At the beginning of the school year we host a CAS fair for Secondary students. Here, NGOs gather from around Beijing to help students understand how they can get involved with their charitable activities. We speak to Ms Prachi Gupta, Y12-13 Learning Community Leader and IB Diploma Programme Coordinator, about the importance of CAS.
Please provide some background to the CAS fair.
CAS, or Creativity, Activity, Service, is a core part of the IB Diploma.
Creativity means developing an original product, work of art or performance. Activity is a physical activity like sport, and Service is engagement with the community in response to a need.
Students must show that they have been equally involved with each of these areas over a period of 18 months and produce a portfolio that shows evidence of their CAS experiences.
The CAS fair allows students to be connected with NGOs, fulfilling the Service side of CAS. This is the 5th or 6th CAS fair now, and while it was originally opened just to IBDP students, now we open it to the whole of Secondary so that they can all get involved with local charitable activities.
What kind of organisations attended the fair this year?
We had international and China-based charities attend our fair this year, including Dew Drops, Roots & Shoots, Educating Girls of Rural China, Migrant Children’s Foundation and Roundabout. Each charity gave a presentation on their activities, and we learned about some of the remarkable and life-changing work these organisations are doing.
Among them, we heard from Educating Girls of Rural China, which has enabled many girls, with otherwise no access to formal education, to attend school and even university. They played a video about Bixia Wang, who was sponsored by EGRC to complete her undergraduate study at Shanxi Normal University in China. She went on to study in Canada with a full scholarship and finished her Doctor’s degree in Chemistry at Simon Fraser University.
How does CAS complement our academic programme?
CAS enables our students to make connections with issues of global importance and become responsible individuals, which feeds into our endeavour to raise global citizens. It also teaches other important lessons such as empathy and kindness.
I remember one student I had a few years ago who didn’t want to do CAS very much. I encouraged him to start peer mentoring and he really began to enjoy it. A few years later he sent me an email saying thank you – and that he had discovered such a love for mentoring that he was now training to become a teacher. CAS can have a lasting impact on students’ lives.
Are there any upcoming CAS activities we should know about?
On the 16th and 17th November, some of our students will be taking part in a 30 hour famine. They are seeking sponsorship for their fast which will be donated to World Vision. The project is designed to raise awareness of the worldwide hunger problem that exists, and build empathy for those children who go hungry every day. With events such as this taking place throughout the year, I think that the positive impact of CAS can be strongly felt in our school.