IB is Destroying Education in Third World Nations

What follows is from my forthcoming book: Ide, Arthur Frederick (2011). Problems in Third World Education copyright:

Most of the major schools (colegios) and universities are using the IB books with poorly qualified/underqualified/unqualified teacher whose linguistic skills are weak at best. They discourage students as they are poorly not only poorly trained but badly organised, while the IB books have little relevance to Third World nations, and are overpriced. 50% of their profits are funneled back into the schools that require them, as if 50% of the cost for all IB examinations and directors of the IB Programme demand graft payments to use the programme and its books.

 The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) is a “department” of Cambridge University UK English studies. It was developed in Geneva by Desmond Cole-Baker and his colleague Robert Leach (a USA social studies teacher) in 1962. In 1966 it was funded by the Ford Foundation. The IB Programme is too expensive for Third World nations (a text-book in Perú costs S/.165 which is approximately one-weeks salary for the laborer; thus most students buy illegal photocopies for S/.10) and is a “two-tier” education system further dividing education between the rich and the poor emerged as the growth in IB is driven by private schools and sixth-form colleges.[1] (See all end notes in blue between blue brackets are at the base of this essay; this is taken from my book in press : Ide, Arthur Frederick (2011). Problems in Third World Education. All rights reserved.) Since this was originally researched, the IB Programme’s website has changed. It now claims that in 1968, “A group of talented, forward-thinking teachers at the International School of Geneva, with assistance from several other international schools, created the IB Diploma Programme. What started life as a single programme for internationally mobile students preparing for university, has today grown into three programmes for students aged 3 to 19.”[2] Desmond Cole-Baker and Robert Leach are no longer mentioned. The first President of the IB Board is listed as John Goormagtigh, director of the European office of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. It claims to be offering “three challenging programmes to over 877,000 students aged 3 to 19 years” working “with 3,074 schools in 139 countries.” Like all businesses, it has its own store to sell its own products: pens, bags, and miscellaneous sundries.[3] The teachers of English in the IB Programme barely function: pronunciation is poor, and subject matter knowledge difficult—leading most teachers to reading to the students, or in Chiclayo at SENATI, the teachers and the coordinator “teach” English using the Spanish language nearly exclusively. At the schools that are enrolled in the expensive IB Programme, most teachers are barely fluent in English and depend solely on the IB Programme books: books that have numerous errors. The most common error in the IB books is beginning sentences with conjunctions—ignoring the fact that conjunctions join clauses. Basic rules of grammar are overlooked or ignored not only by the faculty and their administrators but even by Third World governments and their ministries of education.[4]

 The tragedy is most poor nations do not encourage nor fund the learning of English. This is especially true where what universities or schools do exist; they are either controlled by religion, politics, or for-profit groups. This short-sightedness is especially true in Perú where the deans and directors have little time and offer marginal funding for language centers even though, like a private for-profit university advertises that its language center in downtown Chiclayo (Lambayeque Province) offers Italian, Portuguese, German, French and English—but only has classes for students who must pass a “proficiency” in English in order to graduate.[5]

 Most of the major schools (colegios, although there are those such as Bruning in Chiclayo that delights in calling itself a “College” even for the kindergarten) and universities are using the IB books which are weak at best. They discourage students as they are poorly organised, have little relevance to Third World nations, and are overpriced since 50% of their profits are funneled back into the schools that require them, as if 50% of the cost for all IB examinations and directors of the IB Programme demand graft payments to use the programme and its books. The IB Programme books used in Third World Nations, such as in Perú at “language institutes”  (for example in Perú at SENATI) are not only illegal photocopies but taught by teachers who teach only for the money, with the Lima “Perú-wide” coordinator Isabel/Elisabeth admitting to José Ventura Berrios that the numerous errors in the books “are unimportant” and that the only thing that “is important is to get the students’ money—not teach them correct English.”

Director at SENATI admits using illegally copied text books


Preposition On used correctly

Preposition On used incorrectly in IB books

The tragedy is that all basic rules of grammar or overturned or ignored and thus rejected. For instance, as I presented in a PowerPoint overview at one of the many universities in Lambayeque Province in Perú, the errors in the First Certificate in English [FCE] books are startling overwhelming especially in its misuse of conjunctions. A conjunction joins clauses; it cannot begin a sentence, end a sentence, or be a sentence, and IB ignores this rule regularly.

