From a handful of good schools a few decades ago, the number of good schools to which you can send your child has grown. At the top of the ladder are the international schools that have raised the bar of education to global standards.
We don’t need to tell you the importance of choosing the right school for your kids. But the specialty of the best international schools is that they are progressive, which means they celebrate each child’s uniqueness, nurture their talents, and reveal endless possibilities for their future. They believe that learning goes beyond the classroom, and a holistic education is needed to form well-rounded individuals. Along the way children discover their passions, build resilience, foster leadership abilities, and embrace diversity, all in an immersive learning environment.
In such a school, education is a transformative journey that shapes character, instils values, and equips children with vital skills for adulthood. But there are so many international schools! How do you know which one is best for your child?
Read on to find out how to choose an international school.
While choosing an international school for your child, look for a school not too far from your home, in a good area. Reducing travel time and the convenience of a school closer to your home are important factors to consider. The child is fresher in the morning and less tired when they come home. You’ll be less stressed too, if your child doesn’t have to navigate the crazy urban chaos of our cities every day. A good, safe location for a school with facilities like hospitals within easy reach, ensures your child’s safety and security, and your peace of mind!
Accreditation and Certifications of the International School
It’s crucial to investigate the boards or bodies the international school has accreditation from and see which suits your child or your budget better. These accreditations and certifications from various organisations for international schools in India give you the confidence that your child will get a quality education of global standards. Some of these organisations include :
Council of International Schools (CIS): CIS provides rigorous accreditation for international schools, validating their commitment to excellence in education, continuous improvement, and international-mindedness.
International Baccalaureate (IB): IB offers internationally recognised programs, including the Primary Years Programme (PYP), Middle Years Programme (MYP), and Diploma Programme (DP), which provide a holistic and inquiry-based approach to education.
Cambridge Assessment International Education: Cambridge qualifications, such as the Cambridge Primary, Lower Secondary, IGCSE, and A-Level examinations, are widely accepted and respected worldwide.
International School Association (ISA): ISA membership signifies a commitment to global education and networking opportunities with other international schools worldwide.
Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE): The ICSE curriculum is a comprehensive and rigorous program recognised by universities and colleges in India and abroad.
These accreditations and certifications validate the quality and adherence to international standards in education of a school, so do check them out as parents and students seeking an international school experience in India.
Curriculum Offered by the International School
While choosing an international school, evaluate the curriculum it offers. You can do this through brochures, the school website, or talking to other parents whose children go to that school. A suitable curriculum should meet your child’s needs and aspirations, cultivate critical thinking, be globally recognised, and offer future opportunities. Standard options include International Baccalaureate (IB), Cambridge International Examinations (CIE), or national curricula.
Extracurricular Activities at the International School
For overall development of your child and to build a bright, fulfilling future for them, academics cannot be the sole focus. From the first note struck on a musical instrument, the winning basket scored, to the final bow on a theatre stage, extracurricular activities ignite children’s passions, hone skills, cultivate versatile personalities and unlock hidden talents. Check if the international school you’re choosing has the standard extracurricular offerings like sports teams, arts, and music clubs, drama and debate societies, community service programs, leadership development initiatives, and cultural or language clubs. A school visit and the website will give you an understanding of what they offer.
The Culture and Values of the International School
Make sure your values and beliefs match the ethos of the school by speaking to people in the know, researching online and reading the school website’s ‘About’ section.. An international school’s culture and values profoundly influence the environment your child will study in, as a rewarding educational experience helps mould students’ character, and equips them for success in an ever-evolving and interconnected world. A nurturing and inclusive school culture fosters a sense of belonging, empathy, integrity and respect among students, teachers, and staff. Students thrive academically, socially, and emotionally by cultivating a positive school culture.
Faculty and Staff of the International School
International schools provide high-quality education because of their excellent and well-trained staff, whose valuable expertise, instructional strategies, and subject knowledge can significantly impact students’ learning outcomes. Do your research to check the quality of teachers, their qualifications and certifications, as well as their experience and proven track record. number and experience of teachers in the school. The best international schools prioritise professional development for teachers, providing them with opportunities to enhance their skills, and stay updated with evolving pedagogies. Also important is the number of teachers per class, or the school’s student-teacher ratio which should be very low to ensure better engagement, personalised instruction, and opportunities for meaningful interactions.
