The Dickens: New Secondary Library at British International School

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SITUATED in Bintaro, south-west Jakarta, the British International School is set in extensive grounds providing a healthy environment where fresh air and open space abound. BIS follows the English National Curriculum (for children 3 to 14 years), I/GCSE (15 to 16 years), followed by the International Baccalaureate programme (17 to 18 years) all conveniently located on one campus. Guided by qualified, experienced and caring teachers, the emphasis is on providing students with the very best educational environment that can be comparable to top schools across the world.

“Dickens was chosen as the name for our new library because of his determination to improve educational provision for children and for his considerable contribution to English Literature”, said Peter Derby-Crook, CEO and Principal of the School. For those who do not know Dickens, here is a little of his background. Charles John Huffam Dickens is an English novelist, generally considered the greatest of the Victorian period. Dickens’ works are characterised by attacks on social evils, injustice, and hypocrisy. He had also experienced oppression in his youth, when he was forced to end school in early teens and work in a factory. Dickens’ lively good, bad, and comic characters, such as the cruel miser Scrooge, the aspiring novelist David Copperfield, or the trusting and innocent Mr. Pickwick, have fascinated generations of readers.

The Dickens project at British International School has taken two years from concept, design and approvals to construction, fit-out and the Official Opening. The architect’s design featured a double roof ‘Toraja house’ influenced building that complimented but was not architecturally inferior to the two large buildings on either side. The architect felt that the Toraja feature appropriately portrayed the building as essentially Indonesian in an international environment. Solar water heating and panels for external lighting are also included in the environmentally friendly design. The size and location of the windows reduces the heating effect of direct sunlight while allowing the maximum use of direct light.

The Dickens was officially opened by H.E Martin Hatfull, The British Ambassador to Indonesia in a colourful ceremony on the lawn in front of the Library. The School was honoured by the presence of award-winning British author Mr Hari Kunzru who read charmingly from one of his own books.

Chairman of the Trustees, Mr Brian Dallamore, Chairman of the Governors, Mr Narinder Arora and CEO and Principal, Mr Peter Derby-Cook all delivered inspiring speeches.

An annual event at BIS called ‘Book Week’ is a community event, and one which receives a higher profile every year. It starts with the concept that books, especially children’s books, have the power to change important aspects of our lives, such as people’s attitudes and opinions. Also during International School Libraries Day, BIS participated in a Global Writing Project called ‘The Write Path’ founded by Beverly Humphrey, LRC Manager at Woolwich Polytechnic School in London. This event gave 150 aspiring young writers around the world, the chance to work collaboratively with five published authors and fellow 11-12 year olds.

Stefany Anne Brown, BIS Libraries Manager said “The library was designed to create enjoyable reading moments for the students, thus, we want them to love reading and to be more knowledgeable. We believe that by creating a comfortable and fun learning atmosphere, reading habit will become their self-development hobby. And if it comes true, then we have succeeded.” (WX)

Jakarta Globe, October 24, 2009