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Top International Schools in Singapore

Discuss various schooling options for your children here.
rothhimmel
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Postby rothhimmel » Sun, 21 Aug 2011 7:58 pm

[quote="boffenl"]

>> anyway, yes, I am an unabashed LOVER of the local school system. I was lucky to begin my daughter's schooling here in Singapore very early<<

Obviously, I'm new to the board though my just-arrived profile has an advantage: I've JUST read a good bit of whats been posted on the various boards over the past few years. My reading prompts a question: I've not seen even one mention of the IEA TIMSS PIRLS school system evaluations conducted worldwide.

Why not, do you 'spose?

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 21 Aug 2011 9:29 pm

Who cares? As long as the system is producing scholastic olympiad winners in almost every subject world wide? Maybe there is something wrong with the evaluating systems. Wouldn't be the first time would it.

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Postby rothhimmel » Sun, 21 Aug 2011 11:05 pm

[quote="sundaymorningstaple"]Who cares? As long as the system is producing scholastic olympiad winners in almost every subject world wide?

>> Maybe there is something wrong with the evaluating systems. Wouldn't be the first time would it.[/quote] <<

Perhaps I misunderstand your comment so I must describe briefly what is the consistent finding of TIMSS evaluations: that Singaporean MOE system produces students consistently produce top rank .. usually in the top three places ... of all school systems worldwide.

As I understand the query-tone of the majority of posts here, it is to suss the best education for grade school students in Singapore. TIMSS appears to be a great way to validate the fact of stellar education delivered in the MOE system.

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Postby boffenl » Mon, 22 Aug 2011 8:21 am

The TIMMS is a great yardstick, but as you've obviously found on this board, most information is personal experience--NOT based on an internationally sound educational ranking system.

If that were the case, everyone would want to put their child in the local school system. I must say, the rankings certainly influenced our decision to put our child in local schools. I had friends in Germany (whose national education system just adopted the SG math system) who gushed about the SG local system. I'd say they were right--and the demographers and statisticians who conduct the TMMS research also put Singapore education right where it deserved to be--at the top of the class.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 22 Aug 2011 9:15 am

Basically, you only have two choices here, the local system or the International private schools, of which there are various and sundry types & qualities. Some are good, some aren't. At the end of the day, you need to weigh several factors into the equation. Primarily and possibly foremost, how long your are anticipating (which doesn't mean actually will though) staying here and the ages of your children. If going to be here on a short duration <5 years and the kids are already in school in your home country, then you would probably want to put them in an International School that follows the same curriculum and would not put the kids at a disadvantage. Putting kids from western school systems after the age of 7 or 8 into the local school system may find them older than most in their cohort and not able to catch up either. The younger they are, for the local school system, they better they will fare. This is not saying noone can do it, but it's a lot harder the older they get. With the International Schools, there is another factor, but this would need to be negotiated with the prospective employer, or current employer if it's an overseas transfer, and that is how much "subsidy" the company will give for each child's education. This is a considerable expense and it could be thrown into the salary or as an allowance but you need to factor a cost nearing $30K/year/child for the International Schools.

It's for this reason, I don't pay much attention to the TMMS or others as often a lot of other things come into play in making the decision.

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Postby boffenl » Mon, 22 Aug 2011 10:38 am

You're right SMS. The decision for expats on schools here must have a more flexible criteria than just international surveys and rankings. As SMS mentioned, there are multiple factors that would sway parents one way or another. Not just the best school system, but the best system for their kid.

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Postby metroguy » Mon, 22 Aug 2011 11:35 am

As someone on a local package, it'll leave a big hole in my pocket if I send my kids to International School. At the same time, the compulsory "mother tongue" and never ending kiasu enrichment programs don't help local school make a better alternative. Plus the local school fees will be higher from next year, but nowhere near what int'l schools charge.

I know my son would fail in his Mandarin "mother tongue" and it'll ultimately bring his PSLE aggregate down, unless MoE approves an exemption of mother tongue weightage.

So, we're still undecided on local or int'l school. But registering at local school anyway...just in case.
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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 22 Aug 2011 12:14 pm

metroguy, I was under the impression that "mother tongue" for foreign kids was optional now. Maybe boffenl can clear that up, as mine had no choice but that was many years ago, (and both speak reasonably fluent Mandarin today at 22 & 27).

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Postby metroguy » Mon, 22 Aug 2011 12:48 pm

Unfortunately, it's still compulsory. I checked directly with MoE last week.

It's exempted only for those students who are returning singaporeans who have been away from Singapore education system for a while or those with learning disabilities.
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Postby rothhimmel » Mon, 22 Aug 2011 1:28 pm

>> but the best system for their kid. <<

Thanks for the comments and information, boffenl and sms.

No doubt the range of parent-personality and specific life-condition criteria and differences can drive subjective notions of suitability in a school choice.