IB misuse of conjunctions as found in the FCE textbook.

 This misuse of conjunctions is even more dramatic when going through the FCE book, for they are repeated in numerous places. Not only are conjunctions misused, but the FCE IB Programme book does not follow the basic rules of capitalization (or to be charitable, it is possible that the IB Programme books are never edited carefully). We find:

Languages, nations, and proper names are capitalized but not in IB books.

 Which is but one error on the page. For example:

IB books are filled with incorrectly used contractions and apostrophes

To make matters worse for the students who have the misfortune of “studying” the IB Programme, we find this:

IB on-line exams are filled with misplaced prepositions and modifiers

When I was asked by the Director of the Translation and Interpretation School of Languages at the university to note errors in the current English File series, I responded after the salutation:

 I am going to try to give you as many as possible (plus attach a PowerPoint to point out just a few errors in the FCE books) as a complete list is in my forthcoming book: The IB Programme and Destroying Education in the Third World. For example:

(1) page 122 of Elementary Student’s Book

     (a) articles: a/an, the [in reality, “this” and “that” are also singular articles as it is “this globe” and “that chair”–they are NOT plural articles

     (b) there is no mention of the “zero” article (which is both singular and plural); in general, the zero article is used with proper nouns, mass nouns where the reference is indefinite, and plural count nouns where the reference is indefinite. Also, the zero article is generally used with means of transport (“by plane”) and common expressions of time and place (“at noon,” “in prison”). The reference does not count nouns, institutional nouns, and mass nouns. See: Ron Cowan, The Teacher’s Grammar of English. Cambridge Univ. Press, 2008.

(2) page 123 ibid., is irrational on the issue of adjectives (see my book on grammar: Business English: From Grammar to Composition). (Articles are adjectives! as they go before the noun and that is nowhere presented.)

     (a) Nowhere is the list of order of adjectives given. The order is:

  1. quantity or number
  2. quality
  3. size
  4. age
  5. shape
  6. color
  7. proper adjective (often nationality or other place of origin)
  8. purpose or qualifier

“3B” has as its title “telling the time” but that is a fragment; it is “telling time” or “telling the time of day/night” etc.

 “3C” is marginal at best–my chapter on adverbs is over 30 pages, not two bullets.

“3D” prepositions of time is a bad joke. Prepositions of time includes: since, for, by, from—to, from-until, during,(with)in that are explained at the Purdue University website as:

  • She has been gone since yesterday. (She left yesterday and has not returned.)
  • I’m going to Paris for two weeks. (I will spend two weeks there.)
  • The movie showed from August to October. (Beginning in August and ending in October.)
  • The decorations were up from spring until fall. (Beginning in spring and ending in fall.)
  • I watch TV during the evening. (For some period of time in the evening.)
  • We must finish the project within a year. (No longer than a year.)

see: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/594/1/ ; the rest of English prepositions are both in my grammar book and my more specialised/specialized book Prepositions for Life.

“4A” — “can” is ability–it should be coupled with “may” which is permission.

“4B” ignores that “like” is also a verb and a gerund: “He likes her.” “She is liking what she sees.”

“4C” is truncated woefully. You is the singular first person, but the plural is “you all” or “everybody” the same as it is in Spanish (Usted, Ustedes). There is no  mention of demonstrative (this, that, these, those) or interrogative pronouns (who, whom, which, what, etc.), nor of objective, subjective, indefinite (The most common indefinite pronouns are “all,” “another,” “any,” “anybody,” “anyone,” “anything,” “each,” “everybody,” “everyone,” “everything,” “few,” “many,” “nobody,” “none,” “one,” “several,” “some,” “somebody,” and “someone”) or other pronouns.

Now, let us look at the text the students are expected to read–it is basically street English (vulgar or common).

Page 4:   “Nice to meet you” — should be “It is nice to meet you” (the former is a fragment)

            1.d = According to all dictionaries I have consulted “roleplay” is a hyphenated word: role-play.

