Leaders in Asia: Schools with inclusive environments
Image courtesy of Dwight School Seoul

“We need to give each other the space to grow, to be ourselves, to exercise our diversity. We need to give each other space so that we may both give and receive such beautiful things as ideas, openness, dignity, joy, healing and inclusion.” – Max De Pree

Every child deserves the right to a good education. Regardless of age, race, religion, nationality or socioeconomic background, education is a universal tool for empowerment, allowing young minds around the world to sharpen and shape potential, and lead crucial developments in global communities through unique and youthful perspectives.

The importance of nurturing a supportive home environment when it comes to raising children is something that’s long been known, but it’s vital for that network to extend and embellish the enriching classroom walls. For children to reach their full potential, they must feel welcomed into the school community by both their teachers and peers, while the benefits of all children – regardless of disparities – being educated in one inclusive environment, are priceless and abundant.

“One of the most important principles of inclusive education is that no two learners are alike, and so inclusive schools place great importance on creating opportunities for students to learn and be assessed in a variety of ways,” the Inclusive Schools Network notes. “Teachers in inclusive schools therefore must consider a wide range of learning modalities (visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, etc.) in designing instruction,” it adds. “Certainly this enhances the way in which educators provide [support] and [accommodation] for students with disabilities, but it also diversifies the educational experience of all students.”

Image courtesy of the International Community School Singapore

Inclusivity allows all to enjoy the unique contributions each child brings to the classroom. It lets them feel safe and involved, encouraging them to think about decisions that might influence them in their first experience of life outside the family home.

Inclusive systems are not only instrumental in bolstering quality, but also very powerful when it comes to altering discriminatory attitudes. To be inherently inclusive also means to be diverse, a principle that supports the development of healthy social relationships and interactions built on the foundations of equality.

And with Asia historically boasting the most academically-rigorous education systems in the world, where better to send your child to receive an elite and inclusive education?


Nestled on a 200-square foot cutting-edge campus in Seoul, South Korea, the Dwight School global network is present in five countries, and boasts a tradition of excellence that spans 143 years. The school’s branch in South Korea was established in 2012, and now serves as the first accredited IB World School in Seoul – an influential global hub for digital technology.

Unique to Dwight School Seoul is the Quest Programme, identifying each student’s learning styles and capabilities in order to provide a supportive environment for targeted study tailored to maximize academic potential and enhance the skills of gifted students. Delivered at the helm of innovation and technology by experienced and respected professionals, the Quest Programme falls in line with the school’s ambition to provide personalized learning, on top of a diverse community and a unique, global vision.

Image courtesy of Dwight School Seoul


As a culturally-rich community that represents more than 38 nationalities, the school undoubtedly reflects and promotes the very essence of internationalization. Here, students have access to the high-tech tools and guidance they need to mould their dreams into reality, with a Learn by Doing approach that gives students the power to design a fulfilling and thriving future. In a hyperconnected world, Dwight’s inclusive atmosphere and digital finesse gives students the foundational skills needed to succeed in 21st century life.


Founded in 1958, the Hokkaido International School (HIS) remains the only international and English-speaking school in Hokkaido to offer an American-style education. Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, this private (secular), co-educational day and boarding school welcomes students aged three, and guides them all the way through their complex high school years.

HIS wholeheartedly believes that education should represent so much more than just books. Here, the process of learning is making and applying connections between knowledge, skills and understandings through inquiry-based, collaborative and experiential instruction. From the start of the Early Years multi-age programme, children learn and explore through a series of activities designed to develop their confidence, character and expertise, all while reaping the benefits of studying in an inclusive learning environment.

In Elementary and Middle School, HIS follows the International Primary Curriculum and the International Middle Years Curriculum, specifically developed to meet the learning needs of both age groups. The school also hosts numerous academic and fun activities outside the classroom for students, parents and teachers, allowing them to make new friends and interact with students from a diverse range of age groups, countries and cultures.


ICS offers a kindergarten to Grade 12 education with an American curriculum, seeing more than 85 percent of its graduates gaining admittance to prestigious US universities. But the education process here extends well beyond the limits of traditional curriculum; as a Christian school, the ability to foster a ‘Caring Community’ is one of its core values. The goal is to help students learn to respectfully interact across age, cultural and ethnic boundaries. Faculty and staff work alongside each other to harbour an inclusive sense of community on campus, with many opportunities to engage with the greater Singapore as well.

Image courtesy of the International Community School Singapore

Students are encouraged to participate in a broad range of extra-curricular activities, ranging from bowling to taekwondo, ceramics to typography, kickboxing to percussion, and more. Not only do these activities give children the chance to make friends and become an active member of the community, they also uphold the school’s value to provide a holistic education, with highly-qualified staff on-hand to ensure no child is left out.

Throughout their ICS experience, students learn to embrace the “servant-leadership” philosophy and understand the value of investing in others, and are shaped into active community members within ICS, Singapore, and the wider world.


The Yew Chung International School of Shanghai (YCIS Shanghai) offers a holistic, global education for expatriate children aged two to age 18. Internationally-recognized as one of the most reputed schools in Shanghai, YCIS’s international curriculum – from kindergarten, to primary and secondary school (IGCSE & IB) – teaches students to be competent in both English and Chinese, as well as globally-minded to enable them to succeed in a complex and competitive future.

“Today, we have 2,500 students from around the world attending YCIS Shanghai,” Co-Principal, Andrew Mellor, notes. “And with staff gathered from over ten nations around the world, we are one of the most international schools operating in Shanghai. Your child will grow and be educated amongst other children of different nationalities, with each campus reflecting the global village we all live in today.”

Children learn from influences both at home and in school, meaning teachers adopt a similar role in school as parents do at home. Today’s world is more fast-paced, competitive and connected than it’s ever been before, and YCIS Shanghai is known to adapt accordingly, teaching children the value of sense of community as they move towards independence.

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

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