The growing number of international curriculum schools is allowing parents to choose an alternative kind of education, which has the potential to inculcate in their children international values that encourage the children to be innovative, creative and independent.
With education being an essential tool to discover a child’s learning potential, coupled with the aim of preparing the child for the globalization era, demand for international education is on the rise.
It goes without saying that students at an international curriculum school are molded to have a healthy international outlook.
In addition to taking on their academic pathway, they are naturally exposed to different cultures that promote open-mindedness and tolerance.
As a consequence thereof, many international curriculum schools – be it international or national plus – have built an enviable reputation for fostering such outstanding programs.
International schools like the Australian International School and Singapore International School (SIS) implement the curriculum that is modeled after the curriculum used in the respective countries with the modules required by Indonesian education regulations.
And national plus schools such as Sekolah Bina Nusantara (Binus), Sekolah Cita Buana and High/Scope have internationally recognized accreditation paired with the national curriculum.
A bilingual school is what a national plus school is often referred to. The term bilingual itself is not necessarily limited to using both English and Bahasa Indonesia in the same degree as many national plus schools use more English during class.
According to Tya Adhitama, an executive director of an acclaimed national plus school in Jakarta, “A bilingual school can also be translated as where students are inculcated in an international value while at the same time developing a sense of nationalism and identity.”
Many well-to-do parents prefer to send their children to either an international or national plus school rather than a state or private school using only national curriculum. The concern here, nevertheless, is whether programs at the international curriculum schools are really outcome based.
“It actually depends on how a school delivers the knowledge to its students,” Arif Rachman, an education expert, said, adding that, “Regardless of whether the school is national, national plus or international, the role of teachers and the teaching and learning approach are the two most significant elements in making an excellent educational product.”
Arif, however, agrees that the national education system still lacks the necessities needed in implementing standard education at many state schools nationwide in the way that Indonesia needs a curriculum model that can equip students with better competencies and stronger characters needed to cope with today’s global competition. “Generally, the programs at state schools still aim at memorizing information rather than problem solving.”
Patricia Koh, a Singaporean expert on early childhood, asserted that the role of English as an international language has hitherto been in the forefront within the education realm. The language is powerful in bridging both local and expatriate students enrolled at international curriculum schools, giving them the opportunity to experience the global melting pot.
Cultural diversity at international curriculum schools helps to develop students’ characters into being open-minded individuals.
As a result of their study environment, many students have found themselves well-adjusted to another culture when furthering their education in foreign countries such as the US, the UK and Australia.
By Aulia Rachmat, published in The Jakarta Post, August 27, 2009.