Tuesday, January 12, 2010

How to select a best international school suitable for your child

Relocating to a foreign country as an expat? Or you have come back from a foreign country where you child had international schooling and look for the same in your own country? Or simply, you want your children to have the best global education and facilities and hence looking for an international school? Here are few tips from my experience on getting admission in one of the best international schools for my children, during an on job relocation, sponsored by the company.

International schools are private schools that generally follow a curriculum that is international like IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education) or IB(International Baccalaureate).You will find international schools that admit children who are native (would be from wealthiest families who could afford the fees) with a good international mixture of students. Your child will possibly be going to school with students from all over the world and this can be a great learning experience for them in terms of being exposed to other cultures and learning how to get along with different people.

Generally, kindergarten to grade 12 are taught at the international schools and extracurricular activities are encouraged just as they probably are at your child’s current school. In most schools, English is the primary language spoken and used as a teaching medium.Not all children need the same things so it is really important to find the best fit for your child.

Here are a list of things to study and verify  with respect to the international school for your child:

1.Ask for a list of alumni from the school.

An easy question to ask and this reveals much of information about the track record and history of school.

2.How is the attrition of teachers in the school?

Find this from other parents and teachers in the school

3.Is the school accredited and licensed, with a good service experience? 

4.What calendar year, the school follow - U.S. or Indian or European school year?

5.Ask to see the academic and cultural backgrounds of  the teachers in the school?

6.What kind of standardized tests are there to gauge academic progress, in line with their native education system?

Does the school have a way to measure student achievement and is it communicated to parents? Standardized tests, within the grades, are not the end-all of instruction: You should know what your child understands and can do, beyond the taking of tests, so a portfolio including your child's work, in secondary as well as elementary and middle grades, is an important part of assessment.

7.Will transportation be provided by the school for your child? 

8.What extracurricular activities are facilitated by the school?

9.What are the classrooms like - air conditioned?

10.Check out the various facilities on the campus like gym, play area, cafeteria, etc.

Is the school physically attractive, the buildings and grounds clean, neat and well lighted? 

11.What quality of food is available in the cafeteria?

12.What kind of Parent-Teacher interaction and meetings are  there?

13.How does the school help your child adjust to his/her new environment?

14.What is the students to teacher ratio?

15.Does the school offer any options or camps for the summer?

16.Do you get to do any voluntary work or even a paid job in the school?

This will help you to spend your time effectively when you need to go and pick up your children or help you to be occupied and close to your kids. 

17. MOST importantly,do think about the possible schools and colleges your children might get admission, when you are back to your native place, after the relocation.

I had seen many colleagues and friends in India who went abroad, got their children one to three years of international education and when they came back didnot get admission in reputed schools as they couldnot pass Hindi.Finally they end up compromising on some schools which took them or ended up paying a fortune by sending them to some 'affordable' International schools available.

18.How is the school administration and management? What is their reputation?

19.How is the school fees structured? How do they justify the fees and charges? 

20.Are there high standards for your child and all students in the school? Does the school provide the support that children need to succeed? Are there Advanced Placement (AP) and/or International Baccalaureate (IB) programs offered? Is there any scholarships or assistance programs?

Teachers must be well prepared to provide that support; this includes ongoing staff development and access to the physical resources necessary to meet the needs of all students.

Best Wishes!Hope this compilation is useful.
Do write in your comments as it will help other readers too.

Looking for the best international schools in Bangalore, India? See details here:bangalore.sneham.in-top-international-igcse-ib-residential

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