From the Chief Executive Head of Schools

Today a prestigious educational community, whether it is pre-collegiate or collegiate, is judged by the highest international standards.

For ambitious students, choice and opportunity are defined in global terms.

Thus, it is with great excitement and pride that we are announcing a new educational program, which will give students unparalleled exposure to college curriculum courses, and outstanding educators access to an unprecedented professional opportunity.

BASIS International and Bilingual Schools-China is partnering with the University of California Berkeley to offer BASIS China students Berkeley courses, taught by Berkeley-trained instructors. These courses are in person at the BASIS International Schools located across China.

This program significantly enriches the BASIS students’ intellectual experience. They will be able to pursue their academic passions to the very highest levels, studying a curriculum in their chosen discipline that has been specially developed by leading Berkeley faculty. Students will earn Berkeley credit for the higher-level courses drawn directly from the Berkeley course catalogue.

The goals of the partnership between BASIS International and Bilingual Schools-China and Berkeley Global Studies align with two major objectives in support of BASIS China’s mission:

  1. Ensure that our students have a unique path to pursue their academic passions in a way that will give them a distinct advantage in the highly competitive university admissions process.
  2. Set new international standards for academic rigor and disciplined innovation in high school education.

The question of how high school education needs to respond to the expectations and challenges of the 21st century professional and academic world has been a multi-decade discussion and is ongoing. But this decades-long discussion amongst educators and policy-makers has produced a long list of proposals and experiments that have failed so far to become sufficiently concrete and credible to move beyond the familiar educational landscape of the twentieth century.

The top universities in the world have a vital responsibility to engage in this aspirational discussion and shape the future of what the finest global high school education can be. Only they have the academic resources to drive such innovation.

UC Berkeley has assumed this responsibility. The Berkeley Global/BASIS International and Bilingual Schools-China Program is already operational during the academic year 2021-2022 with hundreds of students in the inaugural year.

This partnership is truly groundbreaking in the world of education as it establishes a new learning community that redefines, both in terms of content and caliber, what may be taught and learned in middle and high school.

Dr. Q. Mark Reford
Chief Executive Head of Schools
BASIS International and Bilingual Schools-China

What is the Berkeley Global/BASIS International and Bilingual Schools China Program?

Berkeley Global/BIBSC Partnership logo

This new partnership between Berkeley Global and BASIS International and Bilingual Schools China (BIBSC) is grounded in a shared dedication to world-class academic standards in teaching and learning and aims to reimagine the future of pre-collegiate education.

“The purpose of this partnership is simple: we are going to redefine what is possible for middle and high school students to learn at the most rigorous academic level, in order to embrace the possibilities and challenges of the 21st century.”  – Dr. Q. Mark Reford, Chief Executive Head of Schools, BASIS International and Bilingual Schools China

BASIS International Schools/Berkeley Global Program

The Berkeley Global-BIBSC partnership was launched in fall 2021 and connects middle and high school students in China with opportunities to engage with UC Berkeley’s challenging curriculum and world-leading faculty, as well as develop connections across the ecosystem of the Bay Area and Silicon Valley.

BIBSC students who gain admission into Berkeley Global select a content strand and enroll in college-level courses beginning in their 8th grade year. Over successive years, they progress through increasingly advanced courses, mastering key skills in a given area through hands-on learning experiences.

By 11th and 12th grade, students are prepared for advanced academic pursuits, whether building artificial intelligence programs in a computer science course or conducting and presenting original research in a psychology course. Students can also earn UC Berkeley credits for the upper-level courses they take in 10th to 12th grades.

Current offerings include courses in entrepreneurship, computer science, and psychology content strands, with more strands to be added in subsequent years. Each strand is developed and supervised by an experienced Berkeley Academic Director with deep academic expertise in their field, allowing students to develop cutting edge knowledge and skills in an area of their choice. More information on curriculum strands can be found at the Berkeley Pre-College Studies website.

Berkeley Global Curricular Purpose

With its accelerated curriculum and inspired teaching and learning philosophy, the BIBSC Grade 8 to Grade 12 program aims for students to intellectually develop in a way that goes significantly beyond what is commonly assumed as achievable at the respective age. Starting from there, the Berkeley program aims to further enrich our top students’ learning and college admissions opportunities. The main benefits for BIBSC students who gain admission into Berkeley Global result from:

  • Having access to a curriculum designed by experts from UC Berkeley
  • Getting used to student agency needed to successfully accomplish a top US or UK university undergraduate program
  • Having extended access to Berkeley-trained teachers and Berkeley Academic Directors, inside and outside of classroom, resulting in a unique personalized learning experience

Curriculum designed by experts from Berkeley

The Berkeley program designs courses directly based on the Berkeley undergraduate curriculum. For our students, their knowledge provided by the accelerated BASIS Curriculum is thus complemented by an undergraduate curriculum from one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Each course’s curriculum is characterized by a level of specialty and complexity that allows students to holistically acquire Berkeley undergraduate program competencies, in a way that is currently unknown for even the most academically vigorous high school programs in private international school education.

