miss Kanok Chupak or Kru Kanok the School Director of UWC Thailand International School. UWC Thailand or United World College Thailand practices the concept of aiming for education to be a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future.
Could you give us some of your background?
“Sawasdee kha, my name is Kanok Chupak, the director of UWC Thailand International School.” Kru Kanok has a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from Chulalongkorn University. She has been building on her experiences both in education, Leadership Team, Head of Thai Department, a Qualified Onesqua Accreditation Officer and Child Protector Officer from various international schools in Phuket and lately Shrewsbury International School, Bangkok. She has joined the UWCT team in July 2016 and brings passion, enthusiasm and humour to empower the community to achieve UWCT’s vision and mission.
A Brief History of the United World Colleges (UWC)
“Confidence in effort, modesty in success, grace in defeat, fairness in anger, clear judgement even in the bitterness of wounded pride and readiness for service at all times.” Kurt Hahn Founder of the UWC movement.
United World Colleges (UWC) was founded in 1962 with the vision of bringing together young people whose experience was of the political conflict of the cold war era. The first UWC college, the United World College of the Atlantic, located United Kingdom, was founded by Kurt Hahn, a German educationalist.
Hahn had been invited to address at the NATO Defence College, where he saw former enemies from several nations working together towards a common goal.
Hahn realized that if young people from different nations could be selected purely on merit and potential, regardless of race, religion, nationality and background brought together in a similar way it may bring understanding and peace to the world.
UWC Thailand is a none-profit school founded in 2009 as Phuket International Academy by Klaus Hebben, a German entrepreneur, who has also contributed to the development of Phuket through the creation of Thanyapura, a world-class health and sports resort. UWC Thailand became the 16th member of the prestigious UWC movement on 1 August 2016.
The current President of UWC is Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan. Her Majesty’s commitment to international understanding and in particular to peace-building initiatives is an inspirational example to members of the UWC international movement.
Please explain the UWC Educational Programme
The School offers a holistic educational programme that embeds SELM; Social Emotional Learning and Mindfulness into our curriculum, it also emphasizes Service Learning, Outdoor Education and Activities. UWCT is a full three-programme IB (International Baccalaureate) community of learners: a Primary Years Programme, Middle Years Programme and Diploma Programmes, welcoming students aged 18 months to 18 years. Our holistic educational programme has been designed for the students to grow as principled, resilient and committed individuals who have the skills to ‘Make a Difference’. They are the catalysts for change and for shaping a better world.
There are now 379 students coming from 59 different nationalities.
Are students involved in Service projects helpful to society?
We are lucky as Phuket provides fantastic learning environments and landscapes. With an extensive range of service learning activities taking place off campus, and wit the varied culture of Phuket, learning is certainly not confined to the classroom. Students embark on many excursions and field trips throughout the year and there are camps that focus on adventurous training, encouraging students to push the boundaries of their experience, putting their learning into practice.
Recently a group of our G11 students decided to take initiative and invest their time working with two NGOs from Southeast Asia and had a service experiences in Bangkok and Cambodia. They spent their time volunteering at the Mercy Centre (www.mercycentre.org). The Mercy Centre, founded by Father Joe Maier, works within the slums of Bangkok, creating opportunities of education for the children from these communities. Then they left Bangkok and headed to Phnom Penh , Cambodia where they had the chance to work as teachers, using their background and creativity as a way to lead the classes and manage the communication barrier at Green Umbrella (www.greenumbrella-khmer.org).
Can you explain about SEL&M ?
At UWC Thailand, we nurture the positive qualities in children so that they are better able to experience intellectual, emotional and physical balance. In this way, we attend to the ‘whole child’ Good Heart, Balanced Mind, Healthy Body concept by integrating social and emotional learning (SEL) and mindfulness into our educational approach.
With mindfulness, we learn to give ourselves the breathing room we need to take in what’s happening in our inner and outer worlds, and see it more clearly. It encourages creating a space before speaking or acting in order to choose how to respond wisely in a way that is skillful, kind and compassionate to those involved, including ourselves.
What about the school staff?
We have both Academic and Administrative staff to support the students’ learning process. As for teachers, our school widely welcomes every nationality from around the world to work with us. UWCT believes that to achieve peace and a sustainable future, our staff members create international and intercultural understanding. Teachers have been contributing wholeheartedly to the vision and ethos of the School. They are like jigsaw pieces to fulfill the school’s shape. Passionate teachers create motivated students and they allow student leaders a wide range of activities and initiatives.
We are seeking teachers and staff members who are motivated and encouraged to use their initiative to drive the organisation forward.
Tell us about the Phuket Community and UWCT 2017 Scholarship
PSG or The Parents Support Group recently held a charity Gala-night to raise funds for a scholarship.We are offering a full three-year scholarship for an underprivileged Phuket student to join Grade 10 in August 2017. The successful applicant will live together with our boarders in the boarding house, in order to fully immerse themselves at UWC and the student is encouraged to perform their highest potential in both academically and socially to create a more peaceful and sustainable future.
Kru Kanok visited seven schools to explain about the ‘Phuket Community and UWCT 2017 Scholarship’ and has already received some applications for that scholarship. There will be an interview of applicants from 12-13 February 2017. The applicants must participate in activities involving problem-solving skills, and interpersonal skills with the current students.
What is covered by the UWCT scholarship?
The average cost of the three-year program (including boarding, monthly allowance for living expenses and English language support) is approximately US$65,000 (2.3M baht). This fee covers only tuition, room, board, and books.
What opportunities can a UWCT scholarship benefit from the UWC experience after receiving my IB diploma?
All UWCT students are expected to remain committed to the goals and ideals of the UWC movement throughout their lives in ways they see fit to drive change in the world around them.
So far, around 55,000 students have graduated from the United World Colleges. They can be found in all walks of life — medicine, business, politics, education, international relations, non-governmental organizations, arts and the media — and they all share a determination to make a difference. UWC graduates also share a resolve to give back in some way to their home country — perhaps soon after they graduate or when they have acquired the necessary skills to make a significant contribution.
UWC is also privileged to have our students accepted into the world’s top universities and more than 50% have postgraduate qualifications.
Our graduates are also proud to have received support from philanthropic organizations such as the Davis United World Scholars Program. This scholarship scheme is intended specifically for UWC graduates who are admitted to one of the 94 universities and colleges in the USA that participate in the Davis Program. Graduates of UWC schools, who gain admission to selected universities in the USA, Canada, and many other countries, may qualify for needs-based support.
Students who wish defer their university studies may pursue a ‘Third Year Option’ as a volunteer in service of communities in some developing countries. Third Year Options may be in the form of building school houses in Ecuador, teaching English in a remote community in Asia, or providing community service in an Inuit community in the Northwest Territories, Canada.
Who are behind the UWCT Scholarship Selection Committee?
We are a group of UWCT staff and volunteer parents of the school. The selection panel comprises 3-4 UWCT parents and 3-4 UWCT staff and invited guests.
I am not fluent in English, does this matter?
Your English is not important for applying. Do not be discouraged from applying to UWCT because of a lack of fluency in English. It is not a requirement but it can be one of the factors evaluated during selection. UWCT uses English as their teaching language.
Apply now; we are looking forward to see you shine here! Khob khun maak kha Kru Kanok.
UWC Thailand International School
115/15 Moo.7, Thepkasattri, Thalang, Phuket 83110, Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 76 336 076
Fax: +66 (0) 76 336 078