Empowering global changemakers

Being a changemaker is not an easy task. It means being able to think outside the box, always striving for excellence, and considering many perspectives, all while working effectively with others and communicating your ideas with clarity. These skills are certainly something that needs to be sharpened and honed from a young age. Fortunately, some international schools know what it takes to develop children into future leaders.

There is certainly a growing need for such schools. ISC Research reports that the number of international schools worldwide has increased by 52%. This is because international schools offer a global education that is internationally recognised. Finding an international school that offers either the IBDP or A-Levels is often seen as crucial to ensuring your child can further their studies anywhere their heart desires.

In fact, the number of IB programmes offered worldwide between 2018 and 2022 has grown by 34.2%. Most of the best universities accept IBDP or A-Level qualifications, so most international schools offer either one or both. To help you narrow down your choices, here are four international schools in Asia that empower your child to be a global changemaker:

QSI International School of Shenzhen students learn a variety of languages from a young age. Source: QSI International School of Shenzhen

QSI International School of Shenzhen

QSI International School of Shenzhen (QSI) is a registered non-profit school with a full focus on the educational experience and student needs. For over 20 years, it has been preparing the expatriate children of Shenzhen to take the Advanced Placement Programme or International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme before they go on to join international English-speaking universities around the world. Its motto is “success for all” — which can be seen in how over 1,000 students from over 35 nationalities are achieving success at all levels.

The QSI graduate stands out from the crowd. Thanks to their alma mater’s performance-based, Mastery Learning approach, they possess 21st-century learning skills, which include critical thinking, problem-solving, leadership, collaboration, cultural awareness and digital literacy. They owe these skills to the variety of programmes they undertook at QSI, such as instrumental music and Genius Hours.

But what makes QSI stand out from other schools is its language offerings. It has the largest variety of language courses at the moment. QSI teaches in English. Every child must take Chinese until age 13 (or grade eight) — and these are taught by professional, native Chinese language instructors. Spanish, French, and Korean are offered from age six (grade one). German and Japanese are offered from age eight  (grade 3). Recently, it has been extending existing programmes to younger ages as well (before all languages except for Chinese started at age eight).

These courses do more than give a child another language to speak with. They introduce them to the culture, history, and customs of the language’s countries of origin. In secondary school, students apply their enhanced language skills to analyse literature and non-literature works. These language offerings ­­are also provided as appropriate along with selected courses in national studies with a view to the needs of particular nationalities and to academic adjustment upon repatriation. Learn more about the benefits of QSI’s “Languages Other Than English” offering.

KIS International School Reignwood Park

KIS International School Reignwood Park is set to open in August 2024 on a world-class 60-acre campus, making it Bangkok’s only full International Baccalaureate (IB) day and boarding school. Boasting beautiful landscapes and modern amenities, the school offers weekly and full boarding options for children in grade four (aged nine) and above within its dedicated boarding village, which has direct access to the main campus. Boarding is undoubtedly an excellent stepping-stone for students to learn how to be independent before they head off to international universities. At KIS Reignwood Park, boarding will feel like living and learning in a home away from home that eases children into the transition to higher education.

The village features stylish and comfortable bedrooms equipped with private bathrooms and lots of storage space. Other facilities available to students include a high-tech 1,000-seat auditorium centre, an expansive indoor sports complex housing a 1,000-seat sports arena, an aquatic centre with 25m and 50m pools, a golf development academy and a fully equipped gymnastics hall. Each section of the school (Early Years, Primary, and Secondary School) has its own self-contained environment.

KIS Reignwood Park is the second campus of a school known for its exemplary IB education for the past 25 years. Evidence of its academic excellence can be seen in its consistently high IB Diploma Programme scores — an average of 34.5 points over the last five years (the world average is 30 points). The IB education at KIS Reignwood Park will ensure your child develops 21st-century skills such as research, critical thinking and communication so they may have their pick of top universities. In fact, recent graduates have had a wide array of offers from over 10 countries and more than 120 different universities and colleges each year. Click here to inquire more about KIS Reignwood Park.

Tanglin Trust School is the only school in Singapore to offer students the choice of studying IBDP or A-Levels. Source: Tanglin Trust School

Tanglin Trust School

In 2023, Tanglin Trust School was named International School of the Year 2023 by ISC Research, which supplies the most comprehensive, current and objective data and intelligence on the world’s international schools. The coveted title came with the Ethical Values Education Award, for embedding the rights of children into the school’s ethos and culture as part of UNICEF’s Rights Respecting Schools accreditation, and a nomination in the Strategic Leadership Category.

These awards recognise outstanding initiatives taking place in English-medium international schools around the world. Tanglin beat 291 entries from international schools in 61 countries – the latest showing in the strings of awards that the oldest British international school in Southeast Asia has amassed since its founding in 1925.

In a recent single inspection process by the UK Ofsted British Schools Overseas, Tanglin was awarded the highest possible grade: “outstanding.” This was the first time Tanglin had undertaken the process as one school, having previously been inspected as individual infant, junior and senior units. The rating demonstrates that the inspectors recognised the skill, care and quality of staff, and the coherence and communication between the key stages of a Tanglin education.

Such “high standards” are due to several distinctive offerings at Tanglin. It provides the English National Curriculum with an international perspective to children from 3 to 18 years, and is the only school in Singapore to offer students the choice of studying the IBDP or A-Levels. The campus is home to 2,800 students representing over 50 nationalities. From Nursery right through to Sixth Form, children have a unique learning environment that prepares them for university and beyond with confidence. Although grades aren’t the singular focus here, Tanglin students regularly do better than their peers in Singapore and globally. In 2023, the school achieved a 100% pass rate for A Levels and 100% successful achievement of the IB Diploma. Around 97% of graduates typically get into their first or second choice university, which is amongst the best in the world. To learn more about this award-winning international school, click here.

ASIJ offers various co-curricular experiences, including fine arts, athletics, and service-related clubs. Source: The American School In Japan

The American School In Japan

The American School In Japan (ASIJ) offers a world-class education that empowers inquisitive learners to make a real change in the world. International families in Tokyo bring their kids to the school for its American-style college preparatory curriculum and ability to develop your child into a global citizen. ASIJ fosters character, courage and compassion, all core values which help shape well-rounded individuals.

To ensure a holistic experience, students may choose from various co-curricular experiences, including fine arts, athletics, and service-related clubs. The school believes that these contribute to the development of a child. Cultural studies are also part of the learning programme, drawing on the rich history and colourful culture of ASIJ’s host country, Japan.

This independent, co-educational day school has outlined a Portrait of a Learner, a set of attributes that students develop and grow into to be forever learners. These attributes are mindset, global citizenship, collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking. ASIJ ensures that is programmes help students learn the necessary skills to be successful in the future, even in Advanced Placement courses.

*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International