What exactly is a directory of international schools? To answer this question satisfactorily we must first provide a definition of international schools. Basically, an international school is one that teaches a curriculum that is different from that of the local schools, with instruction that is either taught in English or bilingually in English and one other language such as French, Spanish, German, etc. Some international schools will use a curriculum that is based on either the United States or the United Kingdom model, while others will use an international curriculum such as the International Baccalaureate, or IB program.
The original intention of international schools was to provide education to English-speaking students from the U.S. and UK who were living in foreign lands, usually due to their parents’ position. More recently, however, they have become quite popular for local children whose goal is to learn English or another language and prepare themselves for studies or professional positions outside of their own country. This recent trend is perhaps most evident in India, where it is estimated that at least 20 percent of the local school children attend international schools that teach a UK curriculum. Not only is the student body of international schools multinational, so too is the faculty and administration.
What Can I Discover from a Directory of International Schools?
A directory of international schools is akin to a “yellow pages,” of international schools throughout the world, although it offers much more information. From international schools, to all-English schools to strictly American schools, a directory of international schools can supply you with all you need to know about enrollment, program requirements, curriculum and more, all catalogued in a single place. Two pieces of information you can discover from a directory of international schools are:
Curriculum Type. There are essentially three main categories of curriculum, and although all three offer students an excellent and very well-rounded education, many parents will prefer one model over the other—a decision typically based on where the student plans to attend college. The three forms of curriculum are: International curriculum, a university prep model that is accepted at universities worldwide; the United States high school curriculum, which is also college preparatory and includes preparation classes for the SAT; and the GCSE’s and “A” levels that are targeted primarily at universities in the United Kingdom. While the credits for all international school curriculums are usually entirely transferrable to universities throughout the world, some universities prefer one model over the other, which, again, is usually the basis for a parent’s decision.
School Information. A directory of international schools is also a great tool for finding information on a particular international school. For example, the British International School in Belgium, which this author located using a directory of international schools, has, among other things, “six large classrooms and a computer suite; small class sizes that average 12 students per class, a 178 day school year, and a school day that begins at 9 AM and concludes at 3:15 PM)
These are just two samples representing the type of information you can discover, but as you can see from these brief examples, a directory of international schools can be a very useful tool for finding a variety of school and curriculum information.