According to a study by ISC Research, the number of international schools has increased globally in the past five years due to the spike in demand from local and expatriate families. Many local parents now are considering an international school education for their children.

Here are some reasons why an international school is the preferred choice among many parents today:


1. Global Outlook and International Recognition 

A common feature of international schools is the use of English as the main medium of instruction and communication. For parents who want their children to study abroad eventually, an international school provides them with a good start where English is concerned. International schools also offer a variety of curricula including British, American, Australian, Canadian, International Baccalaureate (IB), and Cambridge among others. These are benchmarked against international standards where the emphasis is on the learning processes as well as the outcomes. These curricula are believed to be more holistic and interactive besides encouraging the use of critical thinking to solve real-life problems. In some schools, teachers come with vast experience in the curriculum in use.

An international curriculum provides students with the skills and knowledge that are accepted across the globe and allows them to transfer seamlessly from one school to another offering the same curriculum. For instance, the Cambridge curriculum has accredited over 10,000 schools globally to provide their programmes in these schools.

Additionally, depending on the qualifications gained, students can then proceed to higher education in many English-speaking countries such as the US, the UK, Australia and Canada.


2. Exposure to Diverse Cultures 

An international school often consists of students and teachers from different countries, backgrounds, cultures and beliefs. Hence students in an international school will be exposed to diverse cultures and backgrounds, opening doors to new experiences and enabling students to learn about and accept people who are different.

Depending on the type of school and where the school is located, international schools may also integrate some cultural components into their schedule. For example, international schools in Malaysia may celebrate certain international festivals in addition to local holidays.


3. Purpose-built Facilities 

Besides adopting the latest classroom technology and management systems to enhance the teaching and learning process, many international schools are also equipped with modern infrastructure and other facilities to provide students with the best learning experience.

Some international schools also offer boarding facilities for students and provide boarders with a unique boarding school experience.


4. Small Class Size 

International schools have a lower student-to-teacher ratio. Typically, a class has on average 20 students to ensure that every student receives adequate one-on-one attention from their teachers.

Smaller class sizes enable teachers to understand the strengths and weaknesses of individual students, and their learning needs in order to curate a teaching plan to improve their performance in class. Moreover, students also have more opportunities to participate in class and build their confidence in speaking up in front of their peers. 


5. Wide Range of Activities 

International schools have a wide variety of after-school activities for their students. These activities range from sports to music, academics to arts and more. The list of activities is endless, providing opportunities for students to participate in and discover their passions.

Additionally, international schools arrange and offer students out-of-school activities such as excursions and field trips to allow them to apply their knowledge to real-world scenarios. International schools also try to involve students in issues facing the global as well as local community. For example, issues concerning sustainable development goals (SDG) have become an important focus in recent years.

These activities help to develop well-rounded individuals with additional skills and knowledge that will contribute to their portfolio when applying for places at universities.


6. More Levels of Education Offered 

Many parents are interested in enrolling their children in international schools because of the many levels of education offered from preschool right up to pre-university courses. A student may spend 13 or more years in the same school if all these levels of education are provided.

Pre-university courses such as the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP), A Level and American Advanced Placement (AP) prepare students for entry into university. International schools that offer pre-university courses may also provide university placement services to help students in their planning for higher education.


In summary, there are many reasons why an international school education is becoming increasingly popular among parents today. International curricula and recognition, purpose-built facilities, small class size, expatriate academic staff, and a wide range of co-curricular and extracurricular activities are factors that parents find attractive when considering an international school education. However, as schools offering the international curricula differ widely, it is important for parents to visit the schools and talk to various people in the schools to gain a deeper insight into the intangible aspects such as their ethos and philosophy before making a decision.


This article at a glance

An international school education is a popular choice option for many parents because of the following reasons:

  • Global outlook and international recognition 
  • Exposure to diverse cultures 
  • Purpose-built facilities 
  • Small class size 
  • Wide range of activities
  • More levels of education offered.

As schools differ widely, parents are encouraged to do their research carefully in order to make the right decision. 


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