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How can you tell if a school is international?
It is fairly easy. According to the International Association of School Librarianship (IASL), there are eight requirements for a school to be a legitimate international school. This article will enumerate and explain the importance of each requirement.
The IASL is an international organization that is composed of 1600 members from 53 countries that promote effective school programs. They established defined standards and criteria to help individuals determine the legitimacy of an international school and they are as follows:
Factor #1: International transferability
A legitimate international school will make it possible for each student to freely transfer from one international school to another – may it be within the same country or from one country to another country – with absolute ease. This is possible because international schools follow a uniform curriculum that does not change and is not altered regardless of a school’s location around the globe. This is why foreign parents who work in Bangkok have their children enrolled in international schools. Such enrollment will make it possible for their child to transfer easily to other schools should they need to move to a different country with no change in levels and with all units fully credited.
Factor #2: Population
An international school has a defined student-teacher population. Such a population follows a sound ratio where teachers get to fully evaluate, monitor, and guide each student without being overwhelmed. Most international schools follow a 15:1 student-teacher ratio. This ensures that all student needs are fully attended to. International schools aim to fully educate students in a personalized, customized, dedicated, and focused manner. This is not the case in all schools. Especially national public schools that are highly populated and understaffed.
Factor #3: International curriculum
International schools use an international curriculum. This is the main thing that differentiates international schools from public schools and other private schools. International schools use the following curricula:
- US Curriculum
- English National Curriculum (British)
- International Baccalaureate (IB)
Most leading Bangkok international schools follow the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum. Some international schools offer different curricula and have students decide on the type of curriculum that they want to undertake. If a student wants to finish college at Harvard, such a student can easily undertake a US Curriculum. A child planning to enroll at Oxford University in the future can opt for an English National Curriculum.
Factor #4: Multilingual and multinational body
An international school is open to students of all nationalities. This is why international school students are globally aware and immensely cultured. This is because they get to easily interact with students of different nationalities and cultures. International students also find it easy to learn foreign languages as they interact with classmates from different countries. International schools provide a diverse community that allows students to have open mindsets and a wider view of the world and their place in it. Because of this, it is common for graduates of international schools to know more than two languages.
Factor #5: International accreditation
No international school can be said to be legitimate if they are not internationally accredited. There are currently six accreditation bodies for international schools:
- ASIC School Accreditation
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
- Council of International Schools (CIS)
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
- International School Quality Mark Accreditation
- The Council of British International Schools (COBIS)
If an international school is not accredited by any of the following, then it is safe to assume that such a school is not truly international.
Factor #6: Liberal student enrollment
International schools have a non-selective process when it comes to accepting students for enrollment. All kinds of students are free to enroll so long they pass qualifying exams and submit duly required authenticated documents. International schools do not discriminate when it comes to their student body. Students of different races, cultures, and religions are very free to be admitted. Students are evaluated based on their level and capacity to learn and not by any other criteria. International schools are non-sectarian. They do not lean towards any religion or particular political group.
Factor #7: Multinational and transient teacher population
International schools employ expert educators from different parts of the world. Students are exposed to educators of different cultures and field expertise to allow for a diverse, intensified, and global educational experience. Students get to be exposed to educators that offer different cultural and political perspectives. Such exposure allows students to enhance their critical thinking skills and effectively improves each student’s view of the world. International schools offer foreign language courses and duly employ the expertise of native speakers of such foreign languages. Through this, students get to truly be exposed to an advanced level of training when it comes to speaking foreign languages like French, German, Spanish, and Chinese.
Factor #8: English language of instruction
Last but definitely not least important, all international schools use English as their language of instruction. This is why students of international schools are highly fluent and eloquent in English. Such training allows international students to easily assimilate themselves into any global platform. International students get to master English in such a way that they can read it and write it flawlessly because they get trained day-in and day-out to think and process thoughts not just in their native language but in English as well.