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International S chooling:
Options and Challenges
Issue 21, April 2015
ASIA PACIFIC UPDATES
ASIA PACIFIC GROUP
Dear Friends In our continuing efforts to make our newsletter more valuable to our readership we are taking up yet another topic that we have not broached in detail before, Schooling. The ability to find quality schooling for the children of assignees is a continuously evolving issue, not only because of growing expatriate populations in the usual centers that encourage the rise of new schooling options, but also the trend to place assignees in secondary cities that have not previously had much requirement to provide schooling to international students
In particular, we not only want to explore the quality and availability of international schools in our various countries, but also the value and practicality of local – and usually free – public school options.
We are combining this subject with a short update on immigration for selected countries where there have been changes.
We hope you find this valuable. And if you need any more information please feel free to contact me or any of my Reloc8 partners directly for more information. You can, of course find us on our website at www.reloc8asia.com.
Ken Arbour President Reloc8 Asia Pacific Group
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Schooling is an important, and possibly the most important issue for expat families moving to new countries. Contrary to the expectations of many newcomers, schooling available to expatriates within the Reloc8 region is first rate. In this edition of our Newsletter we provide information on the main schooling options for expatriate children in every Reloc8 country. We provide lists and website addresses for all the main schools, plus information on the different curricula available. We advise whether IB, that educational vehicle which assists with global mobility for high schoolers, is or isn’t available. We also highlight other issues such as waiting lists and supplementary English support for non-native English speakers and whether attendance at local schools is possible or advisable, or indeed, the only option. Please note that this information is a general guide, please contact our local Reloc8 partners for more detailed information.
INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS A common surprise for incoming expatriates is that almost all children of international assignees go to the same
schools as locals. There are very few international schools following a curriculum other than the Australian, or where the language of tuition is other than English. For example in Sydney there is just one German, one French, and one Japanese national school where tuition is both in English and in the national language.
Increasingly the International Baccalaureate (IB) is offered by schools – although mainly in Sydney and Melbourne. In the final year or two of high school some parents opt for the IB to provide an internationally recognized university entry qualification. For more information and a directory of schools that offer the IB visit www.aaibs.org LOCAL SCHOOLS
At junior levels (up to Year 6, or around 12 years of age) many parents in the peer group of international assignees choose to send their children to government schools (co‐education) at least in the early years, as the cost is much lower (although there are fees of approximately US$5,000 per child for temporary residents in New South Wales) yet educational standards are good as there is considerable parental involvement. For the high school years this is less common.
Tuition fees at private schools range from US$10,000 to US$30,000 per annum. Most offer good on site facilities and lower student teacher ratios than the government schools. Boarding facilities are available at selected private schools at an additional fee.
Since 2010, the Australian government has made available online the results of national tests in maths, reading and grammar performed by students in years, 3, 5, 7 and 9 at a wide range of Australian schools. The relevant website allows parents to search the profiles of almost 10,000 Australian schools and encourages comparisons of schools. For further information visit www.myschool.edu.au POSSIBLE ISSUES
For kids that are not fluent in English, private schools do as a rule offer supplementary English tuition. Many private schools are not co‐educational, particularly in Sydney and school uniforms are compulsory at most of them. The school year runs from the end of January to December, so international assignees from the Northern Hemisphere are faced with a dilemma …. Whether to move their child forward by half a year, or back by half a year. It can have implications for the return to the home country. There are waiting lists for many of the best private schools, and it can be very hard for new arrivals to get children into their first choice school.
CHINA BEIJING International School of Beijing www.isb.bj.edu.cn Curriculum: IB Western Academy of Beijing www.wab.edu Curriculum: IB, WAB Dulwich College Beijing www.dulwich‐beijing.cn Curriculum: IB, IGCSE, UK Beijing City International School www.bcis.cn Curriculum: IB Lycee Francais Int’l. De Pekin www.lfip.net.cn Curriculum: French German Embassy School www.dspeking.net.cn Curriculum: German Yew Chung Int’l School of Beijing www.ycis‐bj.com Curriculum: IB, IGCSE, UK, NEC SHANGHAI British Int’l School Shanghai www.bisspuxi.com Curriculum: UK, IGCSE,IB Shanghai American school (SAS) www.saschina.org Curriculum: , IB and American Concordia Int’l School Shanghai www.concordiashanghai.org Curriculum: AP, American Yew Chung international school www.ycis‐sh.com Curriculum: UK, IGCSE,IB Shanghai Singapore Int’l school www.ssis.asia Curriculum: Singapore, ICGSE, IB Shanghai Community Int’l School www.scis‐his.or Curriculum: AP, IB, American
Almost all cities in China with a reasonable expatriate population have at least a couple of international schools. The language of instruction in most schools is English, although there are a couple of schools which offer a bilingual English-Chinese education, though the seriousness with which bilingual is addressed does vary. In addition, in Shanghai and in Beijing at least, there are schools which teach in French, German and Japanese. The German Government also funds German schools in some cities where there is a high concentration of German expats. Small International schools can also be found in 3rd Tier cities where there have already been some years of foreign investment. The standard of these schools may, however, not be comparable to that of schools in 1st and 2nd Tier cities.
If there is no international school in a smaller city, expats may choose split assignments: with the family living in a city with an international school and the assignee living near his/her place of work and commuting at the weekends or once or twice a month. Parents should note, however, that this solution may not always work. Certain schools in Shanghai have recently been under pressure from the Shanghai Education authorities to deny admission to children whose working parent has a Work and Resident Permit from a city other than Shanghai.
International schools in China are not open to all. There are restrictions, laid down by the Chinese Government, which prohibit Chinese children from attending most international schools. Not only do students have to be foreign passport holders, but usually the assignee must also hold a foreign passport. Residents of Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau (with the appropriate ID) are assessed as being foreign passport holders.
Local Chinese schools with an international division can also enrol foreign students provided there is a vacancy and the students can speak, read and write enough Chinese to cope with the classes. In Shanghai, Non‐Chinese students can only go to local private schools, not to public schools as they are not licensed to accept foreign students. Children of Chinese Nationals returning from overseas are eligible to attend Chinese public schools, but admission is very competitive and requires at a minimum residence in the neighborhood of the school.
Requirements at international schools for English proficiency vary between schools. Some schools are very strict on levels of English proficiency and others take a more flexible approach and provide supplemental English classes for non‐native English speakers. While primary schools tend to be less strict on English proficiency, high schools tend to be stricter and may test for maths ability as well as language. Some schools will also use an entrance examination to enable them to place pupils in the appropriate stream. Some schools, such as the Shanghai American School and Concordia and the International School of Beijing, require that the SSAT test must have been completed within the last year or IOWA, Stanford, CTP4, NWEA/MAP within six months for applicants to grade 5 to 10. For entering 11th or 12th Grade any one of SSAT PSAT, SAT or ACT test is required.
Waiting lists in certain grades at international schools