Future-focused schools in Asia: 21st century education in safe and supportive environments

21st century education
Source: Shattuck St.Mary's Forest City International School

In a period of tremendous change, a continuous and future-proof education has never been more essential. To prepare for the present upheavals and capitalise on the opportunities of unknown futures, K-12 schools are today driving the change. 

The best ones are laying the foundation to develop and nurture the next generation of thinkers, innovators and problem solvers through 21st century pedagogy. These schools have explored the attributes, behaviours and practices of effective students, and their methods produce individuals who are dynamic and ready to progress into college and beyond with rigour and excellence. 

A pandemic presents no major disruption to these schools — faculty and staff soldier on with new learning methods, online classrooms, virtual tours and collaboration techniques. Here are four schools in Asia that are nurturing their students to success come what may: 

Shattuck-St. Mary’s Forest City International School

A No Borders Model United Nations Virtual Conference, physically distanced story time sessions, online college counselling — Shattuck-St. Mary’s Forest City is pivoting to the new norm creatively and safely.

21st century education

Source: Shattuck St.Mary’s Forest City International School

Located in Forest City Johor, Southeast Asia’s first ecologically green city at the southern tip of Peninsular Malaysia, Shattuck-St. Mary’s Forest City first opened its doors to students in 2018.  Attracted by the American Curriculum offered in an idyllic setting, students from 13 different countries around the world have joined SSM-FC.

Malaysia, a country described by the WHO as one that is “… united in the face of a pandemic,” has carefully managed the country’s health care resources, developed a nationwide contract tracing strategy and imposed short and long term restrictions on movements to control new COVID-19 outbreaks and clusters. The school has operated continuously with face-to-face classes since September, resorting to online classes for only short periods of time. When travel restrictions ease in the future, there are opportunities to complement the SSM-FC experience with an exchange programme or progress into higher education in the US.

Shattuck-St. Mary’s Forest City is open to students between the ages of three to 18, separated into four divisions to ensure lessons are age appropriate as students mature. To learn more about the high-quality education, hands-on support and safety precautions at this co-educational boarding and day school, click here.

International School Ho Chi Minh City 

ISHCMC is Ho Chi Minh City’s first international school, with a long history of graduates  admitted to well-respected universities around the world. This IB World School focuses on ensuring each child achieves outstanding academic excellence and holistic personal development.

21st century education

Source: International School Ho Chi Minh City

Primary and secondary campuses are separate, providing students of all ages with a wholesome learning experience enabling them to flourish on campuses that meet their respective educational needs. The primary campus accepts students from ages two to 11, and the preparation for an unknown future begins early through the Primary Years Programme (PYP). The IB PYP programme focuses on the growth of the whole child, and aims to affect hearts and minds by addressing the social, physical, emotional and cultural needs of students in addition to their academic welfare.

The secondary campus is a vibrant learning community where students between the ages of  11 to 18 engage in a variety of learning experiences through the IB Middle Years Programme for grades six to 10 and the IB Diploma Programme for grades 11 to 12. 

Through their offerings in arts, sports, and technology, ISHCMC’s aim is to be widely recognised as a school that nurtures a creative and collaborative learning environment with students who embrace challenges and take action on local and global issues. To learn more about ISHCMC, click here.

British International School Phuket

This day and boarding school located in an idyllic Thai destination offers curricula for students in their early years all the way up to university preparation. BISP’s academic credibility shows through international examination results that are well above world standards. 

21st century education

Source: British International School Phuket

The primary curriculum emphasises literacy and numeracy, building a foundation for integrated work across a wide range of subjects, with particular focus on digital literacy and personal wellbeing. A number of specialists are available to young learners to learn foreign languages, physical education, and performing arts. Secondary school facilities are also used to enhance learning, particularly in STEM. 

Secondary school students are supported entirely as they embark on their IGCSE programmes, all the way until their final two years devoted to the IB Diploma. During their secondary years, students are also taught to be musically literate through mandatory lessons and to improve their voices and spoken English through external London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art examinations. To learn more about BISP, click here.

Branksome Hall Asia

At Branksome Hall Asia, new learning methods, online classrooms and collaborations are equipping students with the skills and knowledge to be future-proof and successful. Founded in 2012, it is currently Asia’s only girls’ IB Continuum School. 

21st century education

Source: Branksome Hall Asia

The school offers problem-based 21st century learning for pupils at all levels, from pre-K to Grade 12. They do this by nurturing students into developing key competencies such as critical thinking, creativity, problem solving, communication, collaboration, design thinking, computational thinking and scientific thinking. 

Although uncertainties plagued 2020, classes continued with minimal disruption at Branksome Hall Asia. Just a day after it was directed to close, the school embarked on eBranksome, which successfully enhanced the school’s existing programmes, keeping students engaged throughout. 

At Branksome Hall Asia, technology is used as a responsible tool to enhance learning and curriculum outcomes. All students receive an education in design technology to further nurture their problem solving skills, developing real-world solutions through creativity. World-class facilities, state-of-the-art learning, above average exam results, and outstanding alumni — these are the defining features of this international school empowering girls to succeed and to shape a better world. To learn more about Branksome Hall Asia, click here

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

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