Page 5: 3e: “In pairs, write two more words in each column” [In pairs–of what?] It is vague.

5b is street English: See you on Saturday; it should be “I will see you on Saturday”–there is no subject. You is a pronoun, the direct object is Saturday.

 Page 7: 5a: Ask other students. [The period indicates a complete sentence, but there is no noun which is required. To avoid this, there should be a colon at after “students” to indicate that a list of words or terms follows. The book is faulty in punctuation most of the time. See my book Punctuation Handbook.

Page 11: “this” and “that” are singular–not plurals: this chair, that girl, and so forth. (3a).

Page 13: Capital letters–incorrect as the list is too limited. English requires an initial capital letter for the names of rivers, oceans, lakes, planets, months of the year, and so forth (see my book Using Capitals Correctly).

Page 14: Verb phrases are not verbs. A Verb Phrase is a syntactic structure composed of the predictive elements of a sentence and its function is to provide information about the subject of the sentence. “open” is a verb (it is also a noun = an open-faced sandwich), as are “answer” “read” “work” all that are used as verbs. A verb phrase is a phrase that

  • has the syntactic role of a simple verb, and
  • is composed of a main verb and auxiliary verbs or verbal particles related syntactically to the verb.

This can be found at any website. It should be in any basic text-book, along with description, definition, and examples.

Page 15: “Where are English words from?” (This is bad English to begin with!) It did not come from Old English; that is bad history. English is actually a “contemporary” (2000 years ago) invasion from the West Germanic language that originated from the Anglo-Frisian dialects (there were “nations known as Anglia, Frisia, Saxony, etc–which gave us “Anglo-Saxon) brought to Britain by Germanic invaders from various parts of what is now northwest Germany and the Netherlands (where the Frisians ultimately settled). Initially, Old English was a diverse group of dialects, reflecting the varied origins of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England. Before the Germanic tribes invaded “England” the people (known as Picts) spoke what was known as Brit (from which we get “British”. But with various invasion of “Northmen” (Nors-men = Norwegians) and others, it settled into the current mode for the poor while the French brought in a more “civilized” language for the conquerors–thus the poor raised pigs but the nobles ate porque (pork), the poor raised cows but the rich are “boef” (beef) and so forth. (See: Ide, Arthur Frederick (1991). History of the Development of the English Language. Garland: Tangelwuld.)

It is acceptable to truncate history–but wrong to ascribe it other than it occurred–much like Texas Board of Education is rewriting USA history books to show that slavery was not bad, the Ku Klux Klan had the best interest of the people in mind, that liberals waste resources and want war [George Bush is a liberal?], etc.

On page 20, no where is the em dash explained, and students do not understand it nor how it functions.

Pages 19 and 21 attempt to use phonic characters–but they are not explained.

Page 22–there are no people “in” the photos–that would mean that the actual person resides within the photos. These are “photos of people”. (In another IB book used at San Agustin in Chiclayo, there is a page with students holding photographs and saying “this is me.” No–the photo is not the person–it is a likeness or representative/representation of the person.)

Page 25, in the illustration of an e-mail, Rosa writes: “I like music, cinema and sport.” Which sport–as sport is a singular and particular word; the correct word would have a final “s”–sports, meaning diversions that are athletic in nature and then it is a noun. As a verb it means to “amuse oneself”, “to frolic,” “gambol” or “make light of” when there is no final “s”. That is found in all dictionaries. Even in Britain (UK) it is “sports”. See: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/sports.

A conjunction is separated from the clause with a comma, not an em-dash as on page 27. See Towson University English Department at http://www.towson.edu/ows/conjunctions.htm

As for dictionaries (p. 27, c.) my students use the Macmillan, but its definition of “paragraph” is “one or more sentences.” No, never, as that is wrong, as a paragraph must have at least two sentences, with four to six being the average. Longmans, Pearson, MM and other dictionaries have so many errors that I have to waste time explaining what is correct in each situation. It is true, at times, these dictionaries put an “s” after the word to inform the student it is “slang”–or use “inf.s” for informal slang. Students, however, assume that since a word is in the dictionary it is acceptable. I have students writing “Iza gonna be a english teacher.”  They earn a grade of zero for such a mangled composition.

