The NTK Academic Group helps students excel in their IB studies
The International Baccalaureate (IB) has become even more popular in Hong Kong recently, and the NTK Academic Group (NTK) is ideally placed to help students excel in their IB studies. NTK, which has over 20 years of experience in the IB field, prepares students to gain places at top universities, where they can achieve further academic success.
Six students attending tutorial classes at NTK were among the 18 Hong Kong students who achieved the maximum score of 45 points in the 2016 IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) examination. Worldwide, a total of 147 students achieved the maximum score. More than 30 NTK students achieved scores of 42 or more in the 2016 IBDP exams. NTK is currently collecting the results of this year’s IBDP examination from students, and the academy is optimistic it will surpass its 2016 record.
The IB education model is recognised by universities for the holistic academic foundation it provides. David Ollerearnshaw, director of maths and science at NTK, notes a growing awareness among parents that the rigorous challenges can provide their children with the breadth and depth of knowledge they need to flourish at university. Parents also appreciate the international focus that lies at the core of the IBDP.
Ollerearnshaw notes that students transitioning from local education to the IB system frequently lack the skills to adapt to its creative, inquiry-based learning platform. Students used to the mainland method of studying face the same challenge, explains Ollerearnshaw. “The IB programme is a long journey. One of the many areas where we help students is in adjusting to inquiry-based learning, rather than fact memorisation,” he says, stressing that students are placed at the centre of the learning process at NTK. A cornerstone of the NTK method is teaching students according to their aptitude, a philosophy which was established by educational consultant Eric Ng Teng Keat, the NTK founder and managing director.
Ollerearnshaw says the academy works closely with students and parents to ensure tuition is focused on the “right” areas, and that the number of hours is matched to student needs and the desired outcome. “We help students to learn how to apply their knowledge to achieve the results that they and their families are looking for,” Ollerearnshaw says.
The academy offers diagnostic testing to establish how much tuition is needed, and to pinpoint the areas where tuition should be focused. “The aim is always to align the appropriate amount and type of tuition to the needs of the student,” says Ollerearnshaw. Delaying tuition until just before an exam can put unnecessary pressure on a student, he adds. So can failing to start tuition for the 4,000-word extended essay, a key requirement of the IBDP, in good time. “It can take several months to help a student sharpen their writing and research skills, by writing and refining drafts of their essay. They must aim to produce a piece of independent research, and demonstrate that their writing skills [are at the level] expected by examiners and universities,” notes Ollerearnshaw.
Elton Chau, general manager, NTK Academic Group, says qualified NTK teachers are the key to helping students gain the confidence and motivation needed to succeed in their IB studies. “We ensure we recruit teachers who have a passion for teaching and helping students fulfil their goals,” Chau says. “We seek teachers who are keen to share their knowledge and passion, and are not content to simply do a job,” Chau explains. To ensure that high-quality teaching is maintained across the spectrum of programmes, teachers specialise in teaching the IB Primary Years Programme (IBPYP), the IB Middle Years Programme (IBMYP), or the IBDP.
Many of NTK’s teachers hold qualifications from prestigious universities, but they are still required to complete continuous professional development training to ensure they remain at the forefront of IB best teaching practices. NTK employs more than 90 fulltime, fully qualified teachers across its main campus in Causeway Bay and its sister tutorial centre in Kowloon City, so it does not have to rely on part-time or freelance teachers. About 50 per cent of teachers are recruited from abroad, a figure which includes native English speakers. “We have eight major academic departments, including Business, Chinese, Economics, English, Humanities, Mathematics, Modern Languages and Science,” says Chau. Local teachers, particularly those recognised for their exemplary mathematics and science knowledge and their teaching abilities, are important members of the faculty, Chau adds.
NTK offers online tuition to accommodate the needs of students unable to attend classes. Special module weeks are also offered to allow students to strengthen their abilities in a specific area, such as maths or a science topic. In addition to IB programme tuition, NTK also offers services for international curricula, and standardised test preparation, including English as a foreign language (TOEFL). Academic tuition includes the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE), an English-language curriculum which prepares students for the IB and GCE A-Levels. NTK also publishes study guides, and new titles are added on a regular basis.