Saudi Arabia / Jeddah / Ar Rabwah / German International School Jeddah

German International School Jeddah Review

The German International School Jeddah (die Deutsche Internationale Schule Jeddah) is one of two German schools in Saudi Arabia.
At a glance
School type
International
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
No rating
Curricula taught
Availability 2022/23
No data
Availability 2023/24
No data
Annual fee average
SAR 40,500
Annual fees
SAR 22,900–57,200
Price band help
Mid-range
Status
Open
Opening year
1975
School year
Sep to Jul
Principal
Ms Sabine Schönsee
Community
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German International School Jeddah
School type
International
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
No rating
Curricula taught
Availability 2022/23
No data
Availability 2023/24
No data
Annual fee average
SAR 40,500
Annual fees
SAR 22,900–57,200
Price band help
Mid-range
Status
Open
Opening year
1975
School year
Sep to Jul
Principal
Ms Sabine Schönsee
Community
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The German International School Jeddah (die Deutsche Internationale Schule Jeddah) is one of two German schools in Saudi Arabia.

The story so far...

The Deutsche Internationale Schule Jeddah/the German School of Jeddah (DISJ) was founded in 1975 under the sponsorship of the German Government and is located in the Ar Rabwah area of the city. It is a sister school to the German International School in Riyadh.

According to the school's Mission statement, it is an acknowledged German school abroad "which maintains a high level of quality" from kindergarten up to the final two grades where it offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.

The Mission Statement of the German International School Jeddah (DISJ) has been in existence since the 2004-2005 academic year. In 2011, the responsible school committees decided on new specific principles, as a result of which the Mission Statement was completely re-written. It is now said to express "the values shared by the school's pupils, teachers, parents, and employees. It influences our way of acting and thinking and is obligatory fo the entire school community." 

The Mission Statement consists of the following eight guiding principles:
* The DISJ is an acknowledged German school abroad which maintains a high level of quality from kindergarten up to IB
* The DISJ is a school for families with a German language background and for those who plan a future in a culture of German language.
* Working together in a democratic and confident atmosphere offers everybody a sense of belonging and solidarity within the school. This is based on a European liberal understanding.
* Respect and tolerance are a solid foundation for a productive cooperation between teachers and students.
* The school takes advantage of its cultural diversity among students and their parents.
* At the DISJ we equally encourage and demand that students work to their highest ability. This is an open and constantly changing process.
*Furthermore, we support the individual development of every child and young adult.
*The DISJ’s main focus is on language education. 

The last commitment - the focus on language education is an interesting one.  The school offers German language lessons for adults and has recently announced the relaunch of its additional intensive courses for non-German speaking KG-age children.

The school leadership lies with Principal, Sabine Schönsee, and Deputy Principal Heidrun Lindner.  The school does not provide any information about student or staff numbers, but we understand it to have less than 50 staff, based on its LinkedIn profile.

What about the curriculum?

DISJ is a “Deutsche Auslandsschule” (German school abroad). The language of instruction is German, and students who lack German language proficiency are offered German as a foreign language (Deutsch als Fremdsprache) lessons. In common with almost all recognised German schools abroad, the Elementary School follows the curriculum of Thüringen state in all subjects with the exception of Arabic mother tongue classes. The school is organised into the Kindergarten section, for children aged 3 to 5 years, the Elementary section (Grades 1 to 4), the Secondary section from Grades 5 to 10, and the IB section for students in Grades 11 and 12.

The DISJ kindergarten consists of two groups, the 3 to 4 year old Caterpillars and the 4 to 5 year old Butterflies. Between lessons, both groups of students spend their play times together, so that the younger children can learn from the older ones. German as a foreign language (DaF) is taught four times a week for those children who need this additional support. Children are taught in small groups where they learn through play and where they are introduced to the German language, with the learning level consistently increased. Students aged 5-6 years form the oldest group within the KG and are gradually prepared on a more formal basis for the entry to the Elementary school. 

The Elementary School covers grades 1 to 4. The Elementary School team believes that learning is not just about the acquisition of facts. 

"With an eye on the future, we have a holistic approach to learning and teaching to develop critical, independent thinkers and confident leaders".

In addition to the core subjects taught in Germany (German, Mathematics, Social Science/Science, Art, Physical Education, and Music), English (as a Foreign language) and Arabic are also taught on a differentiated basis, based on the level of the student to meet each student’s individual needs. After formal schooling ends, students can choose among a large variety of age group tailored extracurricular activities during the afternoon period. During vacations, language and culture camps are offered in Germany.