When my book on the IB Programme and its “teaching tools” comes out, I will be delighted for you to read about the books and why they are bad for Perú, all Third World Nations, even Spain and Europe. They are a miserly, feeble, poor means of teaching good English. Unfortunately, it has been noted that 80% of all English today is bad English. http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2010/08/11/now-we-know-how-to-fix-schools-fire-80-of-all-new-teachers/ and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Register_(linguistics)

While composing my letter on October 25, 2010, it was interesting to note that Wikipedia was “updated” on the same date—deleting all mention to the original “founders” of the programme and following IB guidelines. None of these existed at the beginning of my research. 

According to the updated website for IB, the idea of the IB Programme is given a new source: “Marie-Thérèse Maurette created the framework for what would eventually become the IB Diploma Programme in 1948 when she wrote “Is There a Way of Teaching for Peace?, a handbook for UNESCO” with the reference being Biennial Conference of IB Nordic Schools”. www.ibo.org. p. pg.7. http://www.ibo.org/dg/emeritus/speeches/documents/nordic  sep05.pdf. Retrieved 6 July 2009.

This occurred two months to the day after I made my first objection to the programme and questioned the academic credentials of the original founders Desmond Cole-Baker and his colleague Robert Leach.[6] Both men have evaporated from the internet as if they were non-beings—much as has been the case with others who fell out of favour with the powers that controlled them. The one thing that can be addressed with certainty is that the IB Programme does not tolerate nor welcome dissent, as can easily be seen on its webpage for teachers.  This website is rigidly monitored and what IB Programme officials consider to be heresy promptly deleted–as I learned when I replied to a teacher who asked for instructions on how to teach about women in Nazi Germany. The moderator told her to forget women and concentrate on the death camps, even though death camps were created and used to exterminate women workers.

Tragically, for Perú,  schools are regularly sucked into this money-making scheme not only to the detriment of true learning but to the economic impoverishment of both the students who have to work at night to pay for overpriced courses and books and/or their parents who support them. In most schools where IB has a stranglehold, a single text-book costs one week’s salary—leading many students into their first crime of photocopying the books or buying illegal copies from hawkers and other vendors. Copyright laws are openly ignored.

[1] Clark, Laura (2009-19-04). “Fears of ‘two-tier’ education systems as pupils taking rival exam to A-levels rise by 40%,” Daily Mail [UK].

[5] I taught the 7th and 8th term “pre-intermediate” students for three weeks for five hours on Saturday and another five hours on Sunday, and they were expected to be “immersed” in the language and be proficient in June 2010. Each student detailed that all previous teachers taught the class in Spanish. No student could read and understand even the briefest story or paragraph in the MM Publication for the IB Programme.  On their midterm (two weeks after the course started) at best made a failing grade of 60 points out of 100. The teachers at the Language Centres are native Peruanos who “trained” at a “language enter in Chiclayo” [language centre in Chiclayo] where vulgar (street or common) English rules.  They are not taught grammar or writing, and upon graduating accept teaching positions that require  writing, pronunciation, or analysis.  Instead of teaching English in the English language, the teachers teach primarily in Spanish as I learned when I taught at the Centro de Idiomas [Language Center] in downtown Chiclayo for the Universidad Señor de Sipan. They passed their students to the next level in order to keep a job (I failed my entire class and quit), for when students fail it is assumed to be the fault of the teacher. I was told by the assistant to the Director that the Deans did not see the value of English, even though Backus, Merck, Sika, CALSA (Fleishmann’s Yeast) Motorola, and other major industries in the Province of Lambayeque correspond in English and / or are owned by English-speaking firms.

[6] The IB Programme is too expensive for Third World nations (a text-book in Perú costs S/.165 which is approximately one-weeks salary for the unskilled laborer.  Most students buy illegal photocopies for S/.10).  The IB Programme is, essentially, a “two-tier” education system further dividing education between the rich and the poor.  The rich, who can afford private tutors, private study rooms in homes, etc. are few in number but emerge as tomorrow’s leaders.  The growth in IB is driven by private schools and sixth-form colleges (Clark, Laura (2009-19-04). “Fears of ‘two-tier’ education systems as pupils taking rival exam to A-levels rise by 40%,” Daily Mail [UK].

