International Schools have more than a British or American flag in their logos, or an uncredentialed foreign teacher who holds class a once a week, the world over they have a reputation; great exam results, excellent extra-curricular facilities, a cosmopolitan student body, and of course, high fees.
This list comprises two of the best international schools in Asia, and their Cambodian counterparts that offer the best balance of the above. As no official league tables or exam results tables are published on international schools, this list takes into consideration their most recent exam results compared against the relative cost of attendance (of which there is a surprisingly large margin) and to a lesser extent extra-curricular, sporting, musical and theatrical facilities. That is not to say these aren’t important, just that there is relatively little to separate the following on those counts!
In Asia, India, Japan (and its islands) China, and in particular Hong Kong, have the best and widest range of international schools in the region catering for a large expatriate population.
Tanglin Trust school, Singapore
Students must be fluent in English to be accepted in the school and the vast majority of teachers are British, giving Tanglin school a predominantly British feel. It has an excellent academic reputation and a strong emphasis on the performing arts, with well-established choirs, orchestras and concerts. Many students go on to study at leading UK universities.
Campus: Modern teaching blocks with a separate sixth form centre overlooking tropical forest. Swimming pool and spacious outdoor playing fields.
Student intake: Of the 2,000 students, about 70% are British citizens.
Curriculum: British curriculum taught in English.
Fees: Termly tuition fee from S$4275 (£1,440) to S$7775 (£2,620).
Examination results: In 2006, 95% of students gained GSCE A*-C grades and 82% A-C grades at A-level.
Dulwich College international school, China (Shanghai and Beijing)
A partner of Dulwich College in London with a traditional public school atmosphere. The vast majority of its staff are native English-speakers.
Campus: Excellent sport and music facilities.
Student intake: Over 900 students (ages 2-16) at the Shanghai school.
Curriculum: British curriculum taught in English with IB offered from September 2007. In Beijing, a Montessori curriculum is offered at pre-school. Spanish and Chinese as a second language classes are available.
Fees: Annual tuition fees from RMB135,100 (£9,000) to RMB186,500 (£12,500).
The Garden international school, Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur
The largest international school in Malaysia. It has an academic and friendly atmosphere with an excellent range of extracurricular actitvities on offer, from modern dance to judo and Mandarin classes.
Campus: Modern and well-resourced teaching blocks with excellent sport facilities.
Student intake: Students from over 58 different countries.
Fees: Tuition fees per term (three terms in total) from RM6,590 (£950) to RM12,010 (£1,740).
Examination results: In 2006, the percentage of students with A and B passes at A level was over 80%, with almost 60% obtaining grade A.
Every parent in Cambodia would love their children to go to schools which better guarantee success at home and at international level.There are maybe hundreds of schools in Cambodia which lay claim to being ‘international’.
However, true intentional curriculum schools in Phnom Pehn are charging from $3500-$6500 (Zaman, Logos, The British International School) to $15000 a year for tuition (International School of Phnom Pehn and The School at Northbridge). These schools guarantee international level [although do no guarantee a pass], and preparation for university study abroad.
One should also consider that in the case of Zaman, you have Turkish teachers whose first language is not English, and with faith-based Logos, your child will also have a liberal dose of Christian indoctrination in their education.
Such fees make attendance at these schools out of reach for most Cambodians and even foreigners with second families. And just because some can pay, this is no guarantee their children actually have the aptitudes that will have them pass or even develop. But they will be helped and not ignored.