Facilities and Resources in the International School
International schools offer modern classrooms, libraries, science labs, sports facilities, art spaces, technology resources, outdoor areas, counselling services, and integrated technology, fostering an enriching learning environment for students. When choosing an international school, consider the quality and availability of these facilities by reading about the school, and ideally, visiting the campus.
When choosing an international school for your child, be cognizant of the fact that these schools cost more, because they offer so much more. Survey tuition fees, additional costs (registration, textbooks, transportation, etc.), financial aid options, payment plans, insurance coverage, and the value for money. Inquire about the best international schools in India. Being well-informed about these aspects will help make budget-conscious decisions while providing quality education for your children.
Admissions Process in an International School
Admissions into International Schools are very competitive. If you want your child to attend a good international school, make sure you read all the procedures and requirements of admission. While specific procedures may vary between schools, the following are commonly found in the admissions process:
- Inquiry: Express interest in the school by submitting an inquiry form or contacting the admissions office. Request information about curriculum, facilities, and admission requirements.
- Application: Complete an application form with personal details, educational backgrounds, and relevant documents.
- Assessment: Students may undergo academic tests, interviews, or observation sessions to assess their abilities and readiness.
- Interview: Attend an interview to discuss motivations, goals, and compatibility with the school’s values.
- Documentation: Provide necessary documents like birth certificates, passports, and immunisation records for verification.
- Application Fee: Pay an application fee to cover administrative costs.
- Admission Decision: The admissions office reviews the application, assessments, and interview feedback to decide based on academic performance, character, and space availability.
- Acceptance and Enrollment: Receive an acceptance letter and complete the enrollment process by submitting additional paperwork, paying fees, and signing agreements.
Adhere to specific timelines and deadlines for admissions to secure a place for the desired academic year.
Choosing the right international school is a profound responsibility as a parent. It opens doors to extraordinary opportunities, shaping your child’s future and unveiling their hidden potential. With a carefully chosen school, you provide them with a world-class education, empowering them to conquer challenges, pursue passions, and redefine what is possible.
- How do I know if an international school is the right choice for my child?
Ans. To determine if an international school is the right choice for your child:
- Research the curriculum, facilities, and extracurricular activities.
- Visit the school to observe the learning environment and interact with staff.
- Assess the qualifications and experience of the teachers.
- Consider the range of extracurricular activities available.
- Review the school’s track record and accreditation.
- Seek feedback from current or former students and parents.
- Involve your child in the decision-making process.
- Choose a school that nurtures your child’s growth and aligns with your family’s values.
- How competitive is the admissions process for international schools?
Ans. Admissions to international schools can be competitive due to limited seats and high demand. Criteria such as academics, language skills, diversity, and extracurricular involvement are considered. Competition levels may vary based on school location and reputation.
- How much does it cost to attend an international school?
Ans. The cost of attending an international school can vary depending on the school’s location, curriculum, facilities, and reputation. Additional expenses for books, uniforms, transportation, extracurricular activities, and examinations may exist. It’s important to note that fees can differ significantly between schools. Hence, contacting individual schools directly is advisable to obtain accurate and up-to-date information regarding their specific fee structure.
- Are there any financial aid or scholarship options available for international schools?
Ans. Yes, some international schools in India may offer financial aid or scholarship options to eligible students.
- What is the level of diversity and inclusivity at international schools?
Ans. International schools prioritize diversity and inclusivity, fostering a multicultural environment where students from diverse backgrounds feel valued and respected.
- Can international schools help my child learn about different cultures and languages?
Ans. Yes, international schools help children learn about different cultures and languages.
- How can I ensure that my child will receive a high-quality education at an international school?
Ans. To ensure your child receives a high-quality education at an international school, research the school’s accreditation, curriculum, teaching staff qualifications, and track record of academic achievements. Additionally, visit the school, talk to current parents and students, and consider the school’s reputation within the international education community.
- How can I prepare my child for the transition to an international school?
Ans. To prepare your child for the transition to an international school, involve them in the decision-making process, discuss the cultural differences they may encounter, and encourage them to be open-minded and adaptable.