Learn. Aspire. Be. Thus is the motto that GEMS World Academy-Etoy intends to follow as it approaches its opening this September. In December 2012, Swiss Style introduced its readers to GEMS World Academy-Etoy, a new private education establishment in Rolle, Switzerland. Since then, the Dubaibased international learning provider has welcomed a new principal, Audrey Peverelli, and is opening the doors of its newly built, state of the art facilities to accommodate an initial student body of 800 students. As founding principal, Peverelli explains how her vision fits in with the GEMS learning motto.
“I am a strong believer in constructivism and in educating the ‘whole child’. I therefore adhere to philosophies of education and curriculums that are concept driven, where students are guided in constructing meaning through making connections across curriculum areas and with the real world,” said Peverelli in her open letter on the GEMS Etoy website.
Having lived on three different continents and speaking over four languages, Peverelli considers herself to be especially ‘internationally minded’. Her experience in dealing with different cultures, opening schools in France and Venezuela, will likely benefit the GEMS view on nurturing global citizens in their students.
With both Swiss and expatriate families enrolling their children in GEMS Etoy, there seems to be a desire for a rounded education in lakeside Switzerland. Despite West Switzerland housing over 100 private education and international schools, GEMS has established a reputation worldwide as a successful education provider. In 2012, GEMS released its international IB Diploma results. The pass rate is 5% above international averages (83%) and the percentage for the IB pass rate for one of its American Academies is 90%, which is 12% above the international average of 78%. GEMS IB Diploma students have been accepted into an impressive 365 universities across 24 countries, including elites such as Yale University, King’s College London, University of Bristol, and Johns Hopkins University.
GEMS Etoy intends to be one of the few schools in the Lemanic area to offer all three levels of IB, alongside Ecole International de Lausanne and Ecole International de Genève. Mainly instructing in English, GEMS Etoy will initially offer the International Baccalaureate Primary Years (PYP) and Middle Years (MYP) programs, progressively increasing enrollment to reach its anticipated first-phase capacity of 1000 students. As the school grows, the IBDP Diploma Program will also be offered as the student body increases to a maximum secondphase capacity of approximately 1800 students up to Grade 12 (age 18).
In order to accommodate an even greater number of students, GEMS Etoy will also be opening a Dyslexia centre so as to identify the needs of their students as early as possible and provide teaching and learning methods within that context. GEMS Etoy guarantees ‘regular liason’ between the teachers and the parents in order to ensure a consistent approach to dyslexic students.
Within the realm of international learning and providing as many services as realistically possible for incoming students, Peverelli addresses the fall in private schools’ overall enrollment rates by going back to GEMS World Academy’s reputable international standing in the education community: “We’re offering something different for our students. Why does anyone buy a Hermès bag or Lancel? Because they offer something different and unique. That’s what we’re doing here, and after that, the parents make their own choices depending on their children.”
Article by Joy Corthesy