The International Baccalaureate program

Understanding what an International Baccalaureate program means to students…

Getting a good education starts with attending a good school that offers a recognized curriculum. The European International School Ho Chi Minh City (EIS) recently announced its accreditation of the International Baccalaureate program for all students at its Kindergarten through Year 12 campus. The IB Diploma Programme is in addition to the already accredited IB Primary Years Programme and IB Middle Years Programme. With successful accreditation of these programs, EIS has become an IB Continuum World School, offering IB education for children aged 3-18 years old.

This month Oi meets EIS President Dr. Nguyen Thi Quynh Lam and Michael Osswald, the CEO/General Director, to find out just what this means for students.

EIS Ms Quynh Lam

*Dr Quynh Lam

Tell me a bit about your backgrounds.

Mo: I don’t come from an educational background. I come from the communication and media industry, but when it came time to look for a school for my daughter, I realized there was a need for a true international school with a German program. I was not alone, and EIS was born.

NTQL: I have a PhD in Education and worked my way up through the ranks at ISHMC where I was the principal before moving over to EIS.

What does IB certification mean for students?

NTQL: The IB (International Baccalaureate) program is the only globally recognized qualification. Students at international schools are usually mobile, which means that they will have to continue their education in another international school in another country when their parents move to their next posting. This can mean very different curricula depending on the school. The IB eliminates that problem in that each IB school follows more or less the same program. The aim is to create global citizens who are aware of the benefits that different points of view can bring and who are practical thinkers and problem solvers.

Mo: I should also add that the IB is a framework so schools can customize elements of the framework to meet local needs. We are also one of a few schools that offer IB continuum meaning that we offer IB programs all the way through and not just in high school as many schools do.

Michael Osswald EIS*Michael Osswald

Why are international schools so much more expensive than public schools?

Mo: Well, it has to do with the facilities and teacher development. Teachers have to be specially qualified to teach at international schools and the IB program requires teachers to be given ongoing professional development to best meet the needs of the students.

Also, class sizes tend to be much smaller in international schools than in public schools where you can have 30 students in a class.

What do you think of the local education system?

Mo: There is not a lot of control of private schools which often call themselves “international” but don’t follow a true international curriculum.

Do you offer financial assistance or scholarships?

Mo: We are a Nobel Talent School so through the Nobel Education Network we offer scholarships to talented students. This year we have six scholarships available for students entering grade 11. Once they are awarded the scholarship they have to maintain their standard of performance to retain the scholarship in the following year.

* Images provided by EIS.

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