Choosing a school is no easy task especially when there are many choices out there; more so when it is a definitive decision for your child. Education is expensive and as a parent, you need to ensure that your child gets the best value. There are many factors to consider when deciding on a school, and accreditation should not be left out.
Simply put, accreditation is a quality check. A competent authority on education conducts a rigorous check on the standards offered by a school. Upon completion of review, the authority certifies the school qualified to teach the programme to its students.
THE IMPORTANCE OF ACCREDITATION FOR A SCHOOL
For a long time, accreditation was mostly related to colleges and universities. It defined the legitimacy of the degree earned and guaranteed the competence of a student for the job market. With international schools mushrooming globally, a strong need for implementation of accreditation for international schools was sought. Thus, evolved accreditation organisations dedicated only to schools such as the Council of International Schools (CIS), the Council of British International Schools (COBIS), and the Education Development Trust (EDT) which awards the International Schools Quality Mark (ISQM).
According to research conducted by ISC Research in 2018, the total number of international schools worldwide stands at 9,538 of which 2,092 are accredited. This means that only about a quarter of them have accreditation of some form and are considered to be of global standard.
Since the global number of international schools is on the rise, the task of assessing and providing accreditation is often handled by accreditation agencies dedicated to a particular region. There are also accreditation agencies that specialise on a particular age group such as Junior Award Scheme for Schools (JASS), which is meant for students aged 5 to 14.
THE PROCESS OF GAINING ACCREDITATION
The process of obtaining accreditation is not an easy one. Schools have to apply for accreditation with a reputable international body. The body then visits the school to assess it on several parameters which establishes the school as a quality education institution working in the best interest of students, parents, public and other stakeholders. The authority verifies the school’s commitment to high standards and its drive towards continuous improvement.
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In this endeavour, the authority assesses the school on a variety of factors. The most common ones include:
- Health and safety
- Staff qualification
- Quality assurance
- Student welfare
- System management
- Compliance to immigration regulations
THE EFFECTS OF ACCREDITATION ON STUDENTS
Graduating from an accredited school is valuable. It adds to the resume and gives parents peace of mind on quality. Any accredited school follows a curriculum that matches a specific standard and certifies that a school has a positive learning environment, a well-defined mission, a strategic plan and high safety standards.
Moreover, in case of a relocation to a different country, the progress or credits earned at the previous accredited school is recognised by the new one. This makes the transfer process smooth, easing the difficult process of adapting to a different school for the child.
Apart from accreditation, any affiliation to international education associations such as the European Council of International Schools (ECIS), International Schools Association (ISA) or the Federation of British International School in Asia (FOBISIA) can be an added advantage. Such association increases the networking opportunity of the school, ensuring that the students are part of a global network.
elc International School
elc International School has always been a strong believer in maintaining quality and standard. The entire school is dedicated to providing quality education to its students and the accreditation and affiliations are only an extension of the school’s commitment to excellence.
elc is currently accredited to Gold standard by the:
- Education Development Trust (EDT), which awards the
- International Schools Quality Mark (ISQM)
elc is the certified provider of:
- The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award
- Junior Award Scheme for Schools (JASS)
elc is a member of:
- Association of International Malaysian Schools (AIMS)
- Federation of British International Schools in Asia (FOBISIA)
The accreditation, along with all the affiliations, were awarded after assessing the school’s quality of education, values imparted in students, quality of teachers, curriculum, parental feedback, as well as the commitment of the leadership to student progress.
Ultimately, there is no sure-fire way of assessing if a school is right for your children and there are no shortcuts. A good place to start may be to ensure the school is accredited, as it indicates that the school has undergone a rigorous programme of peer review. After that it falls to each parent to determine if what is being offered is in line with their own wants and needs for their child’s education.