The sources are now found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_ Baccalaureate_Diploma_Programme last modified October 10, 2010. It is noted in http://www.tutorgig.com/ed/IB_Diploma_Programme that Writing about the genesis of the International Baccalaureate in Schools Across Frontiers, Alec Peterson credits Leach as “the original promoter of the International Baccalaureate.” At the end of the conference Unesco funded the International School Association with an additional $10,000 which was inadequate to do more than produce a few papers, or bring teachers together for meetings.

9 comments to IB is Destroying Education in Third World Nations

  • Susan  says:

    fantastic comments in great detail

  • Violet  says:

    I’m sorry, sir, but I believe that you aren’t fully correct. Truly, there are many English errors in the examples you have shown, but many things you have expressed seem incorrect as well.

    “A conjunction joins clauses; it cannot begin a sentence, end a sentence, or be a sentence, and IB ignores this rule regularly.”

    In ‘Examples of Bad English Misusing Conjunctions’, ‘so,’ ‘as,’ and ‘but’ are fine in that they begin the sentence. Conjunctions may begin sentences. However, a comma later on in their sentences would be good. It may not be so in old grammar books, but the people who write these new books are used to grammar as they know it, and I’m pretty sure conjunctions at the start of sentences feels correct.

    And for the FCE Online ‘mistake’ you found, that ‘to’ is fine as well. I’m pretty sure it’s known as a ‘prepositional adverb.’

    The letter was full of mistakes, though. 😉 Yes, I’m pretty sure that proper quotation marks are “”, but as native speaker, I use these quotation marks – well, apostrophes… (”) because I like them better. I have seen apostrophes used as quotation marks in literary works, though. However, it is best to teach students to use the proper quotation marks.

    I don’t disagree with you that ‘IB is Destroying Education in Third World Nations’, considering costs, but I wanted to point these things out to you.

    • arthuride  says:

      I have taught the English language for more than 40 years. I know of no book, save for those for mass sales and quick fixes, that allow a conjunction to begin a sentence. The IB Programme is published by Oxford University Press (officially) but most of its books are printed in China where English is at best weak.

      It is never acceptale (OK or okay is vulgar slang, a corruption of a military term that stood for zero (0) killed (k) and was incorporated into military jargon; jargon, however, is never proper English. While English is a growing and evolving language, it still has basic rules, and without these road maps to correct use, the learner fails, as I detail in my blog on Universidad Nacional Pedro Ruiz Gallo, where I offer an example of bad English (street English) by an Assistant Director of a Language Center that is almost unintelligible.

      The problem is not with the cost (IB Books, as with New Files, and other books-for-profit) which is way too high for Latin America, but it creates a class of semiliterate people. In Latin America (I live and teach in Perú), students who take a test and receive a certificate actually believe that the certificate is a degree–which it is not at any time. Thus a certificate in Cisco or Microsoft only suggests that the individual receiving the certificate is qualified to use the software–not teach it. The problem with IB is that it offers a variety of certificates (PET to FCE) and I have taught students who have these certificates (I had a student who received a 63 and was told he passed, but he cannot speak a single five word sentence correctly or coherently, as IB even suggests on line that if the student does not know the answer to stall for time by using nonwords such as “ahmm…hmmm…ah” and so forth. The problem is that today’s teachers, especially in Latin America, who are instructors in English are illiterate of the English language. They have a few words and pretend they know the language. When I read a letter from my Directora who writes in English, it takes me no less than twenty minutes to determine what she said: it is like retanslating the letter.

      Not until IB and New Files and other worthless books are gone will there be time to master the language. Long before I began to teach English, I learned the direct order of words. In Perú, I have not fund a student who can diagram a sentence, has no idea of the order of adjectives, and who runs fragments together without any knowledge of the interpretation of the words. While I left one univerity as the dean of the English program could not speak a word of English, I am fortunate to be affiliaed with a far better school that prizes accuracy over immediacy, and knowledge over “getting by”.