The curricula of the Berkeley Program courses are designed by senior educators at UC Berkeley. Each of these Berkeley Academic Directors is a distinguished expert in his or her respective academic field of study, with wide experience in the respective industry cooperative contexts. This allows them to design a curricular program that is both, theoretically challenging and connected to the essential real-world contexts, driven by the demands of the 21st century cooperative realities.

Experiencing undergraduate level student agency and responsibility

The BIBSC teaching philosophy aspires for superior student engagement and agency. Teaching and Learning take place in an environment that welcomes risk taking and is appropriately intellectually challenging. Thoughtfully design activities lead to deepening lines of inquiry.

The Berkeley Global classroom experience pushes these aspirations beyond the horizon of even the most accelerated high schools: Individual and group-based projects and experiential learning are at the core of the student learning experience. These forms of learning demand a level of student agency and responsibility for their academic endeavors that is usually only requested once a student has entered the undergraduate program of a top US or UK university.

The Berkeley Global program in this way further enhances our students’ learning especially with the following key competencies that foster growth and ensure success in undergraduate study and beyond:

  • Critical Thinking and Analysis
  • Creativity & Innovation
  • Professional Communication
  • Collaboration & Leadership

Developing these competencies requires students to understand how what they learn in the classroom applies outside the classroom. Through experiential and project-based instruction, these courses provide students opportunities to apply skills in real-world contexts. They will not only be asked to apply and analyze based on their current understandings and knowledge (e.g. analyze data from peer-reviewed science journals), but they will also be expected to further push their higher order thinking skills by evaluating (e.g. compare and critique different peer-reviewed science journals) and creating (e.g. students as young as 8th grade develop startup companies to pitch to potential investors or use newly acquired computer programming skills to develop their own AI designs).

Classroom Model

Berkeley faculty provide class lectures through customized videos that students watch at home before class. Once in the classroom, Berkeley-trained teachers facilitate group and project-based activities, and lead in-depth discussions, allowing students to delve deeper into course concepts. As classroom time focuses on hands-on experiential learning and real-world application, this “flipped” model is best suited for the skills-based learning experience that the Berkeley Global/BIBSC partnership seeks to foster.

Berkeley Global/BASIS International and Bilingual Schools China Program

We can thus conclude that the combination of the educational environment at BIBSC and the accomplishment of Berkeley Global courses:

  • Has prepared students to engage with UC Berkeley faculty on a par with undergraduate students and develop skills that usually are not taught until upper-division undergraduate or graduate courses
  • In turn inspire compelling professional growth and leadership narratives that distinguish students from others in an increasingly competitive college application and professional environment

Berkeley Curriculum Course Offerings

Courses currently offered for BASIS International and Bilingual Schools-China students at our campuses in Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Park Lane Harbour include courses in:

  • Psychology
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Computer Science

Opportunities for Teachers

The UC Berkeley/BIBSC partnership provides qualified high school and university teachers with an unprecedented opportunity to join an experienced team of professional educators who develop and deliver Berkeley course experiences at the forefront of educational innovation, while collaborating with distinguished faculty at UC Berkeley to deliver courses onsite in China.

Berkeley Global Studies teachers will teach onsite at our campuses in Eastern and Southern China during the school year. They will cooperate with a UC Berkeley Extension primary instructor to deliver Berkeley Extension versions of undergraduate courses to students from 8th to 12th grade. Berkeley Global Studies teacher candidates will apply directly to BIBSC and will be hired by BIBSC. Teachers will also be affiliates of UC Berkeley Extension–that means a Berkeley email address, access to Google Education suite, etc. Each BIBSC school already employs about 70 experienced international teachers and is regarded as a prestigious post in international education. No knowledge of China or Chinese is required. Housing, travel, etc. are all provided by BASIS International and Bilingual Schools-China; the BIBSC compensation package is highly competitive and is considered above the industry norm for international educators.

If you are an experienced educator in the fields of Business Management and Economics, Computer Science, or Psychology we encourage you to visit our careers website for more information and to apply.

Apply for Computer Science Teacher (Berkeley Global Program)
Apply for Business/Entrepreneurship Teacher (Berkeley Global Program)
Apply for Psychology Teacher (Berkeley Global Program)

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