International schools hold certain prestige in Asia — and rightly so. They offer a wider variety of curricula, diverse student bodies, cutting-edge facilities, college preparation and so forth. Networking is incomparable — as the world’s focus pivots to Asia, these international schools are where the progeny of the world’s talent will be starting a new life at.
The region’s meteoric economic growth means more schools of this kind are opening up. Many historical institutions in the West are now opening outposts here. Enrolment in private schools are increasing worldwide — a trend spurred by low- and middle-income countries. With China’s middle class set to outnumber Europeans, more are pouring money and creating demand for more private schools — parents, understandably, want the best curriculum, experiences and qualifications in the market for their children.
In the face of a pandemic, international schools — with their investments in technology and deeper pockets — have weathered the disruption better too. They are proving to be more resilient and adaptable to change. According to ISC Research, many schools have incorporated blended learning provision and introduced distance learning to produce better learning outcomes. Here are some international schools in Asia parents should consider:
Shanghai Community International School
At Shanghai Community International School (SCIS), students evolve seamlessly into critical thinkers and global citizens. Fully authorised as an International Baccalaureate (IB) Continuum World School, it offers curated programmes that allow students to develop strong academic, social and emotional characteristics — attributes that will prepare them for success in university and beyond.
As an IB Continuum World School, pupils can become holistic learners from as young as two years old with its Primary Years Programme (Nursery to Grade 5), followed by the Middle Years Programme (Grade 6 to Grade 10), and Diploma Programme (Grade 11 and Grade 12). It starts with the development of the whole child as an inquirer, both within and beyond the classroom. What then ensues is a challenging framework that spurs students to connect what they learn in classes with the real world. The final step is the “gold standard” in school-leaving examinations, preparing students for the rigours of university, careers and life. The result? Undisrupted personal development and the fostering of artistic, athletic, and global citizenship.
Modern and forward-thinking, SCIS is amongst the best schools in Asia. The highest IB score here is 45. All students progress to university — with 12% of students accepted to Top 10 universities worldwide. Graduates head to an impressive range of universities and colleges, including University of Hong Kong, Seoul National University, Waseda University, McGill University, Imperial College London, Cambridge University, The University of Oxford and University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
The school is home to 60 nationalities and 35 languages spoken by teachers, students and parents. It is spread across three campuses spanning both sides of the Huangpu river of Shanghai, including locations in Puxi and Pudong. It is also accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
“Ten consecutive years at SCIS have taught me many lifelong lessons, fostering both social and intellectual skills that are essential to my success in the years to come. But what truly sets SCIS apart is its unrivalled diversity and immersive community: the kind that creates an unforgettable high school experience,” says Class of 2014 graduate Austin Chan.
Singapore American School
As the largest single campus international school in the world, Singapore American School (SAS)’s vision is to be a world leader in education and cultivating exceptional thinkers prepared for the future.
The school offers a Chinese Immersion programme; language classes in Mandarin or Spanish for elementary students; and classes in French, Chinese, and Spanish for middle and high school students.
SAS has the largest Advanced Studies programme inclusive of Advanced Placement and Advanced Topics courses outside of the USs. The school’s testing programme includes the Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) and College Board exams. The school is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Most graduates go on to colleges and universities in the US.
SAS is located on a 36-acre campus approximately a 25-minute drive from downtown Singapore with facilities that include three separate divisions for the elementary, middle, and high schools — all of which combines advanced technology, engaged learning hubs, and a natural rain forest.
“SAS is an amazing ‘one of a kind’ school. The true measure of excellence is in the detail and their ability to address the needs of every child. This is not a school that addresses only the exceptional and problem children, they manage to reach all of the children,” said Tobin Beal.
British International School Ho Chi Minh
Established in 1997, the British International School Ho Chi Minh City (BIS HCMC) has advanced to become one of the largest international language schools in Vietnam. It welcomes students from 50 nationalities, providing a wide spectrum of balanced and differentiated curricula to meet the needs of students.
BIS HCMC offers the Early Years Foundation Stage programme. The school operates within the framework of the National Curriculum for England which is adapted to meet the needs of the international community through the use of the International Primary Curriculum (IPC).
The English National Curriculum is segmented into two: secondary level, whereby the curricula will prepare students for both the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) examinations and the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP). “BIS made me think globally. It expanded my approach to the world and its problems. Its permeating internationalism challenged my understanding and preconceptions every step along my academic discovery, moulding me into the person I am today,” said Tuan Le.
Dulwich College Seoul
Dulwich College Seoul (DCS) is home to 700 students from age three to age eighteen, with over forty different nationalities represented in their diverse student body. DCS encourages an international outlook and creates an extended community where academic ability is fostered, creativity is valued, and diversity is celebrated.
In year ten, students begin the IGCSE, which culminates in exams at the end of year eleven, and prepares students well for the two-year IBDP starting in year 12. DCS’s collaboration with selected universities and organisations from around the world provides exceptional opportunities for students to learn directly from practitioners in a range of disciplines such as Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal Northern College of Music and Berklee College of Music.
“The key word from my Dulwich experience is ‘independence’. In addition, the frequent science laboratory practices in Dulwich not only amplified my eagerness to be an organic chemist, but also gave me confidence and made me outstanding in the university laboratory classes,” said second-year student Pallas.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International