      Every day I receive letters from Lima (basically from people in mining or banking) asking me to help them write letters to various graduate schools (usually for MBAs) for admission and scholarship. Those who ask have a B.A., and a few a Licentiate (which is not an M.A.) but in every case their knowledge of English would rank at the eighth grade in the USA or UK.

      Perú and Latin America will remain Third World Nations, poor and enslaved economically to First World countries as long as the education standards are low, degrees are worthless (one professor claims to have a doctorate in Lambayeque–but produced no dissertation, and has never written an article or book–and cannot speak English cogently, coherently, or correctly–and he teaches English; his students repeating his poor pronunciation and word order–and they go out and repeat these inaccuracies to future generations who will become even less efficient and less qualified in the future).

    • arthuride  says:

      Please review my reply at http://arthuride.wordpress.com/2011/05/03/death-of-language-in-peru-and-the-world/ as I cannot support your theses in light of the facts as detailed. There is never a time, according to any serious scholarship, that a person can initiate a sentence with a conjunction. On punctuation, do consider my book “Punctuation Handbook” (various editions) or my “Business English: From Grammar to Writing.” Thank you for your letter. All letters are welcomed.
      –Dr. Arthur Ide

  • Kelly Mann  says:

    Great article!

  • Scott  says:

    The title of your article seems to indicate that the IB Programme itself is to blame for problems caused by poorly-trained teachers and textbooks not specifically endorsed by Cambridge or the IBDP. You fail to examine exactly how the IB falls short, instead you seem to rely on anecdotal evidence involving particular teachers that you have encountered.

    You also give the implication that the IB is only taught in English. This is not true. There are three official languages of instruction for the IBDP (Spanish, French and English). Furthermore, there is no affiliation between the IB Programme and the FCE.

    Frankly, I’m not really clear on what it is you’re teaching exactly. Are you teaching EFL classes? Are you using bootlegged copies or IB books to conduct unsanctioned IB classes? You don’t seem to have a full grasp of what the IB actually is, therefore I’m not sure how you can criticize it.

    Also, for the record, the IB Programme (and most serious contemporary lingusitic work) frowns on the Prescriptive “proper” or “good” English valuation that you make with respect to human interaction (I’m not referring to the mistakes you highlight in the bootlegged textbooks).

    Most linguists wouldn’t expect some guy on the street of Lima to have the same lexicon as a native speaker teaching for 40+ years. (But then again, they probably wouldn’t expect that teacher to be upset about something he doesn’t really understand.)

    • arthuride  says:

      I hope you will read my book on the IB Programme, but let me answer a few of your objections. (1) It tis true that the IBDP is in all three languages that you state: Spanish, French, and English, but in Peru the language studied is English. There is little call and few teachers of French, and the teachers of English are either native born and trained or American or British tourists who have little or no training in English grammar or linguistics. Here, in Peru, the FCE has books imprinted as being a part of the IBDP and that is how it is advertised at SENATI and other centers (where the director was my student, and failed miserably). The books and disks are filled with so many errors that I quit my position once I had reached page 113, as by then I had filled two tables with mistakes in grammar, etc., not to mention that on the disk the speaker (in Cockney English) was justifying illegally downloading music “since everyone does it”. Peru does not need that encouragement as the nation is so poor that most people illegally download and/or steal to survive (anywhere on any street there are vendors hawking pirated copies of DVDs, CDs, magazines, books, and so forth–many appear long before the original is released in the USA or UK.

      I have taught at both the secondary level (here in Peru, in order to gain some attention, colegios (schools) actually style themselves as “colleges”–as with Bruning College in Chiclayo–with Kindergarten being a part of the college experience. With most universities not carefully examining transcripts, I have found “College” graduates teaching in USA colleges until their woefull ignorance is self-exposed. At the university level, few students (zero in many cases) bother to buy the textbook, but instead can go to a photocopy shop and get illegal copies for about one cent a page, whereas the book costs $50 (S/150) and each of the workbooks are nearly expensive. This is a problem since the average manual worker makes less than S/.650 (soles nuevos), an amount the new president wants to be the minimum wage, and it is usually between S/.150 – $/.400 for women, and S/.400 – S/.600 for men (my gardener is far better paid: S/.800 a month plus full health and dental coverage plus S/.100 a month for retirement insurance/social security). Since birth control, abortion, and homosexuality (the three best forms of stopping unwanted pregnancies and births) are discouraged and outlawed, the birth rate is increasing and with it the size of the family (especially since most men I have known have a mistress and children by that mistress) thereby putting a strain on finances. The average work day is 10-14 hours and workers are paid by the job, not by the hour.

