International schools are a popular choice among many local parents today for various reasons. The benefits are many and may even extend beyond the classroom and last a lifetime. These include how schools are able to shape the way students think and encourage them to apply what they have learned in their community.

Here are some factors to consider when choosing an international school:

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1. Fees

A key factor for many parents in deciding on an international school is the fees charged. Depending on the school, curricula offered, if boarding is required and the duration of study, fees can be expensive. However, there are now many more schools in the country offering a range of international curricula with wide-ranging fee structures for parents to choose from.

In addition to tuition fees, other fees charged include application fee, registration or enrolment fee, school development or building fee, resource fee (for ICT, library and laboratory use) and a refundable deposit that is equivalent to a term’s tuition fee.


2. Location 

The location of the school and the commute time required also play a role in the decision-making process. How far is the school from your home or office? What will the commute be like? Is there transportation service provided by the school? A fee is charged for this as well depending on the distance between your home and the school.

Choosing a school that is too far from home may not be suitable for younger children because of the additional time needed for travel. Hence boarding is becoming an option for parents if transport is an issue. 

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3. Schedule 

The academic calendars for international schools may differ depending on the school’s location, national affiliation and cultural traditions. The school’s calendar year plays an important role in ensuring a seamless transition between schools in various countries as a discrepancy could cause your child to miss part of the academic year or to wait months before they can begin the new academic year. However, increasingly schools have become more flexible in accepting students throughout the school year.


4. Curricula Offered 

International schools vary significantly in their curricula. Many offer international curricula such as the International Baccalaureate, International Primary Curriculum and Middle Years Programme while others offer country-specific curricula such as British, American and Australian.

As each curriculum has a different structure and emphasis, parents need to understand the curricula offered in order to choose one that meets their requirements. 


5. Accreditation 

The number of international schools in the country has increased over the years. Therefore, it is important to select a school that is reputable and has received the necessary accreditations. For example, the International Baccalaureate and Cambridge Assessment International Education provide accreditation to schools that offer their curriculum. To be accredited, the schools must have the necessary infrastructure, facilities and teaching faculty among others.

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6. Teachers 

Teachers play a pivotal role in influencing a child’s learning, motivation and overall experience in school. They serve as mentors in addition to delivering academic instruction. Since they frequently interact with students, they undoubtedly become their confidants and role models. Therefore, in addition to the teachers’ technical credentials, their personalities should also be taken into account. Parents should look out for educators who are not only enthusiastic about what they do but also show genuine concern for their students’ personal growth and development.


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7. Classes

Class sizes in international schools are usually smaller which means that each child will receive adequate attention from his or her teacher. Teachers will also have a better understanding of each student’s strengths and weaknesses, and be able to craft lessons that will motivate their students to reach their potential. Students will also have more opportunities to speak up and be involved in each lesson in smaller classes.

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8. Extracurricular Activities (ECAs) Offered 

 Parents’ top priorities are frequently academics, but this shouldn’t be the sole consideration. It is crucial to encourage children’s unique skills in various fields – from sports to the arts including music and more! These activities provide an additional chance to develop crucial skills including self-control, concentration, cooperation and leadership.

Therefore, parents should also consider the extracurricular activities available while selecting a school. Do check if the school can help to develop any special skills or interests that your child may have. It is important to find a school that will also help your child develop character and improve their portfolio of additional skills and abilities which will be useful when applying for further studies later. 

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9. Facilities 

A child’s education can be significantly impacted by their physical surroundings. Classrooms should be purpose-built and equipped with the necessary tools that facilitate and enhance the teaching and learning process.  

Given that students will be spending a lot of time in school, it is crucial for the school to provide adequate spaces for students to relax; meet with other students for discussions, and other school activities.

In summary, there are many considerations when choosing the right school for your child. The factors for consideration also vary depending on the needs of each family. It may also be advisable to involve your child in the decision-making process if the child is old enough because ultimately the child will be the one studying in the school. 

This article at a glance:

Some factors to consider when choosing an international school are as follows:

  • Fees 
  • Location 
  • Schedule 
  • Curricula offered 
  • Accreditation 
  • Teachers 
  • Classes 
  • ECAs offered 
  • Facilities 

As schools differ widely, parents are encouraged to do their research carefully to find a school that is the best fit for their child.