End of the road for BCI baccalaureate program

Brockville Collegiate Institute. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

BROCKVILLE – The Upper Canada District School Board is killing off its International Baccalaureate (IB) program at Brockville Collegiate Institute.

The program, which is certified by the Geneva, Switzerland organization, has been running at BCI for 12 years.

But the school board decided tonight (Wednesday) to put an end to the program, citing “very low” enrollment and an “untenable” situation in recent years. The evaluation followed feedback from staff and an investigation by an outside consultant. The review was prompted by a request from BCI teachers.

In the last three school years, “no BCI students have achieved (or even attempted) the (full) IB Diploma.” As for getting certificates in individual IB subjects, there were fewer than a dozen students in 2016-17 and seven in 2017-18. Certificates issued peaked in 2012 with 72 certificates issued.

Recently, in some cases, courses have not run at all or split classes were cobbled together in order to reach sufficient class numbers, a board report explained.

The last class for the Grade 11 IB program started last month (September) and will continue through until graduation in June 2020 but it will take no more students. It’s projected that 27 students will receive 51 certificates this school year.

The International Baccalaureate program provides a course load for students in their late teens looking to go to university somewhere in the world. The high school courses are designed to be internationally recognized, suitable for students whose parents are world travellers for work.

The board says about $130,000 of its budget goes toward the IB program at BCI, which is not funded by the provincial government. The UCDSB would likely put those dollars toward its priority – special education programs.

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