Although the grand opening of the Singapore International School took place on July 15, 2011 the parent company, KinderWorld Education Group, had entered Vung Tau the year before, meeting with parents in order to gauge the level of interest. Subsequently, having received strong feedback, construction of the new campus began April 2010 while an interim facility operated from August 2010 to May 2011.
The KinderWorld Equation Group was founded in Singapore in 1986 with the opening of it’s first preschool. During the late 1990’s they extended into Vietnam, where in 2000 they opened KinderWorld International Kindergartens (preschool centres) and in 2004 Singapore International School (primary schools) all in Hanoi and HCMC. These were followed by schools in Nha Trang, Da Nang, Hue and, of course, Vung Tau.
The Vung Tau school was built to, apparently, “international standards, of design and architecture which is quite modern”, says Nguyen Ha Giang the Marketing Executive for for KinderWorld Kindergarten and Private School JSC in HCMC. And although looking quite smart amongst homes in the Dai An Residential Area it has resigned itself to the all to common multi-air conditioner design (as opposed to a central cooling/heating unit) which is neither very forward thinking nor modern, internationally speaking.
Design and architecture aside I was told the student’s education is complimented by up to date audio visual equipment and computers as well as an online interactive learning program which allows parents to take an active part in their children’s education and, presumably, alleviate the burden on the teachers.
The school has a well designed promotional package and a folder of press clippings which positively glow with professional credentials and journalistic praise; SIS appears to have assembled a curriculum that covers not only all grades but also a system which considers a student’s complete development with ongoing checks and measures, accreditation and continuing education preparedness along the way. The intention being to prepare students for a range of employment opportunities or in order to continue their education domestically and internationally.
The school uses a lot of rhetoric touting a curriculum that includes ‘meaningful connections’, ‘experimental learning’, ‘creative student-centred lessons’ as well as their their motto of “Eastern Values – Western Education”. Also, in the July 25 − 31, 2011 of TimeOut magazine, the schools’s principal, Dudley Schroeder, expresses an interest in “contributing to the growth of the Vung Tau community in general”. However, when I emailed him and requested further details on such a commitment no reply was forthcoming.
I spoke to at least one parent with a student enrolled at the school and they seemed pleased with the education their child was receiving and although the fee might be something of a burden for them they were of the opinion that there is little in the way of alternatives locally.
Sources: SIS website, TimeOut Magazine
Yuri Doric — yuridoric.tumblr.com