Education is highly valued across the world due to its many benefits. From boosting career prospects, meeting interesting people to encountering fresh and new ideas, education is largely seen as a portal to a better life.
To take advantage of these benefits, many families make a tremendous effort just to find good schools for their children. In particular, local families are increasingly preferring international schools.
While initially known as schools for expatriates’ children who had to travel to wherever their parents needed to be, international schools are now admitting a considerable number of local students.
In its Global Opportunities Report 2019, ISC Research found that four out of five students come from local families. Additionally, in recent years international school enrolment has been growing by almost 7 percent annually.
Looking towards the future, the popularity and trend of international schooling are likely to further go up. The international education market is currently valued at around US$ 46 billion and observers note that within three to four years, it could rise to over US$60 billion.
With all that in mind, what makes international schooling a major consideration in the first place?
The Appeal of International Schools
The best or top-performing international schools in Singapore, Netherlands, Spain and other countries are viewed highly and for good reason.
For one, students get a high degree of exposure from different cultures and languages. There are several benefits to this:
- It helps them understand at a relatively young age that the world is more complex and that there are multiple ways of approaching it. This can encourage critical thinking.
- Another benefit is in building strong social skills. Interacting with students from different backgrounds helps build a comfort level in adjusting to varying communication styles.
- The high degree of interaction can form strong bonds between students. Networks formed are likely to last until adulthood and make an impact in career trajectory.
Another reason, of course, is the high quality of education. Many international schools have an International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum, which is exceptionally rigorous.
IB prepares students for higher education through advanced level coursework in English, history, science, math and foreign language. All throughout, there is a big emphasis on in-depth research writing and critical thinking. IB is also a universally accepted standard in many top colleges and universities worldwide.
However, not all international schools will necessarily have IB. Regardless of the specific labels on the curriculum, what is consistent is the focus on developing globally-minded and well-rounded thinkers. Classes are still geared towards high-quality instruction and critical thinking.
A Global Perspective
International schools help prepare youth for the potential challenges they will face in an increasingly global and interconnected world.
The types of situations they will encounter in such environments will be similar (in some shape or form) to what they will find once they move to college and eventually the real world.
Ultimately, meeting a diverse set of people and being constantly engaged intellectually will help young people make better sense of their place in the world and what they can contribute to make it better.