No doubt that individual parents, patriots, marketers and supporters of various nationalistic profiles can wish to either accentuate or diminish to suit individual purposes.

Indeed, the reality of TIMSS rank position can be either a disappointment or a source of pride for all who have interest sufficient to uncover the existence of the organization.

The surprise delivered to me in my read of the whopping big volume of posts here from both knowledgeable veteran contributors and their counterparts ... those in the weeds, like me, who seek accurate, valid and verifiable information ... is that I didn't see IEA or TIMSS mentioned one time.

In my estimation knowledge needs to rise from objective fact. In search for a suitable school the ability of an institution or system to deliver superior service is a foundation objective fact that must be revealed.

Of course fuzzy and warm stuff will creep in. Individuals must learn to thrive in an environment. How to know the way to attempt to shape the variables absent knowledge of foundation fact?

Here's my guess: that only the most knowledgeable ... for example, those who are active, veteran contributors to this board ... know of the existence of IEA, TIMSS and for US, the Lynch School at Boston College.

I imagine that many who are new to the board simply don't know of the IEA program. In fact I have never, not once, encountered one not engaged in education who knew of the organization.

At the time several years ago when I began to seek knowledge in this area my discovery of the existence of IEA testing was as a sunrise in a dark murky area ... indeed, an area in which the most critical of life-decisions must be made. Decisions that beg for clear, full light.

OK, its sure that private school marketers are eager to diminish the importance of IEA testing, even in the case they acknowledge the program.

After all, private schools are businesses that have a good bit of revenue at stake and the collective and individual responsibility of company employees is to make the individual businesses healthy, not inform prospective customers about the excellence of competitors in the marketplace.

Its easy for marketers to suggest accusations like “automatons with no creativity" and "science focus robots" into common dialog of a marketplace. The terms are the sort of deeply subjective fuzzy warm stuff that can freak out parents ... particularly in the circumstance that now exists worldwide ... many nationally defined universes not able to produce students that reach expectations set in their own education systems.

How, what's needed to thrive in a strange system? I have great faith in ability of children to adapt, a faith fully supported by scientific investigation and conclusion. Indeed, both anecdote and science hold children much more capable than adults.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 22 Aug 2011 2:25 pm

In that case, why bother to ask in a forum. Here you get anecdotal evidence. You want to go by ratings, suit yourself. Fuel for a Ferrari might fine, but not if you are a Deux Chevaux.

Good luck with your choice of schools. Not all have the wherewithal to choose any school they like, especially in a period of declining expat packages. :wink:

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Postby rothhimmel » Mon, 22 Aug 2011 6:41 pm

>> why bother to ask in a forum<<

Heaven knows, sms, information is where one finds it ... and threads here are chok-a-blok, thousands of words that describe various branches of thought on the issue, many of which were created by people such as yourself who've obviously spent a good bit of energy and time pondering the circumstances.

Best, at least for me, is to get as much information as can be gathered. Thanks for your replies and various writings.

By the way, foundation facts, objective knowledge in the matter prove both Deux Chaveau and Ferrari run on the same fuel ... a situation similar to people, who all perform better on top education.

Both Deux Chaveau and Ferrari are four wheels propelled by an engine. Given a few cosmetic differences, much the same object. It’d be a pity for a person to plan to be a Deux Chaveau because one didn’t know proper fuel is available, eh?

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Postby rothhimmel » Tue, 23 Aug 2011 8:15 am

>> never ending kiasu enrichment programs don't help local school make a better alternative. <<

Thanks for your note, Metroguy. Can you point me to a spot where I may see either detail or sketch of “kiasu enrichment programs?”

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Postby x9200 » Tue, 23 Aug 2011 8:19 am

rothhimmel wrote:By the way, foundation facts, objective knowledge in the matter prove both Deux Chaveau and Ferrari run on the same fuel ... a situation similar to people, who all perform better on top education.


Let me add one more dimension to your basket. I will give you an example how I think the local edu system differs from the Western one. This will be a gross simplification and an imaginary example just to illustrate certain prevailing aspects of the system(s).
The students are taught to be able to provide the result of a simple equation a x b where a and b in 0, 200. The approach:
Singapore: learn by heart all the combination
The Western system: understand the principle and act accordingly.
In any time dependent test Singapore will be the winner.

Do you see any correlation between the approach and the basic fact acknowledged practically by everybody, how stressful, exhausting and time consuming the local system is for both parents and their children? Does your ranking criteria as per Singapore case have direct translation how the students later perform at work especially in an international setting?

I really don't think it is as simple as to take a ranking and be happy unless you are a strong believer. In other words IMHO your methodology is objective but it has a fault.

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Postby metroguy » Tue, 23 Aug 2011 8:33 am

[quote="rothhimmel"]>> never ending kiasu enrichment programs don't help local school make a better alternative. <<

Thanks for your note, Metroguy. Can you point me to a spot where I may see either detail or sketch of “kiasu enrichment programs?”
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