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Guide to International Schools: old title gets new look October 1, 2010

Posted by Alex, Managing Director in International education, New releases.
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Another Friday passes; another book zipped up and sent off to the printers.

Work on The John Catt Guide To International Schools 2010/11 has finally been completed at our end; now it is over to Bell & Bain Ltd of Glasgow to print, bind and turn our hard work into several thousand beautiful, shiny new books, which we hope to receive back by the end of the month.

It is the eighth edition of our directory of over 2000 international schools and much has changed from previous editions to reflect the burgeoning growth of international education. An expanded editorial section at the front of the book covers a wider variety of relevant issues and includes an introduction written by Professor George Walker (right), former Director General of the IB.

The guide also describes the different international education systems, the curricula taught, and the roles of the various international bodies that represent schools. In addition to a directory providing basic information about schools in more than 155 countries, there are also details of those belonging to the European Council of International Schools (ECIS), for which we thank the organisation. We have brought the cover size, design and typesetting into line with our other school guides.

What defines an ‘international school’? Perhaps that question is best answered by George Walker, in his introduction to the guide:

The answer lies not in the title – there are many so-called international schools that offer no more than a national education in foreign surroundings – but rather in the nature of the experience enjoyed by the students and staff. This will typically show two dimensions: one pragmatic and the other visionary.

Pragmatism reminds us that most international students will return to their home country to continue their studies, so they will need a widely-based curriculum that offers appropriate knowledge and skills and leads to an international qualification that is recognized by the world’s universities. Vision recognizes the opportunity offered by the mix of nationalities in a typical international school for developing the values needed in a multicultural society.

Later, George concludes:

Let Kurt Hahn, one of the founders of the United World College movement, have the final word:

I regard it as the foremost task of education to ensure the survival of these qualities: an enterprising curiosity, an undefeatable spirit, tenacity in pursuit, readiness for sensible self denial, and above all, compassion.

International education encourages each one of those qualities and international schools have the capacity to become beacons in the search for an education appropriate to the globalized 21st century.

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