GIIS SMART Campus is the first international school to open in the Punggol Digital District (PDD). In keeping with its location, it is a technology-driven school that caters to Kindergarten to Grade 12. The school has a NextGen infrastructure and uses cutting-edge facilities to deliver multiple curricula including the International Baccalaureate, IGCSE and CBSE.
The GIIS SMART Campus opened in the up-and-coming digital district of Punggol in 2018. Owned by the well-established, not-for-profit Global Schools Foundation (GSF), SMART is an all-through achool for children aged three through to 18 years that offers a choice of an Indian or IB education under one (very large) roof.
As this new school slowly grows into its sprawling campus in the North East, it is becoming one of Singapore's most technology-driven schools. SMART is the top-performing CBSE school in Singapore (although students only studied here for the last year of their CBSE), has capacity for 5,000 students, low tuition fees, and dual pathways that follow the CBSE or IGCSEs and the IBDP. However, the real talking point of this school is its technology-focused facilities. Here's a purpose-built campus that dazzles with its bells and whistles – and has everything from virtual classrooms and facial recognition machines through to digital lockers and even Smart toilets that are equipped with ammonia sensors.
SMART promises to be a school of future where lessons are held in virtual classrooms, sports lessons are analysed using digital technology, and robots will move around campus. The school is dedicated to learning through technology using facilities including skills labs, Smart classrooms and innovation rooms. Just a year after opening, the school still needs time to bed-in and fully deliver on its vision. And we will be watching with interest.
Owned by the Singapore-based Global Schools Foundation (GSF), Global Indian International School (GIIS) was Singapore's first international school for Indian expats. From a single campus in 2002, it has expanded to four locations within Singapore and a network of more than 20 campuses across seven countries. Students from the GIIS Queenstown and Balestier campuses have relocated to the SMART Campus; the group's two other Singapore campuses, East Coast and Mountbatten, continue to operate at their existing locations.
What does the school feel like? Get the GIIS SMART Campus Experience here.
In line with other GIIS schools in Singapore, SMART offers the most widespread Indian curriculum in Singapore, the CBSE Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). It offers Global Montessori Plus (GMP) at nursery levels; CBSE from Grades 1-7; IGCSEs or CBSE from Grades 8-10; and CBSE or the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP) from Grades 11-12. There are also plans to introduce the IB's Primary Years Programme as an alternative to the CBSE in Grades 1-7.
CBSE subjects include Tamil, visual and performing arts, economics and accountancy.
IGCSE subjects include Hindi, French, Tamil, economics and accountancy. IBDP subjects include business and management, French, Hindi, Spanish and Tamil.
The school embraces GSF's education methodology, which it calls Nine Gems. According to GSF, this holistic learning programme “meets the changing needs of a growing child and his/her evolving personality”.
Specifically, these nine ‘gems’ are Academic Excellence, Collaborative & Project-Based Learning; Sports, Health & Fitness Excellence; Digital and Visual Arts; Personality Development, Speech & Drama; Creativity, Innovation and Problem solving; Entrepreneurship & Leadership Development; Universal Values, Ethics & Discipline; Community Connection, Care and Conserve and Life Skills, Career and Vocational Competencies. Reading between the lines, the Nine Gems model equips students with skills such as problem solving, critical, analytical and creative thinking, and teamwork. GIIS claims to be fusing the best of Eastern and Western education models, and its schools are certainly moving away from India’s traditional academic approach to education.
But that’s where the similarities end. SMART Campus promises to be a unique school, where the emphasis is very much on delivering a 21st century, NextGen education. In the school’s own words,
“…teaching and learning is not confined to classroom walls or limited to student-teacher relationships.”
It has virtual classrooms where students can ‘attend’ lectures held globally, digital classrooms equipped with iPads and SMART boards, and tools such as Augmented Reality (AR) to make “learning an interactive and fun experience”. State of the art technology runs throughout the school, from cashless payment to a facial recognition ID system. GIIS is also one of the first schools in the world to use the SPEDAS (Sports Performance Enhancing Data Analytics System), which captures students’ on-field performance through digital technology and provides analytics to help them improve. There’s even talk of having robots on campus to “assist teachers in carrying out minor administrative tasks like carrying books”.
There is a focus on teaching students about nature and environmental sustainability, and as well as having environment labs, the school is adopting green initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint such as using rainwater for utilities and emergencies.
Class sizes are on the larger size, with around 30-35 students per class.
Beyond the classroom
SMART hosts various masterclasses, covering everything from leadership through to sport and music, as well as entrepreneurial boot camps. Co-curricular activities (CCAs) range from bhangra, needlework and folk painting to a Bill Gates IT club, robotics and creative writing. These activities seem to be taken very seriously by the school, and students are strongly encouraged to take part. Like all GIIS schools, there’s a house system here that encourages healthy competition in music, dance, cultural activities and sport.
All class groups are taken on educational trips, local and international, and students have the opportunity to get involved with some impressive leadership initiatives.
GIIS is one of the biggest school groups offering the CBSE outside India. All existing students moved from its Queenstown all-through school to the new GIIS SMART campus in 2018, where they sat their CBSE exams in 2019.
The school average for the CBSE Grade 12 was 87.4% – slightly lower than last year’s all-time high average score of 88.1% – while 55.4% scored 90% and above. There was a 100% pass rate.
Out of the 74-strong cohort, three students scored 100% in three subjects; eighteen others were subject toppers, scoring 95% or above in a given subject.
• 16.2% scored 95% and above as compared to 12.7% in 2018
• 55.4% scored 90% and above as compared to 52.4% in 2018
• Science stream average: 89.01%
• Commerce stream average: 81.7%
The school average for the CBSE Grade 10 80-strong cohort increased from 84.4% in 2018 to 88% in 2019. There was a 100% pass rate, and 100% students scored an overall of 60% and above.
• 22.5% scored 95% and above as compared to 12.9% in 2018
• 55% scored 90% and above as compared to 46.2% in 2018
• 80% scored 80% and above compared to 69.7% in 2018
Overall, results at GIIS SMART are higher across the board when compared to 2018, and it is the top-performing CBSE school in Singapore.
SMART's 2019 IB cohort's average score matched the 2018 average of 37 points, which is well above the global average of 29.62. Raksha Aiyappan topped the 2019 cohort with a perfect score of 45; Ananya Joshi and Devika Menon were near perfect scorers with 44 points, while six students scored 43.
• Average score: 37
• Pass rate: NA
• Size of cohort: NA
• No. students scored 40 points and above: 29%
• No. students scored 35 points and above: 71%
• No. students achieved the bilingual diploma: NA
Read our roundup of Singapore's 2019 IB results here.
Principal Melissa Maria said, “We are happy that our students have done well and most of them will make their way to the top universities in the world. It’s great that there has been a significant increase in the overall cohort performance.”
Located in the north-east region of Singapore, GIIS SMART Campus has two green and sustainable, seven-storey buildings with more than 130 classrooms powered by 'virtual classroom' e-learning technology. Other facilities include a student radio studio, speech and drama studio, student group rooms for collaborative learning, a student lounge for studying and socialising, special interest zones, and small learning communities.
There is also an indoor area dedicated to indoor games such as table tennis, karate, taekwondo, and rock climbing, and a visitor centre where parents and visitors can meet with school teachers and staff.
Admission and fees
Tuition fees at all GIIS campuses in Singapore are standard, and they are considerably lower than most international schools in Singapore. Fees have not increased at the new SMART campus.
The academic year for students enrolling in Nursery - Grade 11 starts in April. For CBSE Grade 12 students the term starts in February, while for the IBDP cohort the term starts in July.
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