It’s natural for any parent to want the best education for their child. After all, the right foundation is crucial to meeting the demands of our current global landscape, which is proving to be more competitive than ever.
Outside of this, however, a good school does wonders to teach children important life skills that will be necessary to ensure success in their futures. Children learn how to hone their communication skills, as well as develop their critical thinking — which, in turn, sharpens their interaction and decision-making abilities, as well as boosting the more creative aspects of a child’s personality.
International schools are undeniably leaders in this regard. Through academically challenging curricula and a strong emphasis on university preparation, these schools produce students who are intelligent, resourceful, and adaptable. The best of these reside in Asia, where the success of Western educational systems merge with the values, customs, and cultural diversity of the East.
Here are four international schools in Asia that are setting students up for success in their future endeavours:
Hong Kong International School
“Educational excellence with a difference.” That’s the approach Hong Kong International School (HKIS) strives to take in preparing students for the challenges of university and beyond. As a kindergarten through grade 12 international school with an American curriculum, HKIS is dedicated to fostering an inclusive and accepting student community. Above all, it pushes its students to achieve their intellectual potential — and, given that HKIS graduates attend the top universities around the world, it has certainly succeeded on that front.
In its high school, students get the unique opportunity to take charge of their own learning. A choice-based curriculum allows students to apply their previous years of knowledge both within courses they select as well as through internships and outside experiences. It’s a proven method that develops a student’s understanding of how their classroom learning ties into the world around them — and subsequently moulds them into more versatile, adaptable citizens of the world.
An example of a unique real-world course offered at the school , is an introduction to chemical engineering through the lens of coffee. Here, high schoolers are taught to deconstruct the process of creating coffee — from its inception all the way to how it is processed. They were then encouraged to draw on their own creativity in designing their own “recipe,” applying the chemical processes of fermentation, roasting, sugar, and temperatures.
Such distinctive forms of learning are common at HKIS, where the boundaries of a traditional education are challenged everyday. This is only made possible through the school’s host of exceptional faculty members, all of whom are committed to cultivating an inspired and enriching learning environment. All the while, students are supported by state-of-the-art facilities across two world-class campuses that make the most of Hong Kong’s beautiful natural environment.
UWC South East Asia
A founding belief of the United World Colleges (UWC) movement is that successful education extends far beyond grades, and is a means to a well-lived and successful life. The 18 schools that are part of the global network use education as a driving force for good — a way to encourage today’s youth to contribute to solutions that will enable a more peaceful and sustainable future for all.
A leading institution in this alliance is UWC South East Asia (UWCSEA) in Singapore. Recently celebrating 50 years of educating for peace, UWCSEA is one of Singapore’s oldest international schools and was the first in Asia to offer the IB Diploma. Here, students aged four to 18 from over 100 nationalities learn with and from each other as they each immerse themselves in an education designed to drive forward a mission to educate responsible, compassionate, and informed global citizens.
All students benefit from a bespoke K-12 learning programme designed to keep pace with the rapidly evolving needs of tomorrow, and which maximises the opportunities created by being located in a thriving global hub. The extensive curriculum goes beyond academics to encompass activities, outdoor education, service, and personal and social education. The best part? It’s delivered by a world-class, diverse faculty who bring their perspectives to UWCSEA’s truly international education in an inclusive, holistic approach.
On top of that, UWCSEA has a boarding programme for students aged 14 to 18, offering them a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in a truly global community. “We are a big family. You’ll meet so many people and see so many faces from all around the world,” shares a High School boarder. “We do a lot together, and we’ve got a seat waiting for you.” Follow UWC South East Asia on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram.
Jerudong International School
Situated between the South China Sea and luxuriant Bruneian rainforest, Jerudong International School (JIS) is perfectly placed to take full advantage of its location to offer a holistic education to its students from little ones in Nursery to the A Level or IB Diploma.
Within the 120 acre school campus lies an award winning Outdoor Discovery Centre (ODC). This extensive 10,000 square metre area is used as an outdoor classroom for almost every subject faculty in the school. Geography students have mapped the whole area into quadrants; biologists working with botanists from the Universiti of Brunei Darussalam have an ongoing plant identification project; physics students have solar energy projects; art students enjoy sketching and painting the clean, green environment. Design and Technology students have constructed shelters and also a bridge over a stream.
In addition to curriculum subjects using the space, there is ECO-JIS, a thriving student-led co-curricular group. Students can regularly be seen within the centre planting trees, creating compost, maintaining the whole area, and also monitoring the night cameras where a host of nocturnal species have been captured!
The school has an active “House” system, with the 16 Houses or communities appropriately named after birds of Borneo. Osprey and Hawk House care for stingless beehives within the ODC, producing and selling honey to raise funds for other projects.
The ECO-JIS students have also led green and sustainability initiatives within the whole school such as collecting rainwater from the roof of the Racquet Sports Centre to water the gardens, recycling paper within the school, introducing the use of recycled toilet paper across campus, planting trees as a measure to offset the school’s carbon footprint and reducing the use of lights to conserve energy. They also coordinate involvement with local charities involved in green and sustainable initiatives within Brunei.
“It makes us proud to know that students will leave Jerudong International School, not only with their globally recognised examinations but also with a deep understanding and desire to make a difference in the world,” says JIS Principal Nicholas Sheehan. Follow JISBrunei on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram.
Raffles American School
Located in Malaysia, Raffles American School (RAS) has one goal: to promote education through inquiry-based learning. It is this that has developed the backbone of its curriculum, resulting in an outstanding and unique American education in the heart of Southeast Asia. This includes following the Common Core Standards for Math and Language Arts, Next Generation Standards for Science, and the American Education Reaches Out (AERO) standards for Social Studies.
At high school level, RAS offers students the opportunity to take a number of university-accepted qualifications, including Advanced Placement (AP) and the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP). Teaching is delivered through a Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)-developed framework, giving students an automatic American diploma upon graduation from high school. On top of this, RAS offers a strong co-curricular programme, where students can choose from a large variety of activities across sports, dance, music, and art.
At RAS, teachers work with students to shape an academic experience that is tailored to the individual. Professional development days are integrated into the school calendar, allowing the school’s host of highly qualified international teachers room for their own learning. This ensures that teachers at RAS remain versatile and innovative in delivering education in the classroom, making for a learning environment that improves day by day.
A truly unique aspect of RAS, however, is its four General Learning Outcomes (GLOs) which inform its entire educational and co-curricular programmes. This includes problem-solving/thinking skills, communication skills, character/interpersonal skills, and organisation/research skills — all of which serve as a bridge from the classroom to the real world.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International