George Walker was director general of the International Baccalaureate® (IB) from 1999 to December 2005.
Professor Walker's career divides into three parts: science education, school leadership and international education.
He studied chemistry at Exeter College, Oxford, UK and gained both MA and MSc degrees. After teaching science at Watford Boys' Grammar School he won a Salters Institute scholarship to carry out further research at the University of York, UK and was then appointed lecturer in the university's department of education. He has co-authored a textbook entitled Modern Physical Chemistry.
In 1973, George returned to school, first as deputy head of a state comprehensive school (Carisbrooke High School on the Isle of Wight, UK) and then, successively, as head of two state comprehensive schools in Hertfordshire, UK (The Heathcote School in Stevenage and The Cavendish School in Hemel Hempstead).
During this period he helped to create the Centre for the Study of Comprehensive Schools and his writings on the subject of comprehensive education were published under the title Comprehensive Themes in 1983. He was also extensively involved in school–industry liaison, being seconded to ICI plc in 1985 and later becoming the company’s education consultant. ICI published his study of education and wealth creation entitled Isn’t that rather commercial?
George was made an honorary fellow of the University of York and in 1987 was appointed to the UK national curriculum science working party. He was also invited to join the Headmasters' Conference as an additional member. In 1992 he was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his services to UK education.
In 1991 he was appointed director general of the International School of Geneva, Switzerland (Ecolint), the world's oldest and largest international school with four campuses and more than 3,000 students of 120 different nationalities. During this period he became involved in consultancies in several different countries including South Africa, India and Iraq and led a number of school accreditation visits. He remained in this post until he joined the IB eight years later.
George has been visiting professor of education at the University of Bath, UK since 1997 and was awarded an honorary degree of doctor of education (EdD) by the university in 2003. He was a member of the governing Council of the University of York from 2001 until 2005. He is a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute (CCMI) and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA).
His publications include a collection of articles entitled International Education in Practice (Kogan Page) of which he is co-editor, and in 2004 his revised essays and lectures on the nature of international education were published under the title To Educate the Nations 2 by Peridot press. In the same year International Education and the International Baccalaureate was added to the Fastback series published by Phi Delta Kappa in the USA.
Writing by George Walker
In 2010, George wrote a position paper as part of a series of papers commissioned by the IB and written by IB practitioners. Each paper addressed a topic or issue related to the IB’s philosophy or its educational practices.
The paper examines "the long-standing criticism that the IB is too closely associated with Western values".