More and more parents across Asia are considering sending their children to international schools. Why are they making the switch at this time and age?
An international school education is appealing to many parents as English is the medium of instruction and it offers globally recognised curricula and qualifications. The demand for an international school education has resulted in schools increasing or removing the quota for local student enrolment, making an international school education accessible to everyone.
If you are looking for an international school for your child, here are some tips to help you with your search.
1. Take important factors into consideration
There are several factors to consider during the school search process. These factors include the following:
- Location and transportation – Do you a prefer a school that is nearby your home for convenience? Are you willing to commute back and forth or pay extra for school transportation?
- Cost – It’s important to ask for a school’s comprehensive list of fees so you can gauge whether it falls within the yearly budget for your child’s education.
- Level of education – Can the school accept your child into a suitable level at his or her age? Majority of schools have primary and secondary school levels.
- Curricula offered – The most common curricula are the British Curriculum, Cambridge Curriculum, American Curriculum and International Baccalaureate Curriculum. Find a school with a curriculum that suits your child’s learning style the best.
- Class size – International schools usually have small class sizes in order for the teacher to give equal attention to each student.
- School facilities – Does the school have facilities that meet your expectations?
- Extracurricular activities – Does the school provide the type of extracurricular activities that you would like your child to join?
You should also find out about student support services, teacher credentials, school accreditation, history and reputation, and the school’s policy on discipline.
In addition to the above considerations, you may also need to consider the following in your research process:
2. Is your child ready?
As English is the medium of instruction at international schools, it’s important to ensure that your child has adequate English skills in terms of reading, writing, listening and speaking to keep up with the lessons. There are a number of schools that offer additional English support if your child needs it. Next, your child needs to be prepared to enter a new learning environment. International schools place an emphasis on independent learning and critical thinking. In addition, it would be useful if your child has basic knowledge of computers as international schools commonly integrate technology into their classes.
3. What are your financial commitments?
While there is a range of schools to choose from, a private education is generally more expensive compared to sending your child to a public school. An international school education is an investment and annual fees will increase as your child progresses to higher levels in school. Other than tuition fees, international schools usually charge application fees, registration fees and school development fees, among others. If you are considering boarding schools, there is a separate fee for that as well. Therefore, you need to find out all the costs involved before deciding on a school.
4. Plan school visits and attend Open Days
You can begin your research at home by visiting school websites and social media pages for basic information. A great way to learn more about the school is to plan a school visit and attend Open Days. You can see first-hand what the school has to offer, speak to the teachers and explore the school’s facilities. Some Open Days also offer fee waivers to parents who enrol their child on the spot. Take advantage of free trial classes if the school offers them as well.
The key to finding the right international school for your child is to plan early. Take your time and do as much research as possible on the options available to you. Remember that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution when it comes to choosing a school. The right school will meet your needs as well as your child’s most of the time.
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