I spent a day at St Joseph’s International Institution, one of the leading International Schools in Singapore. Singapore has a large number of international schools and the indication is that this number is set to increase further – both because of the enlarging international community there, but also as they are increasingly popular amongst Singaporean families.
In addition to local students the school educates a range of students from the wider area, including Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines. Some are based there due to the financial support of their families but also a significant number are there on scholarships; there is an established culture of schools recruiting particularly gifted and able students to join them from much further afield.
Whilst the additional facilities and opportunities offer clear tangible benefits, having spoken to a number of students they also appear particularly keen on the variety and approach that comes from teachers working in these institutions. In short, less rote learning, which appears to be their interpretation of the norm of many Singaporean schools, as well as a more flexible learning style brought to the institutions by international teachers.
I worked with a class one morning as part of my visit. Their ambitions? I can’t recall each and every one, but examples included: to play international rugby, to learn to scuba dive, to be rich, to be a fashion designer, to be a charcoal artist…..