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A Step-by-Step Guide to Choosing Quality Private Education in Cambodia

Copy-of-Invictus-2022-OH-136.jpgFinding a school for your child is never easy. There are many different factors to take into consideration and it does not get any easier if you are moving into a totally new country and need to find an international school that fits your standards.

In Phnom Penh, private schools are gaining in popularity over public schools due to the increasing affluence of Cambodians and the affordability of international school education.

The benefits of private international schools include; classes carried out in English (by qualified Teachers who are native English speakers) and better tertiary education opportunities. The daily immersion in fluent native English gives students the best environment to learn the language quickly, providing them with an abundance of future career and education opportunities.

International Schools offering second language options such as Chinese, French and Khmer are also popular.

Well, if this sparked an interest and you want to look into private education, let's take a look at our unofficial guide to quality private education in Phnom Penh, Cambodia!

Common Curricula Offered by Private Schools in Cambodia

Curriculum systems are perhaps the most important thing when choosing a school for your children in Phnom Penh. In this section, you will find the most common curricula in Cambodia's private schools.

Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum

The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum (EYFS) is a play based approach to learning adopted by many countries over the world. The EYFS relates to the developmental and learning abilities of early years students. The EYFS curriculum was developed in the United Kingdom and is the majority curriculum adopted by preschools and kindergartens in Britain.

EYFS has a focus on three areas: play & exploration, active learning, creating & critical thinking. When it comes to learning, the children study literacy, mathematics, expressive arts, and understanding the world around them.

The focus is to create critical thinking and creative skills - and it's done through a good student-teacher interaction. The goals are to adopt language at an early stage.

International Primary Curriculum

The International Primary Curriculum, also known as IPC, Was created for students aged 6 to 11. The IPC offers ease of transfer between schools as students are able to benchmark their learning with the standardised curriculum

Students are backed by fully qualified teachers to get the best interpersonal, social research, and adaptation skills. It is useful for expatriate students in Phnom Penh that have to adapt to new surroundings now and then.

Cambridge Lower Secondary

The Cambridge Secondary Curriculum is a secondary education curriculum used to prepare students to be lifelong learners.

The teachers are fully qualified and they will provide students with the skills and knowledge of specialised subjects. The teachers are very devoted to their students and their families to make sure that the students meet the high standards required to pass their final exams.

Cambridge International A Levels

The exams for the A levels are taken in the last two years of high school, and they can be taken in the UK or anywhere in the world.

A-Levels consist of AS Papers and A-level subjects. AS papers are one-year subject courses and A-Level subjects are completed over two years.

In Cambodia private schools, the students will often take around 3 to 5 subjects for their finals per year. The subjects are chosen according to their desired career path.

Factors to Consider when Choosing a Private Education Provider in Cambodia

There are many great reasons why you should look towards changing from a public school to a private international school. In an international school, classes are often smaller and the teachers have more varied experience in education.

For expatriates, private or international schools in Phnom Penh are the only way to go because the students often do not speak the Khmer language. Despite the rising number of private schools in Phnom Penh, the majority of these institutions only offer primary education. At the secondary level, the options for private education are very limited.

A huge advantage of Cambodian international schools is that the teachers are extremely qualified and experienced educators. Because of that, the teachers have to be offered a competitive salary. That can further affect the cost of Cambodian private education in Phnom Penh.

If Cambodia's private education seems like the way to go for your children, below you will find factors to consider when you are thinking about international schools. So, let's get into the details!

Admission Fees

Admission fees are one of the first factors you need to keep in mind. The reality is, most schools have application fees that have to be fully paid before you even know whether your child will be accepted. If the child is accepted to study at the international school, you will need to pay an admission or enrollment deposit to secure a place for your child, as well as the entrance fees.

The entrance fees can vary a lot based on the school year your child is attending. The entrance fees are not the same for the primary years or Year 12. To top it all off, there are capital fees and ESL costs that may affect the price of your child's education.

The ESL costs are related to the additional tutoring for children that need more help with the English language. Moreover, capital fees have to be paid once per year to contribute financially to the school's facilities and various equipment.

Keep in mind that all that can prove to be rather expensive, without even taking into consideration tuition fees. When compared dollar for dollar, private schools in Phnom Penh, Cambodia are less expensive compared to Singapore or Dubai, but they can cost quite a bit nonetheless

How to Choose the Right Curriculum?

When it comes to international school curriculums, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. You should take into account the preferred academic path of your child and whether the private school offers an international diploma in 2021.

Internationally recognised diplomas give the possibility for studying at the university of foreign countries, which is truly something to keep in mind. Also, the learning style is an important factor - since some children could benefit from a learning technique that consists of more teacher involvement, and others could benefit from the independent style of learning.

What are the Administrative Procedures Involved?

When a family moves to Phnom Penh, going to an international school is commonly the only option for the children. That is especially true if the children only speak English or another foreign language.

So, as a parent, you will need to familiarise yourself with the administrative procedures of enrollment.

Here are some of the things most schools will require:
  • complete an application form;
  • attach a passport photo;
  • attach a photocopy of the child's passport;
  • attach the latest school reports and
  • pay the application fee.

The enrollment process may also consist of an entry assessment and a health check. A health check may require including a certain health document or vaccine records. Furthermore, the child will have to pass an ESL test if the English language is not the mother-tongue of the family. An ESL test in Phnom Penh consists of English writing, speaking, listening, and reading skill components.

Is My Child Eligible for Admission to a Private School?

When it comes to admissions, most private, international schools in Cambodia have a limited number of seats reserved for students in each class. If the class limit is reached, each new child that wishes to apply has to be put on the waiting list.

However, some things can help - for example, if an older sibling is already enrolled in that school. If the class is full, the child with an enrolled sibling will at least be placed on the top of the waiting list.

Some other factors affect admission - like limits on the number of children from different countries. Some schools like to keep a certain amount of different nationalities in one classroom. This usually happens in primary, but can happen in secondary education, too. This doesn't usually apply to university schooling in the country of Cambodia.
How Can Parents Determine if the Private School is Good?

As a parent, there are a few things that you can do to determine if a private educational institution is good for your child.

International schools in Cambodia often have school tours that could help you gain a better idea of what the school is like. Also, a school may offer a consultation with the teachers which can give greater visibility into what the school is all about, too!

Take A Virtual Tour

To conclude, you should consider the factors above to make the best, informed decision. What's more, Invictus International School offers virtual tours. Then, parents can get answers to all their inquiries, and the school offers the full ride - early childhood to secondary education!