Choosing the right school is critical, especially for expat parents living in Jakarta. Other than their educational gain, your children’s school will determine who their friends are, their ‘second home’ and also whether they will like it here in Jakarta! As every child is different, there is no strict formula on which type of school would be best for one, but you can definitely compare and search for the best option out there.
Here we provide you with some pointers on what to consider in the search for the right school in Jakarta; note that just recently, the Indonesian government has banned the word ‘international’ in all school names; so you will see a lot of names changed.
With the abundance of school choices, you will eventually to find a good school where you live. But still the conundrum remains, how far is it from where you live and how much time will your children spend on their way to school? Having mentioned that, it is also worth considering whether the school offers school bus or some kind of transport arrangement for your kids. If you live in city center, it would still be practical to send your kids to a school a little further out (Tangerang, BSD, etc.) as you will be go against the commute traffic.
2. Research on the school’s curriculum & examination
International schools typically use curricula based on the school’s country of origin. The most common international schools represent Education in the United Kingdom or Education in the United States, which include International Primary Curriculum (IPC), International Middle Years Curriculum (IMYC), Cambridge Primary, Secondary and IGCSE, International Baccalaureate (IB). For expatriate parents, these curriculum will allow some continuity if they need to relocate to other countries. For year 12 and 13 students, check whether the school has the pre-university program such as the two-year IB Diploma.
3. Talk with the teachers
It is important for parents to have a look, visit, and talk to the teachers. During your visit, observe; are the teachers available and friendly? See how they interact with the students, in class and outside. If possible, also see how the students interact with each other, how they walk, talk, etc. These observations will make a great insight into the dynamics of everyone in the school system.
4. Find out about the school’s extracurricular program
Off school hour programs provides students with another avenue to connect with their peers and helps to develop a range of social and emotional attributes, including self-esteem, persistence and teamwork. Each school has different range and options of how many extracurricular programs they carry. Find out what kind and how many programs does one school have; be it arts, sports, clubs, community services, or school trips
5. Check out the school’s Supporting Facilities
See what facilities does the school have? are they keeping up with the maintenance? This includes library, sport facilities, equipment, computers, performing stages, etc.
6. You and the school
Check to what extent can you be a partner in your child’s learning? How open, how far can you be involved in the school? Ask about the school’s Parent Teacher meeting or associations within the school.
7. Admission Process
Because of their popularity, some schools are in high demand in Jakarta, and some grades even have long waiting list. Therefore, make sure you check with the school on the admission process that your child needs to go through long before hand to avoid stress and complications.
8. Ask around!
Experience will be the best judge; ask around and talk with other expat parents on where do they send their children to school. Discuss with them the pros and cons of the school they have now, and what are the considerations on selecting that particular school.