      Teachers are poorly trained, especially in languages. Where I teach, in the School of Interpretation and Translation, College of Languages, the master/model syllabus is written in Spanish and most other English teachers writer their instructions in Spanish and even teach English in Spanish. I am different, as my syllabi are written in English, I refuse to recognize or respond in Spanish, and mark down for vulgar (street) English on papers (such as: gonna, wanna, gotcha, and so forth) and check each paper for plagiarism before putting the earned grade complete with comments on how to write better on each paper. Most teachers, at most, only put down a numeric score and make no comments, leaving the student at a loss on how the grade was determined.

      I reject the IB Programme precisely because of your notation that the “IB Programme … fowns on the Prescriptive “proper” or “good” English valuation” as street English will never be universally understood. Mick Jaggar can sing about his “bird” and no Peruano will now it is a girl. Human interaction declines when language is not elevated–that is why in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, etc., there were Grammar Schools before traditional schools. Once the rules of grammar (which includes punctuation, spelling, capitalisation/capitalization, etc) are followed, the language can grow. I make it rule to write out a word that is spelled differently in US and UK English, and note the difference in terms. As you must know a “cooker” in the UK is a “stove” in the USA, and a “lorry” in the UK is a “truck” in the USA, etc. No one should ever assume that one language is equal to or equivalent of another form of English.

      The problem with “some guy on the street of Lima” is real–and while I teach in the province of Lambayeque where English is worse (the head of the English department can not speak, read, or write a single English word or phrase, but was politically appointed at the national university)–it is the same in the provinces. Most just do not care: they want to be paid; it is for that reason that Minister of Education in Peru, Antonio Chang, was charged with testing the teachers of Peru for basic competency. The results were shattering, as out of the 300,000 teachers, only 151 passed (marginally)–but because there were/are no replacements they continue in the classroom and the students become increasingly less prespared.

      The IB Programme in Peru is run by a woman (Elizabeth/Isabella) who sells it to the schools promising the institutes that they will receive 50% of the purchase price of each book and 50% of the receipts for each exam taken. The educational system is broke, schools are morally bankrupt (it is rare to find a library in many schools or libraries; at my university there were originally 200 books–the majority of which were illegal photocopies–until I donated 1000 books [originals]–and at TUP in Lima, the entire library (housed in one small room) is 100% photocopies and none complete. You will find libraries of modest size at USAT and Pontifical (two Roman Catholic universities), and a better library at the national Universidad San Marcos–but not elsewhere. Books are just to expensive to import (I just brought in 80 from the USA and the airmail freight (the only way to ensure delivery) cost $220 which is $20 more than I make a month. I am definitely not teaching in Peru for the money, and have not been since I migrated ten years ago as I was declared by the governments of Australia, New Zealand, etc. that I was too old to migrate (I was over 50/52) as shortly I will be 66. I continue to read, write, publish–and as far as I know, I am the only faculty member who has published more than one book (a few have printed their books as publishing houses on the order of the UK, USA, etc., do not exist in Peru).

      If Peru does not change and elevate its standards, Peru is doomed to be, forever, a Third World nation controlled by foreign interests, and education will become worse. I stand behind my article, and I will continue to teach what is right, not what is “human interaction.” Thank you for your comments.

  • susan h  says:

    Thank you! I am writing a paper on the formative history an educational movement. I choose IB but so sorry I did as this history is remarkably missing. The same paragraph keeps appearing referencing 1948 UNESCO handbook. However, I can not find it in English. Nor biographical information on Marie-Therese Maurette. This article has been so helpful!

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