Part of Vietnam’s largest network of international schools, the all-through Singapore International School, Saigon South delivers a dual programme of education to locals and expats.
Singapore International School (SIS), Saigon South is one school with two streams of education from nursery through to sixth form. Located on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City, this school for 2 to 18-year-olds offers a well-rounded Vietnamese curriculum to local students, and an international curriculum including IGCSEs, A Levels, and the American College Test (ACT) to expats.
SIS Saigon South is part of the KinderWorld Education Group, the largest network of international schools in Vietnam. KinderWorld has 15 campuses across the country in the cities of Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Binh Duong New City, Vung Tau, Nha Trang, and Ha Long. This network of schools has a reputation for its Eastern values, Western education, and focus on developing global citizens. The benefits of being aligned with more than 20 other international schools across Asia include overseas study trips, student exchange programmes with partner schools in Singapore, and summer camps with partner schools in Singapore, Australia, and the US.
Founded in 2007, the school is located on the outskirts of the rural Binh Chanh district, close to District 7. As with all SIS schools, Saigon South combines Singaporean, Cambridge, and Australian curriculums to deliver a well-rounded international education that selects the ‘best bits’ from each country.
Head teacher Mark Priddis says,
“Common to our schools is a focus on Eastern values and Western education. This blending of values and education is quite unique and can’t be found anywhere else in the country.”
Testing includes Singapore’s iPSLE exams, IGCSEs, A/AS Levels, the American College Testing Programme, and the Australian Global Assessment Certificate. Students have a very unique pathway to university, but also one that is tailor-made for both English and non-English speaking children. All SIS schools follow a set of Schoolwide Learner Goals that focus on developing academic achievers, confident communicators, critical thinkers, IT literate students, and active, responsible citizens. Primary and secondary classes have a maximum class size of 25.
There are two streams of education at SIS Saigon South. The first offers an integrated programme to Vietnamese students from Years 1 – 9. Qualified local teachers teach the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training curriculum, while English, social studies, PE, music, and ICT are all taught by international, English-speaking teachers. This ‘international’ element gives local students a distinct advantage over their peers following the MOET curriculum at a government school. At the end of Year 9, Vietnamese students can join the international programme until Year 13.
Secondly, the school delivers an international programme that’s taught in English from nursery through to Year 13, and is both designed for and popular with HCMC’s growing expat population. The international programme begins with nursery classes for children aged three to six, which use a “blend of experiential and inquiry learning” to teach English, maths, science, ICT, motor skills, and environmental awareness.
Moving on to the primary and secondary schools (Years 1 – 8), and there’s an interesting blend of Singaporean and Western curriculums. Teaching of English, maths, and science is based on the Singaporean curriculum. Singapore tops the global Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) rankings in English, maths, and science – and SIS works towards Singapore's rigorous Primary School Leaving Exam (PSLE) to try and replicate these academic standards in Vietnam.
The school says,
“The combination is based on the fact that the Singapore curriculum is highly acclaimed throughout the world for its excellence in English, mathematics and science, while aspects of Australian curriculum documents are internationally recognised for their strength in creativity and thinking skills.”
Lessons in Studies of Society and Environment (SOSE), the arts, PE, and ICT are all developed from Western curriculums, such as the National Curriculum for England, which have a reputation for their focus on ‘soft skills’. International students have the choice of learning Vietnamese or Chinese, and from Year 5 they take part in the Australian-developed English Preparation Programme to improve their English skills.
In senior high school (Years 9 – 12), students work towards their IGCSEs. As well as studying English, maths, science, ICT, business studies, and global perspectives, they continue to learn Vietnamese or Chinese, and complete the English Preparation Programme. Students then study for A Levels and AS Levels in subjects including English language, English literature, maths, physics, sociology, and economics. Alternatively, they can choose to study the Global Assessment Certificate, a one-year university foundation programme that includes the American College Test (ACT), which is recognised by all universities in the US. Designed for students who do not have English as their first language, GAC provides seniors with the English language skills needed to study at any university worldwide.
Technology is integral to all lessons, and ICT skills and e-learning methods are included from nursery through to college in both streams of education.
Beyond the classroom
Although there’s a clear distinction between the two streams at SIS, there’s a concerted effort by the school to bring students together through a programme of extra-curricular activities, including homework clubs, academic study groups, sports clubs and competitive teams, and arts groups such as choir, theatre, and public speaking. SIS also runs various community-based initiatives, overseas trips, and major school events such as concerts, seasonal celebrations, and charity fairs. In addition, there’s a school-wide virtues programme that teaches all students 20 different virtues including generosity, integrity, and teamwork. The school says,
“We aspire to build young people of strong, ethical character who will make a positive contribution to the world in their future endeavours.”
All SIS students have an opportunity to spend one term in the academic year studying in one of the other campuses across the region, in various countries such as Australia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, and United States of America.
There are no published IGCSE or A Level results available for SIS Saigon South.
Located in HCMC’s Binh Chanh district, the Saigon South school has a purpose-built campus that includes arts and music rooms, science labs, computer rooms, multiple outdoor sports facilities, and a covered swimming pool.
Admission and fees
Foreign students can join the school’s international programme, while Vietnamese students have the option of studying the international or integrated programme. Tuition fees for the international programme are VND 341,670,000 for Year 1, VND 360,609,000 for Year 7, and VND 411,124,000 for Year 12.
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