When moving abroad as a family, one of the most important considerations is the quality and availability of education for your children. Due to the country’s high standards of education, expat parents in Germany have the freedom to choose between equally high-quality public and private schools.
However, this freedom doesn’t make the debate between public vs. private schools any easier: education in Germany has, in the past decade, vastly improved. But for expat families, international schools have become a popular option that allows children to excel in school and grow into global citizens.
So, in order to get a better idea as to what is offered in the international school programs, we’ve asked the team over at the International School on the Rhine to give us their top 3 reasons as to why families may choose an international school over a public school.
1 – International schools foster bilingual education.
One of the greatest advantages of living life abroad is the ability to grow you and your family’s language skills. International schools often provide instruction in two languages: German and, most commonly, English. Other languages are offered as foreign languages, but it is the emphasis on fluent English—an increasingly important and critical skill to have—that helps expat children become true international students.
Learning to speak English fluently at a young age brings immediate benefits—expat students who already speak English can more easily socialize with their peers. Students who leave international schools already equipped with an advanced level of English receive an immediate advantage in university over students who speak only rudimentary or no English, especially when planning to attend university abroad.
Here in Germany, international schools also put a strong emphasis, for both non-native and native speakers, on learning German. This focus on bilingual education both prepares students with enhanced language skills but also enforces the value of cultural diversity.
2 – International schools provide focused one-on-one education.
At an international school in Germany, students can get far more individual attention from teachers simply because there are more of them. In German public schools, there are about 12 students per teacher; in international schools, that ratio is generally cut in half. At the International School on the Rhine, for example, the ratio is just five students per teacher; at the International School of Hamburg, the ratio is eight students per teacher.
Smaller class sizes make a difference. Teachers are more effective and students are less likely to be overlooked. Research has even shown that small classes, especially in the younger grades, can lead to a lifetime of benefits, including higher wages in the future.
In addition to the smaller class sizes, international schools often offer more frequent testing to ensure that students are advancing at a normal pace. While national assessments in Germany are carried out at regular intervals to monitor education on a state-wide level, international schools—with their individual focus—often administer frequent testing to ensure students are not left behind, and knowledge gaps are immediately identified and closed.
3 – IB accreditation gives students a boost.
The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme is a renowned educational program offered across the globe at qualified institutions. The IB diploma prepares students for a more globalized world and provides access to top universities in Germany and all over the world. In Germany, the IB Diploma Programme is offered at both state and private schools, although there are far more international and private schools that offer the diploma.
Expat families considering the public vs. private school debate may find it easier to make the decision with the knowledge that international private schools in Germany often go beyond when creating well-rounded curricula to ensure they produce true global citizens.
If you have any questions about registering your children at an international school in Düsseldorf, feel free to contact ISR for more information. ISR is located in the Düsseldorf – Neuss – Meerbusch region, is a non-profit establishment, and offers an excellent international education through full-day schooling from grades 1–12 in a bilingual and multilingual environment.
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