After the Elementary school, students in Grade 5 commence their Orientation level during the course of which, the respective teachers assess each student's acquired proficiency level in order to determine which of the three recognised  German streams (“Hauptschule”, “Realschule” or “Gymnasium”) will be the appropriate one.  The change from one stream to another remains possible, depending on the student’s performance and the decision of the respective teachers. As students progress through the grades, additional subjects are added to the curriculum including Biology and Geography from Grade 5, History, French and Social Studies from Grade 6, Physics from Grade 7 and Chemistry from Grade 8.

Students may acquire different certifications - the Hauptschulabschluss (Certificate of completion of compulsory basic schooling) after Grade 9, the Realschulabschluss (Intermediate School Certificate after year 10) or the authorization to join the Gymnasium senior section (Gymnasiale Oberstufe) for completion of the IB Diploma Programme.

From Grades 6 to 10, Gymnasium (Grammar-school) teaching is adjusted for students destined for the “Hauptschule-level” or “Realschule-level”. French is compulsory for Gymnasium students as a second foreign language. Homework supervision in the 6th lesson takes place if necessary. Students with difficulties in the German language receive special remedial education in the subject. Students can also receive additional lessons in  French, English or Arabic (for example the DELF offer of the Alliance Française). Students offered a range of after school activities including basketball, soccer and martial arts, baking, doing handicrafts or experiments.  This is addition to  homework tutoring which takes place in the same time period.

Students who complete their final two years of education at DISJ undertake the "Gemischtsprachiges International Baccaulaureate" (GIB), which prepares them as young adults for university work and a successful life after school. The diploma gives them international access to universities.

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB-DP) is taught in the upper school in place of the more tradition Abitur.  It is comparable to the German Abitur and has been an acknowledged diploma in Germany since 1986. The IB Diploma gives students  access to international universities. The mixed language version of the Diploma ensures that DISJ graduates are not only entitled to study at a German university, but can begin their studies at an English-speaking university in 147 countries.

According to DISJ, this combination of the German curriculum until year 10 and the IB-standards and curricula for Grades 11 and 12 enables bilingual students to achieve the best possible diploma.

What about academic achievement?

We at WhichSchoolAdvisor.com were a little disappointed to see the DISJ does not publish its International Baccalaureate Diploma results. We encourage all schools to be transparent in this regard, in order that students and their parents can get an understanding of how well students perform in the context of the specific school.  Although examination results are not, and should not be, the be-all and end-all of education, they are an important factor in the decision-making process when choosing a school.

What about the Facilities?

The school campus has fully equipped well lit classrooms.  From Grade 5 onwards, a projector is an installed  in each classroom. Additional facilities include a library, with more than 5,000 books, magazines, DVDs and games. A Media Room used for ICT and media literacy provides students with the use of laptops, through which they learn about Internet Security and research practices.

Biology, Physics and Chemistry are taught in Natural Science Rooms which are especially equipped for Natural Sciences.  A Music Room is equipped with a piano, drums, and percussion instruments, whilst a Language Room is used to work intensively with small groups of students on their linguistic skills. A light and airy Art and Crafts room is furnished and resourced the use of a range of media with which students can work creatively. In the school cafeteria, freshly prepared meals, refreshments and snacks are available.

In terms of sports facilities, the school’s gymnasium offers various opportunities to students during physical education, special breaks (“bewegte Pause”) or afternoon activities. It is also used as a multi-purpose facility for talent shows, the winter or summer festival, or for students show their skills and talents onstage. During the winter months, the swimming pool which is located in Nada Compound is used to enable students to improve their skills and to participate in the “swimming festival”.

The exterior grounds of the school were refitted in 2018 and offer students shady places, table-tennis and a spacious sports field. 

The Buzz

As a long established school in the centre of Jeddah, we have no doubt that the German International School plays an important part in support of the German community.  The fact that the school clearly encourages non-German speakers, and its strong focus on English and Arabic language skills, suggests that the school is probably more international in nature than would ordinarily be expected for a school focused mainly on the German curriculum.

If you are a parent, teacher or student at DISJ, please share your opinions and experience with other potential members of your community and complete our Survey.

What about the fees?

Tuition Fees at DISJ are mid-range compared with many of the established UK, American or IB curriculum schools in KSA.  They start from 22,900 SAR in KG, rising to 30,000 SAR in the pre-school class, and then to 40,000 SAR for Grades 1 to 5, 43,000 SAR from Grades 6 to 10 and 57,200 SAR for Grades 11 and 12 (IB) - the IB Exam fee is 5,000 SAR.   There is also a resources fee of 940 SAR. These fees are exclusive of VAT.

In addition, there is a registration fee of 4,900 SAR and a further non-refundable annual seat reservation fee of 3,000 SAR prior to the end of each academic year which is deducted from the following year's tuition fees.

Finally, the school does offer sibling discounts of 2,300 SAR off the applicable tuition fee for the first sibling, 3,450 SAR for the second sibling and 4,600 SAR for the third sibling.

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