While relocating internationally can be an exciting adventure, it can also be overwhelming for families, and the list of things to think about and manage is long.
When it comes to education and finding the right school in a city that is unfamiliar, a place where the options may be limited, anxiety levels can rise simply because parents and their children are not equipped to know how to even start the process.
Your children’s education will always be a priority, relocating abroad as a family does not need to derail their progress. Parents must make a choice that best suits their child’s temperament, interests, strengths and weaknesses while ensuring that their choice is in line with their child’s future goals.
Education is one of the main challenges and is a well-known barrier to relocating to a new country. If everyone in the family is settled, parents can be more productive and will inevitably have a greater chance of success. The benefits of getting it right from the start are well worth the time spent in preparation.
How to begin
If your children are changing schools, you’ll need to make sure you have their records transferred to the new school. However, to make sure you’re making the best choice, it’s worth taking the time to consider your options.
To begin the enrolment process with the new school, make sure all records are transferred as soon as possible. Talk to teachers and administrators before your child’s first day of school and be sure to also let the new school know about any special needs or issues your child may have.
Finding the right school
The process of finding a school in a city you don’t know is not only daunting but can be frustrating, especially if there are limited options and long waiting lists. In addition to understanding the options available, it is important to consider everyone’s individual needs and requirements in order to make a smooth transition. Consider asking yourself these questions:
- Size: Are you looking for a small or a large school?
- Activities: Is it important that the schools offer sports, music or arts?
- Curriculum: Is the type of curriculum important?
Parents need to be reminded that it will not be possible to replicate the school that their children are currently attending, and therefore they need to remain open-minded about the process, possibilities and school availability.
When contacting a school, try to have as much information on hand about a child as possible so that you can be their advocate. The following list outlines some of the important questions schools will ask:
- What is the child’s previous school experience and what type of school have they been attending?
- What is the language of instruction of the current school?
- What is the child’s year group called in the home location?
- Is the child currently receiving additional support for learning English as an Additional Language (EAL)?
Schools have a responsibility to support families in transition too. You should feel comfortable challenging schools to offer a high level of support for the children and assignee families. Ensure that all schools provide a formal tour and orientation of the facilities.
The key to finding the right school for your children is to remember that there are three vital stakeholders in the process: the child, the family and the school. To satisfy the needs of all of them, you have to be well informed:
- Know as much as possible about the child (needs, interests, previous experiences, current situation, etc.)
- Have a thorough understanding of the family’s needs and preferences
- Have a good knowledge of the available schools (size, philosophy, availability, approach to teaching, approach to new students, etc.)
Attending School in Indonesia
If you are a holder of a KITAS/KITAP work visa, you are required to apply for a family Temporary Stay Permit or KITAS/ITAS for your children under 17 years old. Before your child can apply for KITAS/ITAS in Indonesia, they must first get a Limited Stay Visa (VITAS) at the Consulate or Embassy of The Republic of Indonesia in their origin country to enter Indonesia.
Once they have gained entry into the country, they can then convert the Limited Stay Visa into the dependent or family KITAS.
Should I choose a local or international school in Indonesia?
This is a vital decision that will decide what education your child receives.
In Indonesia, the first 9 years (6 years of elementary and 3 years of secondary) of free public schooling is free and compulsory national, administrated by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology.
While the fees will be much lower than their private and international counterparts, this isn’t a viable option for most expat kids as the classes are conducted mainly in Bahasa Indonesia by local teachers.
Private Schools in Indonesia, also known as National Plus Schools, offer a curriculum that meets and exceeds the requirements set by the national government. Some private schools may integrate other international programs.
Even though the majority of these schools are catered to local students, they do, however, accept expat children for the opportunity of cultural integration.
The resources and facilities available at these schools are better than their public counterparts, and they also offer a wide range of extracurricular activities. In terms of fees, they are cheaper than international schools. This may be a good option if you do not wish to pay the steep tuition fees required by sending to your kids to international schools.
Click here for more information about National Plus Schools
International schools are a good choice for expatriates who intend to return to their home country with their children in the near future, as well as for parents who intend to send their children to schools abroad.
Unlike public schools, the size of the class is smaller and tends to have a better and wider range of facilities and resources available for your children, which means higher costs.
The diversity in curriculum choices and the goals of each school vary widely but they usually offer a more comprehensive and country-specific curriculum. Hence, their qualification is widely accepted by many universities and colleges globally. If you might be relocating again while your children are in education this may be the best option for you.
Discover great International Schools in Indonesia here
How can I prepare my children for education abroad?
Ideally, you can visit the new school you have chosen with your children. This will help ease them into their new environment. They will be able to meet their future teachers and get a feel for what their new school will be like.
If that is not possible, you can arrange a brief video call with the new teacher can also help, especially if the teacher is skilled at providing a developmentally appropriate connection for the child.
When is the best time to move with the children?
The decision though is up to you and your family. If you have the flexibility to choose when you move your family, then you should consider moving during the holidays or before the school year.
Your kids will be able to start the new term together with other new kids and everyone will be starting the year together. This way, your children can adapt to their new environment much easier, and their studies will not get interrupted.
Most importantly, give it time
Uprooting your children or teens from their familiar surroundings can be as heartbreaking as it is exciting, especially if your older child has to leave the friends they worked hard to make last time. So don’t be surprised if they don’t settle in straight away.
The theory generally goes, that the older the child the more likely the move is to pose challenges because they have a stronger connection to their previous home.
Be calm and patient as they work through emotions, but continue to set appropriate, positive, and healthy routines. Make sure you remain positive about the new home as young children often pick up on their parent’s emotions – especially when the parent is stressed or anxious. Who knows? The move may well end up being the best choice your family has ever made!
Need local advice on schooling? Whatsapp us and make an appointment for education assistance.