International education system: 4 key factors every global mobility manager should consider
by Edufax, on Jul 27, 2020 3:46:46 PM
When moving across borders, many families believe the international education system offers their children only one viable option: an international school. But nothing could be further from the truth. As a global mobility manager, you need to take a range of factors into account if you want to provide international hires and their families with a solid, comprehensive recommendation regarding education solutions. In this blog post, we'll highlight the four most important ones!
1. Catchment areas
This regulation is not common across the international education system, but it's definitely one you should be aware of. What it means is that children have to attend the school closest to their residential home address. Applications are centralized, and those living nearest to the school usually get priority admission.
Bear in mind that the rules differ per location. Some countries allow parents to apply to schools outside catchment areas, while others strictly forbid them to do so.
If a family relocates to a country where it's recommended to enroll their child in a public school, catchment areas need to be taken into account, since the family will need to provide proof of residence in the country as part of the application process.
2. Cut-off dates
When cut-off dates apply, children are placed in a particular grade based on their date of birth. Again, this is not common across the international education system. This means families should understand any differences between their home country and host location.
Cut-off dates comes with the risk of backward placement due to a child's date of birth. If that's the case, it might be a reason to enroll the child in a private school, where cut-off dates are usually more flexible.
3. National examinations
At a certain age, all students need to take national examinations – either to progress from primary to secondary education or to graduate. It's important to know how this works in the host location, as countries have their own rules for national examinations. They might be taken in primary or in lower secondary school.
When a child is young, national examinations usually aim to monitor their development. But in later years of education, they can play a crucial role in determining a child's academic future (this is the case in the Netherlands and in Switzerland, for example). All the more reason for families to take national examinations seriously. When a child is still getting used to a new language of instruction and national examinations are imminent, chances are that the child's scores will not be an accurate reflection of their potential. This is a language proficiency problem that can be avoided if taken into consideration from the get-go.
4. International recognition of secondary school diplomas
There is no such thing as one overarching international education system, so not all high school degrees hold the same value across the globe. Higher education institutes set their own admission requirements regarding recognized high school diplomas.
So, if a family wants a child to attend university in a country where they didn't graduate, they need to be aware of the specific admission requirements for students holding an international high school diploma. Additional steps might be required. If, for example, someone holds a Spanish high school diploma (Bachillerato), a Dutch research university won't admit them, as it is equivalent to the Dutch senior secondary school ('havo') diploma.
Navigating the international education system: don't go the distance alone
Providing tailored educational advice to families that move across borders requires many miles of experience. The international education system is as varied as it is complex.
Education consultancy companies can significantly unburden global mobility managers in this regard. Families, employers, and schools have relied on Edufax since 1992. Want to discuss the opportunities? Don't hesitate to contact us. Let's go the distance together!