If the numbers are any indication, international schools around the globe are thriving. The 2018 Global Report on the International Schools Market from ISC Research notes that there are 9,605 English-medium international schools worldwide, representing a year-over-year increase of 6.3 percent.
The ISC projects continued growth for the sector over the next decade. All top-level indicators – including number of schools, enrolment, revenue and employment – are expected to exhibit significant further growth through 2028. They add that by that point, the total number of schools worldwide is forecasted to exceed 16,000, while global enrolment will approach 10 million students and combined sector revenues will reach US$95 billion.
ISC Schools Director Richard Gaskell said the continuing demand for international education is a trend they see in a vast number of countries.
“It is fuelled by increased wealth and parents’ aspirations to prepare their children in the best possible way to study at universities overseas, and for careers that can take them around the world. There is a very high level of investment interest in international education in many countries and we expect this trend to continue as economies improve,” he was quoted saying.
International schools have grown from merely serving the children of expatriates working abroad to attract local parents seeking a unique learning environment for their children. Parents find such schools highly attractive for numerous reasons, chief among them their quality education, strong academic faculty, a wide range of extracurricular activities, in addition to serving as a platform that helps students prepare for university life and beyond. To boot, it’s never too early to start students at an international school, as many offer a pre-school syllabus to cater to young learners, before progressing to higher curriculums.
Despite the growing availability of international schools across continents, Asia has proven itself as a strong contender in the field. The region is home to several schools that have dedicated themselves to ensuring students develop and reach their full potential, academically and otherwise. Here are three international schools you may want to consider:
NORD ANGLIA INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL HONG KONG
Located in Hong Kong – Nord Anglia International School Hong Kong (NAIS HK) is a through train school which has two beautiful Early Year campuses in Tai Tam and Sai Kung, with a third campus for children from Year 2 through to Year 13 in Lam Tin. The school focuses on delivering an individualised education that helps every child to be ambitious throughout their school life. Parents looking to start their young children off on the right foot will find NAIS HK’s Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Curriculum appealing.
The ages of three to five are critical moments in ensuring students become confident and well-rounded individuals who enjoy learning. No one understands this better than NAIS HK’s educators, who seize this opportunity to ensure students become purposeful, lifelong learners. Students are taught in nurturing and inspiring learning spaces by highly qualified UK trained teachers who support every aspect of your child’s learning.
From age three, children are taught by specialist teachers for music, drama, arts, physical education and Mandarin. While some schools only teach drama and music when a child enters primary school, NAIS HK exposes pre-schoolers to the field as it’s important for the child’s self-expression and confidence. The Early Years campuses in Sai Kung and Tai Tam have specialist equipment and facilities for these subjects. Children move from Early Years (EYFS curriculum) through to Primary School Curriculum, Secondary School Curriculum/IGCSE and on to IB Diploma Programme.
The Lam Tin campus caters for students in Primary and Secondary, and benefits from collaborations with renowned institutions, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Juilliard New York and Unicef. Tuition fees at NAIS HK is also more affordable than schools in mainland China, further adding to the school’s appeal for a holistic education at an affordable rate.
SINGAPORE AMERICAN SCHOOL (SAS)
As a bastion of educational excellence, SAS has carved itself a reputation for producing well-rounded students who are ready to thrive in university and beyond. SAS Dean of Student Life (Elementary Division) Colleen Steigerwald, who has been with the school for the past 20 years, can attest to the school’s phenomenal growth in its 60-plus year existence.
“SAS is highly committed to teaching the whole child, which is done through its rigorous academic curriculum and strong social-emotional learning across the school,” said Steigerwald. This is evident in the classroom, be it the teaching or the signs around campus. Students are also encouraged to use core values such as respect, fairness and compassion, as a moral compass, while their Desired Student Learning Outcomes (DSLO), which are skills students must master for the unknown future they face, are also taught, practiced and lived.
While students may feel nervous about transitioning to a new school, Steigerwald explained that counsellors at every division meet new families for orientations and offer support during the settling in period. “Our PTA has a welcome committee to partner new families with SAS families as another layer of support. New students are assigned buddies that help them navigate their way through the school day,” she explained.
SAS is strategically located in Singapore – one of the world’s leading financial hubs, home to a large community of expats – and thus offers students an enriching international experience. Here, students build their cultural competence while learning on the school’s large, single campus that promotes a palpable community spirit.
Here, programmes prepare students for the future of work. For instance, TRi-Time and Catalyst are designed to help students work through the design process and focus on a passion area. “SAS is providing more personalised learning and our commitment to teaching the DSLO equips our students to be ‘exceptional thinkers, prepared for the future’,” Steigerwald concludes.
AOBA-JAPAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL (AJIS)
This international school in Tokyo has campuses in Meguro and Hikarigaoka, and provides a rigorous international education in a safe and supportive environment. AJIS prides itself on facilitating students in developing 21st century capacities and capabilities, reflected through the internationally recognised curriculum – the IB – which uses an inquiry-based approach to learning that trains students to develop deep conceptual understanding.
Here, students develop the literacy and numeracy skills that focus on building critical and creative thinking capacities. To continuously improve teaching and learning outcomes, AJIS partners with local and international universities to have ready access to expertise and research in the field of teaching and learning.
AJIS offers the IB Primary Years Programme, Middle Years Programme and Senior Years Programme. At the high school-level, students can choose from the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) or the A-JIS Global Leadership Diploma (GLD) programme.
The PYP caters to learners aged three to 12, designed to encourage curiosity in an integrative way. The programme balances the acquisition of essential skills and knowledge, as well as the development of conceptual understanding, demonstration of positive attitudes and taking responsible action.
High schoolers will find the GLD programme unique as it prepares students for effective participation in our increasingly global society. Students are coached and are taught to coach, helping them determine their own educational pathways. By focusing on their passions, GLD learners develop the skills and attitudes of successful, happy, leading citizens who are willing to make positive changes in the world.
*Some of the schools featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International
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