The Global Indian International School's Queenstown campus has got the CBSE, IGCSE and International Baccalaureate curriculums covered. Thanks to its offering of low fees, small class sizes and above average results, it is one of the most popular Indian curriculum schools in the city.
Opened in 2004, Queenstown is the flagship campus of the Global Schools Foundation, and it is the only Global Indian International School (GIIS) school in Singapore to offer the IBDP. In less than 15 years, GIIS Queenstown has established itself as a school that focuses just as much on non-academic activities – sport, leadership, innovation and community service – as it does on exam results. Its low fees and small class sizes are also part of its appeal.
GIIS was Singapore’s first international school for Indian expats. From a single campus in 2002, the Global Indian International School (GIIS) has expanded to three locations within Singapore – and a network of more than 20 campuses across seven countries. Its oldest and most established Queenstown campus offers the most widespread Indian curriculum in Singapore, the CBSE Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). Students also follow international curricula including Montessori, the Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE), and the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IBDP).
The Queenstown campus is an all-through school taking students from two to 19 years: CBSE (Classes 1 to 12), IGCSE (Classes 8,9 and 10) and IBDP (Classes 11 and 12). There is a predominantly Indian student population of 4,000 across the three schools, and the teacher to student ratio at GIIS Queenstown is among the lowest in Singapore at 1:15.
From August 2018, students from the GIIS Queenstown and Balestier campuses will be relocating to the new GIIS SMART campus; the group's two other Singapore campuses, East Coast and Mountbatten, will continue to operate at their existing locations.
GISS is owned by the not-for-profit Global Schools Foundation [GSF], which is widely recognised for its highly structured and disciplined ethos. While the school could be described as strict in its enforcement of the student rulebook, it is also original in its use of daily yoga classes held by an experienced yogi for all students. In line with the Indian curriculum, the GIIS school year runs from April to April, and all new students are required to sit a written entrance exam from Class 1.
CBSE subjects include Tamil, visual and performing arts, economics and accountancy. As well as CBSE (National), GIIS has been offering the CBSE (International) curriculum since it was launched in 2010 as a pilot project. In line with a global directive, this should be discontinued from the 2017-18 year.
IGCSE subjects include Hindi, French, Tamil, economics and accountancy. IBDP subjects include business and management, French, Hindi, Spanish and Tamil.
Learning beyond academics
GIIS Queenstown is a self-contained school offering its own learning experience. The backbone for all three GIIS schools though is the Global Schools Foundation’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.
Beyond the classroom, the school hosts various masterclasses, covering everything from leadership through to sport and music, as well as entrepreneurial boot camps. In terms of technology, students learn robotics from Grade 2 and all students use iPads and laptops for learning; all teachers are Apple-certified.
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. Past events have included a Model United Nations (MUN) conference and peace ambassadors' training programme. There’s also an ongoing environmental awareness campaign called Greenlinks.
While GIIS Queenstown is not recognised as one of Singapore’s sportiest schools, it does have the facilities to run a very substantial sports programme. GIIS has opened Chandu Borde Global Cricket Academies (CBGCA) at other international campuses, but we’ve yet to see one here in Singapore.
Value for money?
Compared with other international schools in Singapore – but in line with other Indian curriculum schools on the island – GIIS’ fees are low. Annual fees range from approximately $21,000 for IGCSE and IBDP, and $18,000 for CBSE, which are at least $10,000 cheaper than many international schools here. Are you getting value for money though? Based on the school's results, IGCSE and IB are performing well but there’s still work to be done in CBSE (National).
In 2016, just over half of Queenstown’s CBSE (National) Class 10 scored a perfect Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 10, and more than 70% of the CBSE (International) Class 10 scored a perfect CGPA of 10; this means the student scored an A1 across all subjects. The school had an excellent average CGPA of 9.58 and high pass rates; 79% of CBSE (National) and nearly 93% of CBSE (International) students scored Grades A1 and A2. In the CBSE Class 12, there was a 100% pass rate, 48% scored 90% and above, and 25% had an overall score of 95% and above. Perfect scores were achieved in physics and chemistry.
GIIS Queenstown students achieved excellent results in the IGCSE Class 10 2016 exams. 100% of students passed and received an ICE Distinction or Merit, and nearly 60% of students scored an overall grade of A*. Top ranking subjects included additional mathematics, global perspectives, mathematics without coursework, and Tamil. Ten students were Cambridge Top in the World scorers in mathematics and Hindi.
At GIIS Queenstown, three students in the 2017-18 IB cohort scored the top score of 45 points, and the school average was 37 points; this is considerably higher than the global average of 29.78 and just above the Hong Kong average of 35.96.
This 32,000 sq m modern campus is located just a few minutes’ walk from the Queenstown MRT (East-West and Green lines). As you’d expect, the campus is well-equipped with wi-fi enabled classrooms, IT labs and sports courts. Facilities also include a library, multi-purpose auditorium, a cricket ground, music, yoga and dance studios, and video-conferencing facilities. A vegetarian menu is served in the canteen.
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