Many of us face a dilemma when it comes to choosing the best international school for our children. Most of the international school websites are very flashy and provide almost the same kind of content and facilities for the visitor. All the top international school associations mentioned below focus on a bicultural and bilingual education. Countries like India, Japan, China, and in particular Hong Kong, have the best and widest range of international schools in the region catering to a large expatriate population.
According to Just International Schools, when looking for international schools parents have a difficult choice to make. Some of the renowned school bodies dealing with international schools are University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE), The British curriculum (international GSCEs and A levels), the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), Council of International Schools (CIS), International School Award (ISA) managed by the British council, East Asia Regional Council of Schools (EARCOS), Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE), European Baccalaureate and French Baccalaureate.
- The International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) is a non-profit educational foundation; it has three programmes for students aged 3 to 19. IBO was founded in Geneva, Switzerland and the three programmes include the primary years programme (PYP), the middle years programme (MYP) and the diploma programme (DP). The IBO is currently working with 3,147 schools in 140 countries to develop and offer three challenging programmes to over 906,000 students aged 3 to 19 years.
- University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) is the world’s largest provider of international qualifications for students between 14–19 year olds and is a part of the University of Cambridge. Cambridge International Education is divided into Cambridge Primary (5-11 years), Cambridge Secondary 1 (11-14 years), Cambridge Secondary 2 (14-16 years) and Cambridge Advanced (16-19 years) comprising of A and AS levels.
- The British curriculum is the United Kingdom’s international non-profit organization headquartered in USA has cultivated long-term links between the US and UK. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are home to some of the world’s top universities, students take examinations in a range of subjects at the level of General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE). The GCSE of UK is a single-subject examination set and marked by independent examination boards.
- International School Award (ISA) is an accreditation scheme for curriculum-based international work in schools. Over 10,000 International School Awards have been presented to successful schools since the scheme began in 1999, this scheme provides recognition for teachers and their schools.
- Council of International Schools (CIS) is a premium organization in the International Education, for the accreditation of schools and best practices development. CIS is a truly international education community that comprises of over 650 member schools and around 450 colleges/universities. This body has experience of K-12 education in more than 100 countries and many of its council officers are former heads and principals of international schools.
- The East Asia Regional Council of Schools (EARCOS) is an organization of 115 schools members in Eastern Asia. These schools have a total of even more than 83,000 pre-K to 12th grade students and over 9,000 teachers and administrators. EARCOS simultaneously has 120 associate members—youth organizations, etc— and over 26 individual members.
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) is an organization that acts as one of the six regional associations that accredit public and private schools, colleges and universities in the United States. The Western region covers institutions mainly in California, Hawaii, the territories of Guam, American Samoa, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Palau, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, the Pacific Basin, and East Asia, and areas of the Pacific and East Asia where American/International schools may apply to it for service.
- The Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) Australia provides diverse pathways to further study or training at university or TAFE and to employment. The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) is an independent statutory body directly responsible to the Victorian Minister for Education, serving both government and non-government school children between ages 0-18 years.
- The European Baccalaureate or EB is awarded to students who successfully managed to complete a European School. These schools are mainly attended by students whose parents work for a European Institution. Currently there are around 13 European schools; it is taken at the end of the seventh year of secondary education.
- The French Baccalaureate also known as le bac is an academic qualification which French and international students take at the end of the secondary education. It is the main diploma required to pursue university studies and much like British A-Levels or European Matura, the baccalaureate allows French and international students to receive it typically at the age of 18. Within France, there are three main types of baccalaureate degrees namely the baccalaureate general (general baccalaureate), the baccalaureate professionnel (professional baccalaureate) and the baccalaureate technologique (technological baccalaureate).
Entrance to top universities has become increasingly competitive in recent years because more and more countries can afford to send their youth abroad to be educated. These trends indicate that students need to prepare well in advance to achieve a quality place at a higher education institution. Some schools focus on a bicultural and bilingual education while others create a miniature version of native language inside the school gates. Achieving fluency in the language of study will ensure entrance to a foreign university. Developing academic ability and developing leadership, team-mindedness’s, self- management skills, communication, soft-skills are all core elements of any international curriculum.