There is a stigma attached to international schools: that they are too exclusive for all kids to enjoy studying in. This exclusivity is due in part of the rigorousness of the school’s curriculum and the kinds of students it attracts. But allow us to debunk a couple of myths about international schools first before delving into the advantages of sending your kids into one.
Debunking myths about international schools
Myth 1: It is only for affluent families
This is definitely unfounded. The only reason people think that international schools are only for families who can afford it is probably because of its history. You can trace the history of international schools in 1924 when expatriates saw the need to provide a “western” education for their children even if they are stationed half-way across the world. Its purpose is to help qualify their children for western universities or colleges and prepare them for employment in multinational companies. This also allowed western teachers to get teaching opportunities abroad.
Today, however, the number of international schools in Asia has grown exponentially. There are over 1,000 English-medium international schools in Asia, catering to 371, 500 students, according to a study made by the Independent Schools Council (ISC). The most surprising part of the study was finding out that the enrolees does not just come from expatriates either. The demand for international schools are mostly coming from local families.
Myth 2: The Cambridge curriculum is a bit overrated
On the contrary, the Cambridge curriculum provides an ideal educational framework for children. The curriculum focuses on an ‘understanding by design’ style of learning. This means the knowledge gained during class discussions is not just memorised but practised. To understand what ‘understanding by design’ means, let us take a look at an award winning educational framework from one of the best Indian schools in Dubai, Global Indian International School, called the ‘Nine Gems’ framework.
Without getting into too much detail, this framework values synthesis and analysis after learning about the theories and concepts in class. The process goes: theoretical knowledge is learnt and memorised; it is then applied in the form of collaborative projects, reports, or case studies; and finally, new ideas are created either to support or question the theory.
But the framework does not just stop at learning cerebral concepts, it also emphasises the need for physical improvements. Facilities and programs are created to ensure kids learn the value of sportsmanship and to realise which strengths they need to enhance and the weak spots they need to improve on.
This is the kind of framework international schools are known for, not just the Global Indian International School; and each are called by a different name (e.g. the ‘Nine Gems’ has an equivalent framework called ‘Bloom’s Taxonomy).
Advantages of enrolling your kids in an international school
Diverse learning landscape
An international school will allow your kids to collaborate with a diverse set of students, each coming from different cultural backgrounds and traditions. This will help them gain a more global perspective and develop open mindedness. Especially at a time when listening and analysing before engaging in conversations has become imperative, being in a diverse educational landscape will allow kids to develop this skill at an early age.
The opportunity to become socially responsible leaders in the future
International schools puts emphasis on community and the environment. Which is why they create programs where kids can learn how to become leaders who are conscious of how their decisions can affect their families, their workplace, the society at large, and the environment.
We all want our kids to get the best kind of education, especially now when critical thinking is needed to distinguish fact from fiction. Indeed, international schools provide the learning environment needed to cultivate skills that will make them become leaders that will change the world for the better.