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Choosing an international school for children: American or British program?

When choosing an international school for children, many parents care about the learning or teaching program at school. The big question is “Should I send my children to an international school with an American or British program in teaching and learning?”. In order to answer this question, please read the following article from TheTips.

International Schools with American Program

The American international high school’s program usually takes 12 years, from grade 1 to grade 12. It is divided into groups of grades including 1-5, 6-8 and 9-12. Graduated students will receive an American High School Diploma.

The characteristic of American education is that the school teaching an American program will also grant degrees with the signature of the Principal. Students who want to earn an American High School Diploma must study enough credits for grades 9-12, accumulate enough required credits to be awarded a diploma, and do not need to take a high school graduation exam. The main subjects of the American program are English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Art, Physical Education, Spanish or Second Language.

Besides, TheTips will give parents a referring list of 6 international schools teaching American Program.

01. International School Saigon Pearl (ISSP) (Binh Thanh District) and ISHCMC American Academy (District 2):

Belonging to the Cognita education group from the UK, International School Saigon Pearl (ISSP) is the international school Ho Chi Minh City for students from kindergarten to grade 5. It is placed together with American Academy School (for students grade 6 to grade 12) to be a complete K-12 international school system.

ISSP became a candidate school teaching IB PYP in 2021. Its curriculum now is an international integrated curriculum built based on the IB PYP framework, American Core Standards and MOET Standards. The highest tuition fee (grade 3 to grade 5) is 477 million/year.

ISSP - International School Saigon Pearl in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
International School Saigon Pearl (ISSP) (Source: Internet)

ISHCMC American Academy is loyal to the American educational program, students can study AP programs and advanced credits from Syracuse University. Students graduate with an American Baccalaureate diploma directly issued by the school, accredited by the Council of International Schools and the American accreditation organization NEASC. The highest tuition fee (grade 12) is about 566 million/year.

ISHCMC American Academy
ISHCMC American Academy (Source: Internet)

02. AIS International School (Nha Be):

This school used to teach the American program, but it has completely changed its direction to teaching IB. The American Baccalaureate Diploma is directly issued by the school, accredited by CIS and WASC. The highest tuition fee is 724 million/year.

AIS International School
AIS International School (Source: Internet)

03. APU International School (District 11):

This school teaches the American program and advanced credits of some affiliated universities. The school grants high school degrees, not yet accredited by the American regional accreditation organization. The highest tuition fee is 431 million/year.

APU International School
APU International School (Source: Internet)

04. Pennsylvania American International School (District 10):

The school is part of the Western Australian school system, teaches the Pennsylvania state program, students are awarded the American Baccalaureate degree from the foreign school Greenville High School, Pennsylvania (USA). ) is verified by MSCHE (USA). The highest tuition fee is 365 million/year.

Pennsylvania American International School
Pennsylvania American International School (Source: Internet)

05. TAS International School (District 2):

This school teaches the American program and the AP program. Graduates are awarded the American Baccalaureate degree directly issued by the school, accredited by the WASC organization (USA). The highest tuition fee is 656 million/year.

TAS International School
TAS International School (Source: Internet)

International Schools with British Program

Since the Cambridge program is modeled after the British national program, TheTips puts the British and Cambridge programs in the same group. The feature of the British program is 13 years of study, starting at the age of 5 and ending at the age of 18. The division of the general grade level is 1-6 (elementary); 7-9 (junior high school); 10-11 (high school); 12-13 (pre-university). The Cambridge program is more flexible, can be applied to 12-year programs but still ends up with (I) GCSE and A level 4 final year.

The British program does not integrate subjects like the American program, so the number of subjects is quite large, similar to the Vietnamese program. For example, instead of studying Social Science, the subject will be broken down into History and Geography. The British program is highly academic with very detailed content.

Students who finish grade 9 (equivalent to grade 8 in Vietnam) will enter the GCSE (British system) or IGCSE (Cambridge system) program for 2 years (grades 10-11). Nature (I) GCSE is discrete subjects, in addition to core subjects (compulsory) such as Math, English, Science, students can choose as many other subjects as they need depending on their international school. There are about 50 subjects to choose from. Each subject has its own certificate.

If students study at least 7 IGCSE subjects and spread them evenly across the required subject groups, Cambridge will issue an ICE (International Certificate of Education) degree, which can be understood as a high school diploma. According to the British system, after completing (I)GCSE, it is equivalent to graduating from high school, students can leave school to work, go to vocational training, attend college or continue studying to A level to enter university.

In the last 2 years of high school (grades 12-13), students study A-levels. The nature of A-level is pre-university, so the number of subjects is reduced to about 3-5 subjects, focusing on the groups of majors required by universities, similar to exam blocks A, B, C, D, E, G, H… of the Vietnamese university exam system. In theory, students can study as many A-level subjects as they can, but the British program has an early career orientation, not a liberal education like the American program at this pre-university level. With the Cambridge program, if students study all 3 subjects in the required group and add Global Perspectives & Research, they will be granted an AICE (Advanced International Certificate of Education Diploma).

Below is the referring list of 5 international schools teaching the British Program.

01. AIS International School (District 2):

Australian International School, teaching IB and Cambridge programs. Students take all IGCSE subjects and graduate with an IB Diploma. The school is accredited by CIS. The highest tuition fee is 699 million/year.

AIS International School
AIS International School (Source: Internet)

02. BIS (District 2):

A leading school that teaches British and IB programmes. Students study the British and IPC curriculum in primary school, the Cambridge program in secondary school, and then study the IGCSE and IB Diploma. The school has a wide range of IGCSE subject options. Students graduate with an IB Diploma. The school is accredited by CIS, recognized by the British Ministry of Education as an “Outstanding” school (accredited by Penta). The highest tuition fee is 767 million/year.

BIS International School
BIS International School (Source: Internet)

03. BVIS (Binh Chanh):

A sister school with BIS, bilingual at primary school but switched to an international program in high school. Students complete IGCSE subjects and graduate with A-levels. Accredited by CIS and WASC. The highest tuition fee is 519 million/year.

BVIS International School
BVIS International School (Source: Internet)

04. Saigon Star International School (District 2):

This school teaches British and IPC programs, only preschool and primary schools. It passed the IPC inspection. The highest tuition fee is 375 million/year (grade 6).

Saigon Star International School
Saigon Star International School (Source: Internet)

05. SIS School (Binh Chanh):

At Singapore International School, primary school teaches Singapore and Australian programs, secondary level learns IGCSE and graduates with A-levels. IGCSE subject selection is relatively small. The school is accredited by WASC. The highest tuition fee is 524 million/year.

SIS International School
SIS International School (Source: Internet)

With some basic information about British and American programs, parents can get a basic foundation about each program. To decide which international schools are the best choice for children’s education, parents should pay a visit with a school tour to each international school. TheTips hopes that this article will be helpful.

Source: https://www.issp.edu.vn/international-schools-ho-chi-minh-city


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