RIP Dr. Michael Higgitt
Recent graduates of DBS as well as those who taught with him were saddened to hear that Dr. Michael A. Higgitt, the school’s first IB Coordinator, died peacefully last week after a long illness. As the man primarily responsible for the establishment and running of the school’s International Baccalaureate programme, he participated in the selection of its teachers and the admission of its first cohorts of students. He also guided the school through the process of applying to become an IB World School. He did these things while carrying out his duties as a chemistry teacher.
Dr. Higgitt’s biography is a study in the international-mindedness and broad-mindedness whose cultivation lies at the core of the IB’s mission. The younger son of a British diplomat, he was born in Baghdad and received his schooling in Aden, Wales, and England, where he excelled in cricket and rugby. After receiving his doctoral degree in chemistry in England, he worked as a researcher for eight years before embarking on a teaching career.
That career took him around the world, starting in Hong Kong, where he met his wife-to-be. After they were married they immigrated to Australia, where he was Head of Science at two schools. He resumed his international career, taking positions in Sapporo, Istanbul and Johannesburg before returning to Hong Kong.
His students are unanimous in testifying that he cared for them both as students and as individuals, chaffing and encouraging them as he taught. His philosophy of education administration he once expressed simply as ‘hire good teachers and let them get on with it.’ He thought that the best way of evaluating a teacher’s success was to watch—the students, and only secondarily the teacher. He was modest by temperament—so much so that it was possible not to recognize what a capable teacher and administrator he was. But his students didn’t make that mistake: a live classroom was oxygen to them, and to him.
Though Dr. Higgitt is no longer with us, we will cherish our memories of him.