Rabih Saab, Regional CEO of Inspired Education highlights the achievements of The British School of Bahrain, developing strong school-community ties, and the demand for British education in the region in his interview with Gulf Insider
It’s been a busy year at The British School of Bahrain. Congratulations on the awards that BSB has won. Can you tell us what these achievements mean to the school?
The achievements mean a great deal to The British School of Bahrain as they represent the collective efforts and accomplishments of the entire school community, including the staff, students, and parents. Last year, we proudly received eight awards across various fields, ranging from student well-being and innovation in education to digital learning and environmental sustainability. These accolades truly reflect the remarkable work carried out by BSB and its community. Particularly noteworthy is the Independent School of the Year Award, which we were privileged to accept in the UK. As the only school in the region to attain this distinction, it highlights our exceptional standing within the education landscape.
What are some of your top priorities as Regional CEO for Inspired Education?
Our commitment to excellence drives everything we do at Inspired. We strive to improve educational standards in every country and school where we operate. Our philosophy centres on the individual child, emphasizing both academic success and personal growth. Recognizing that not every child is academically inclined, we also place equal importance on performing arts and sports, ensuring that each student’s unique talents are nurtured and developed. For four consecutive years, we have achieved outstanding results in A Levels and GCSEs, showcasing our dedication to academic excellence. In sports, we have celebrated victories in the under-15 football tournament and basketball tournament, while our performing arts program continues to gain recognition, with one of our students winning an international award. These collective accomplishments contribute to a well-rounded educational experience for our students. As we look ahead, we eagerly prepare for the upcoming Council of British International Schools (COBIS) awards music festival, further enriching our students’ holistic journey at Inspired.
What would you say have been your highlights stepping into the world of education?
Throughout my career, I have had the privilege of working in various industries. Starting in consumer goods, I then transitioned to luxury goods and later ventured into travel technology. Now, I find myself in the field of education, which is truly centred around the well-being and development of children. It goes beyond mere business; it is a transformative journey for the young minds entrusted to us by their parents. This aspect sets education apart from any other industry I have been a part of.
We are dedicated to the growth and success of the children we serve. This unique perspective creates a whole new paradigm. Moreover, I am proud to share that our efforts have yielded remarkable results.
What’s the most rewarding part about your work with Inspired Education?
It’s knowing that we positively impact the lives of students and their families. Guiding students in planning their future is a responsibility we hold dear. As a father myself, I understand the significance of this role. Witnessing my own children secure admissions to top universities worldwide has been incredibly rewarding. Our dedication goes beyond day-to-day efforts. From enrolling a child at the age of four or five to witnessing their graduation at 17 or 18, we are committed to their educational journey. At BSB, for instance, an impressive 91% of our students gain admission to their first-choice universities. These include esteemed institutions like Russell Group Universities, Oxbridge, and Ivy League universities. Such achievements are the culmination of years of collective efforts, ensuring that every step of the education experience with Inspire is impactful.
What are your thoughts on the increase in demand for British education in the region?
The demand for British education in this region has always been strong. While it has increased with the influx of expatriates in recent decades, British education has long been synonymous with excellence. Many UK institutions, both schools and universities, have centuries-old legacies as gold standards in education.
Parents, including British expatriates, often seek a seamless transition back home by enrolling their children in the British system. The British curriculum, with its A-levels, IB, and GCSE programs, offers a smooth pathway to higher education, which is crucial in today’s global context. Students are no longer confined to one country; they are global citizens who need access to diverse opportunities and universities.
Inspired, for instance, facilitates this transition through exchange programs among our 111 schools worldwide, benefiting over 80,000 students. Students can spend five weeks to a full academic year in schools across South Africa, Portugal, Latin America, and more. This enriching experience broadens their cultural and linguistic horizons, preparing them to become true global citizens and excel in higher education.
What are some innovative educational programmes and initiatives that BSB and other Inspired Schools in the region offer?
We consistently strive for excellence in everything we do, constantly seeking new methodologies and technology to improve the quality of lessons both inside and outside the classroom. For example, we have embraced technology to enhance the learning process. We piloted two programs, the Inspired AI program and the Inspired Metaverse and Augmented Reality program, in 26 schools worldwide, benefiting 14,000 students. The AI program uses diagnostic testing to identify students’ strengths and weaknesses, allowing us to create personalized modules and assignments to support areas where they need the most help. Real-time data is provided to teachers and parents, allowing them to track student progress. Feedback from 85% of teachers involved in the pilot showed tangible improvements in student performance. These bespoke programs are not limited to the classroom but also support students in their study pathways for homework. We have seen an impressive 8.1% increase in grades, equivalent to a full boundary grade improvement. Similarly, our augmented reality and metaverse programs have been successful in several schools worldwide, allowing students to visualize complex concepts in subjects like biology.
We believe in harnessing the power of technology to enhance in-class learning, teaching quality, homework, and communication with parents. However, we also recognise the value of traditional methods. For instance, the Beyond BSB program invites leaders from the business community to deliver lectures and lessons, offering students opportunities for exchange programs or internships. Another initiative, the BMBA program, helps senior school students explore their interests and potential career paths through interactions with real-world professionals and management programs. This way, they can make more informed decisions when pursuing higher education. At BSB, we understand the importance of the parent community.
For newcomers to Bahrain, we have a program that welcomes and integrates them into the BSB family and community, assisting them in choosing a house and settling into the new environment. This integration is vital for both students and parents, as it fosters a sense of belonging and support within the school community. We believe in bringing innovative methods, not just technology-based, to enhance learning at BSB and other inspired schools.