Local Vs International School

Unlike entry to Primary Schools, admission into Secondary Schools is based on meritocracy. PSLE results are used as key admission criteria. Discuss everything related to PSLE and selection of Secondary Schools here.

Local Vs International School

Postby david1947 » Wed Dec 08, 2010 11:44 am

There are non-Chinese primary school students whose parents opt for Chinese as MT. While this will serve them well in future, it can lead to lower T-scores. For instance my child obtained A's in all subjects except MT where she got a B...so her T-score is lower than expected and she cant get into a good school of her choice.

While not wanting to start a debate on the merits of the scoring system, I am now faced with a difficult choice - whether to send her to a B-grade school under the same system or switch her to the IB program at one of the 3 local international schools - SJI, ACS or Hwa Chong.

Does anyone have recommendations on the merits of these three?

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Re: Local Vs International School

Postby kiasuest2 » Wed Dec 08, 2010 12:04 pm

david1947 wrote:There are non-Chinese primary school students whose parents opt for Chinese as MT. While this will serve them well in future, it can lead to lower T-scores. For instance my child obtained A's in all subjects except MT where she got a B...so her T-score is lower than expected and she cant get into a good school of her choice.

While not wanting to start a debate on the merits of the scoring system, I am now faced with a difficult choice - whether to send her to a B-grade school under the same system or switch her to the IB program at one of the 3 local international schools - SJI, ACS or Hwa Chong.

Does anyone have recommendations on the merits of these three?


my understanding is that by having non-Chinese pupils taking Chinese as MT should actually raise your child's T-score for Chinese as your child will be seen to do better as there will be a lowering of the average mark used in the T-score formula no?

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Re: Local Vs International School

Postby ycpang » Wed Dec 08, 2010 1:48 pm

david1947 wrote:There are non-Chinese primary school students whose parents opt for Chinese as MT. While this will serve them well in future, it can lead to lower T-scores. For instance my child obtained A's in all subjects except MT where she got a B...so her T-score is lower than expected and she cant get into a good school of her choice.

While not wanting to start a debate on the merits of the scoring system, I am now faced with a difficult choice - whether to send her to a B-grade school under the same system or switch her to the IB program at one of the 3 local international schools - SJI, ACS or Hwa Chong.

Does anyone have recommendations on the merits of these three?


This topic has been discussed extensively on various expat's forums. From most expats' point of view, Singapore eductaion system is of rote learning while International schools provide all rounded education. Personally I don't agree. My view is basically you got rip-off of by paying $25K to $30K school fee per year in most International schools. Discipline is somehow lacking and you also need to be aware that their academic level is much lower than the mainstream schools. If I were you, I will put her in the mainstream school. Just my 2 cents.

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Re: Local Vs International School

Postby pupilview » Wed Dec 08, 2010 3:21 pm

ycpang wrote:
david1947 wrote:There are non-Chinese primary school students whose parents opt for Chinese as MT. While this will serve them well in future, it can lead to lower T-scores. For instance my child obtained A's in all subjects except MT where she got a B...so her T-score is lower than expected and she cant get into a good school of her choice.

While not wanting to start a debate on the merits of the scoring system, I am now faced with a difficult choice - whether to send her to a B-grade school under the same system or switch her to the IB program at one of the 3 local international schools - SJI, ACS or Hwa Chong.

Does anyone have recommendations on the merits of these three?


This topic has been discussed extensively on various expat's forums. From most expats' point of view, Singapore eductaion system is of rote learning while International schools provide all rounded education. Personally I don't agree. My view is basically you got rip-off of by paying $25K to $30K school fee per year in most International schools. Discipline is somehow lacking and you also need to be aware that their academic level is much lower than the mainstream schools. If I were you, I will put her in the mainstream school. Just my 2 cents.


International school is expensive.Academically may not be on par for Maths.International schools encourages students to think out of the box.It has a good culture and nationality mix.Proficiency in languages are better.

Local schools syllabus is good but parents stress up the child more.It does not allow the playful and late-bloomers to come-up.It makes students adher to follow the rules from step1.... step n.Teachers fine-tune the students to do things in a single track way.So if MOE puts a difficult question in P6 or other mile-stone levels, parents shoot letters to newspapers complaining.

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Postby sall » Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:23 pm

I have a friend teaching in an international sch. All the kids are from rich background, they have to be rich to be able to pay the high sch fees. Seems to have quite a bit of discipline problems too. The syllabus seems to be less demanding.

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Postby DadOfGirl » Thu Dec 09, 2010 4:25 pm

sall wrote:I have a friend teaching in an international sch. All the kids are from rich background, they have to be rich to be able to pay the high sch fees. Seems to have quite a bit of discipline problems too. The syllabus seems to be less demanding.


With singapore shools offering IB , these international schools are no longer 'Sought After'. @ 10 years ago , it was not possible to get admission in OFS & other international schools...

Things are easying up in local system. No exam in P1 & p2 . Chnages in PSLE @ Mother Tounge is also beign discussed,

If your child does well in local system , it is hard to believe that parent would transfer to International school.
A level get more credits in US undergraduate shools than any IB diploma..

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Postby carebear » Thu Dec 09, 2010 11:29 pm

Hi david1947, if you can afford to pay the school fees comfortably, then it is worth while considering international school. If you have to struggle to pay for it, then it may be better to settle for a neighbourhood school. 2nd best may not be a bad idea as some of these schools strive hard for excellence. Also, your child would continue to be exposed to the local culture and values in a local school.

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Postby rosemummy » Fri Dec 10, 2010 8:58 pm

DadOfGirl wrote:A level get more credits in US undergraduate shools than any IB diploma..


Like to share where you got this info from? From what I know, the reverse is true. But whether A level or IB, you don't get much credit, probably just for 1 or 2 subjects, which would translate to 6 credits.

Actually, if you're planning to do a first degree in the US, the best option is to forget about both A level, IB or poly. Just do O level and SAT and apply for admission straight away. Alternatively, you can do the freshmen and sophomore years in a community college. Most students starting at a community college immediately after their O levels should be in their junior (third) year by the time those completing their A level / IB start their first year. Definitely faster and cheaper.

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Postby phankao » Fri Dec 10, 2010 11:20 pm

sall wrote:I have a friend teaching in an international sch. All the kids are from rich background, they have to be rich to be able to pay the high sch fees. Seems to have quite a bit of discipline problems too. The syllabus seems to be less demanding.


So far the kids I know that went to these ACS/SJI/HCI international schools after psle are generally thriving. Small teacher-student ratio, and lots of think out of the box type of teaching. but yes, most students are of the more well-to-do background. I think parents prefer to send them to such schools instead of to a lower-band moe school. It's good to be a big fish in a small pond. Keeps students' self-esteem up. But yes, only if you can afford it, but hey, I think it's not what is being asked here by the original parent who started this thread!

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Postby ycpang » Fri Dec 10, 2010 11:36 pm

I think most of them who go to international schools are happy, and one of the reasons is there is no pressure from school. This can be a good as well as bad thing, depending on what you want.

I remember when my DS was 6 yo, I sent him for computer enrichment. Every weekend he looked forward to go there and I was so pleased. Until one day I fouud out that for the past 6 months, the teacher had been letting them to play computer games on their own throughout the lesson instead of real teaching. I got so pissed and pulled my DS out of the center immediately.

Was my DS happy there? Yes of course he was. So you see my point?

I also remember what our MM LKY said, if there is no pressure, you will never improve.

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