The international school experience goes beyond gaining academic knowledge. More importantly, it’s about equipping students with the necessary skills to navigate the real world.
There’s one thing that all schools have in common: they all share a mission in developing students who are educated, independent, and able to contribute to society. In essence, every aspect of the schooling experience goes towards preparing students to take the big step into the real world after graduation.
However, the ‘real world’ as we know it is changing rapidly at an unprecedented pace. This also means that our children will be facing never-before-seen challenges when it’s time to leave school. As such, it’s more important than ever for schools to ensure their students are equipped with real-world skills and be future-ready.
We spoke to some of Singapore’s top international schools to find out how they prepare students to take on the real world.
The GUILD International College
As the job market continues to evolve, it’s become more important to teach students to be creative, take risks, and future-ready. Hence, rather than focusing on tests and grades, The GUILD International College places emphasis on developing each student’s unique strengths.
“The GUILD International College is a college of possibilities. We work hard to showcase what students and teachers can do when they are engaged in learning that is authentic. Teaching life skills can be vague, so we focus on developing the skills needed to help our students find their passion, purpose, and confidence to build a better life for themselves and their community,” Jayne Nadarajoo, Founding Director of The GUILD shared.
The college pays close attention to the way its students learn. Its community is also passionate about helping students transition to independent living and being job-ready. “Instead of focusing on getting children ready for school, we focus on getting them ready for life. To do that, we need to equip students with skills to meet the needs of this world. We’re confident that this is the gateway to each student being the best that they can be, as well as being a valued member in the real world.”
International French School (Singapore)
The French education system places significant importance on equipping students with an extensive set of “real world skills”. These skills include language proficiency and communication, critical thinking, math and science competence, cultural literacy, digital literacy, research and information literacy, global awareness, as well as citizenship and ethics. Students are equipped with these at International French School (Singapore), as the school follows a comprehensive educational approach that goes beyond traditional academics. Through emphasis on these skills, IFS ensures that its students grow into academically proficient, well-rounded individuals who are able to excel in diverse contexts and make meaningful contributions to the world.
In line with the French education system, IFS encourages students to participate in extracurricular activities (ECAs) that align with their interests; while promoting skills like leadership, teamwork, and creativity. For instance, student-led independent research projects fosters curiosity and willingness to tackle challenges. Strong communication skills, acquired through activities such as public speaking and debates, are crucial for post-high school success. Digital literacy and technology are integrated into IFS’ curriculum to prepare students for the modern digital landscape. It also has a University Guidance Program that assists students in identifying their career goals, selecting suitable universities and programmes, as well as preparing application materials. On top of that, internship opportunities are offered to provide students with real-world experience and skills development. But that’s not all – mental health and wellbeing of students are prioritised at IFS too. Its Secondary School counselling programme focuses on student wellbeing and offering support in all aspects of their school life. Counsellors address students’ unique needs, promote a healthy lifestyle and a sense of purpose beyond education, ultimately preparing them for life.
Sir Manasseh Meyer International School
For Sir Manasseh Meyer International School (SMMIS), preparing students for the real world means giving them future ready skills as well as a safe and secure start in life. The school believes it’s essential to help young people develop emotional and social resilience, teach them language and positive communication skills, as well as technology and STEAM to make them future-ready. The ability to communicate clearly and respectfully is a key skill; whereas knowledge in technology and STEAM teaches students to navigate the increasingly digitalised world safely and ethically. But most importantly, social and emotional resilience ensures students can take care of their own wellbeing and mental health.
SMMIS incorporates all these in its academic curriculum and co-curricular offerings. Students are taught future-ready skills and resilience through Personal, Social and Health Education lessons, Drama and Public Speaking classes, Makerspace and IT classes, and more. The wide array of After-School Activities provided, as well as local and overseas field trips also prepare students for a life beyond school. Teaching staff are trained to use Artificial Intelligence in the classroom ethically to equip students with technology skill sets. In line with its commitment to Tikkun Olam (repairing the world), SMMIS places strong emphasis on community service through Service Learning and its National Youth Achievement Award. Students gain lifelong skills and empathy by volunteering in the Student Council and running House activities.
Overseas Family School
The curriculum and programmes at Overseas Family School (OFS) are intentionally designed to strengthen 21st century competencies among its students. This includes teaching students critical and inventive thinking, as well as values like empathy and resilience. All these are integrated into the curriculum from kindergarten onwards.
Academic-wise, the IB curriculum at OFS is delivered with a strong focus on transferable skills like research, communication, critical thinking, collaboration, and reflection. For example: OFS is one of the few schools that provide students with the opportunity to conduct their Extended Essay in World Studies. This encourages students to investigate challenging global issues that cannot be adequately investigated within the confines of a single subject. Unique programmes such as chess and coding are included as a compulsory part of OFS’ Elementary School curriculum. These programmes teach students to think strategically and boost their problem-solving skills. Aside from these, OFS’ Model United Nations and extensive Mother Tongue Programs nurtures an appreciation for multiculturalism and multilingualism – as essential aspect in our interconnected world.
Students at OFS also have the opportunity to engage in a wide array of extracurricular activities. This facilitates the Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) component of the IB, as students can participate in activities like the Red Cross, The Ocean Project, and Riding for the Disabled. Students can also join special interest clubs like Law Academy, Medical Scholars, and the Psychology Club. These give students the chance to lead, collaborate, make a meaningful impact on their community, and explore future careers.