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International School Jargon vs International Curriculum

International SchoolsStudying in international school is life-changing experience, discover why an international school could give your child world class education. It more important to learn to differentiate between jargon used by schools just to denote the world class infrastructure  as “international schools” and the real international curriculum followed by international school in India. To dig deeper read.

What is an International School?

A school that promotes international education and environment either by adopting an international curriculum such as IB (International Baccalaureate) or CIE (Cambridge International Examinations) or by following a curriculum that is different from its country of residence. A school is also classed as international if it follows a national curriculum not that of one it is located, for example, a school in India that follows curriculum of America.

These schools usually have a high fee structure and are usually attended by children of expatriates, foreign embassies, international businessmen or whose parents have transferable jobs in other countries or who want to pursue their higher education in another country.

Criteria for International Schools

In India, every year we have hundreds of schools opened with the name ’International Schools’,  so how do we really know that a school is an international school following international standards and programs? Is it only the curriculum that decides a school to be international or there are other criteria as well?

In 2009, a conference of International Association of School Librarianship (IASL) was held in Italy which highlighted a list of criteria for a school to be described as an International school. These are:

1.  A school following an International curriculum (IB, CIE etc.,)

2. A school having International accreditation (CIS, IB, North Eastern Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of schools and colleges)

3. A moving population that is higher than other national and public schools

4. Multinational and Multilingual student body.

5. Non-selective student enrollment

6. A multinational and transient teacher population

7.  Usually English or bi-lingual instructional language.

8. Transferability of student’s education across international schools.

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Similar to national schools, International schools too have to undergo the process of accreditation to ensure that the school is continuously improving and keeping up with the international standards.

There are many agencies which provide accreditation on International standards like CIS (Council of International school), ACI (Accrediting Commission International), ASIC (Accreditation Service for International Schools) etc.

Council of International School (CIS): A global, non-profit organization has defined and set policies and standards for continuous improvement of international education. Its core service areas are:

·  School Support and Evaluation

·  Educator Recruitment

·   Higher Education.

Member Schools usually have English as their primary language but some may have bilingual language. Curriculum offered is usually adapted for the international market. For example, IB (International Baccalaureate), IGCSE (International General Certification of Secondary Education) etc.

CIS provides its member schools with detailed and thorough yet supportive standards based evaluation for its continuous improvement. Schools must actively participate in this self-analysis and improvement evaluation.

A member school must write a self-study report around its school community for undergoing this process. Volunteer evaluators from other CIS member schools visit the school for a week to evaluate the school as per its self-study report and as against CIS standards. The team makes a report on the findings and finally a decision is made to award the accreditation status to school.

In order to maintain the accredited status, the school must continuously engage in evaluation process in a full cycle of  ten years for CIS-NEASC or six years cycle for Alberta Accredited International Schools; other types of international schools may have different accreditation criteria. International schools are engaged into continuous evaluation process is one thing, you may find in common in this type of schools which is assurance for high standards and quality these schools have to maintain at all time.

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Types of International Schools

All international schools do not follow the same curriculum; there are a various international schools like American, British, and Canadian etc., that are designed to serve various expatriate populations. In addition, there are international schools that follow a combination of the curriculum of various schools.

Some schools may also simply call them international because they have taken multiple approaches from various formats and provide a curriculum with a global perspective. It’s not necessary that all international schools should deliver an IB program similarly, not all schools following IB program are international. But one aim that drives all these schools is to create global citizens who have an understanding of other country’s history and culture beyond their national system.

Why to choose an International School?

1. An international school provides a greater exposure to the children as children from different nationalities and cultures work together

2. They are not exam oriented but encourage self-learning and independent thinking.

3. With a background of international studies, a child is sure to get many opportunities while opting for international universities.

4. It is a more convenient option for parents with transferable jobs internationally as it helps their children to continue from the point where they left instead of adjusting to whole new environment and curriculum from scratch.

International schools have gained the reputation for rigorous academic standards, high student achievement, innovative practice, and outstanding co-curricular programming, such schools aim to prepare learners for 21st century.