• international schools
How international schools are adapting and what do they want from education suppliers right now? By Diane Glass

I hosted a webinar this week which featured two of our field researchers; Sam Fraser based in Singapore and Stephanie Quayle who researches the schools in China. The feedback they shared on how international schools in East and South East Asia are managing during the impact of coronavirus was very informative.

Stephanie said that as the education closures progressed, many international schools in China developed and rolled out extensive e-learning programmes. “Teachers have been setting work and following the school timetable, with lesson plans for their classes and schools have been using a wide range of platforms: Microsoft Teams, Seesaw, Power School, Zoom and even WeChat,” she said. Stephanie explained that as the weeks of school closures have progressed, schools have realised that children were missing out on the social interaction of learning and, as a result, many teachers have adapted to deliver their online lessons in a way that was more like how they might work in their own classrooms; posting the activities and lesson plan for the session, and then spending time with the entire class to introduce the work, before switching to work with small groups or individuals.  Some schools have been using Teaching Assistants to support children in the virtual classroom too.

Sam mentioned the importance of student and staff wellbeing during this time. “Schools are responding to the higher levels of stress and disconnection for students, including virtual sessions with counsellors, increasing communication about wellbeing, connecting students both inside and outside of classes, group challenges revolving around fitness etc, and tutor periods still running to create structure. In terms of teacher wellbeing, schools want to make sure social connectedness is still occurring through video calls, team building, working groups, professional development and so on. One school has described wellbeing as being at the forefront of a lot of plans with daily check ins, weekly ratings of how staff are feeling, counsellor availability, and group activities like yoga.”

Here is some of the advice that Sam and Stephanie offered for education suppliers during the webinar:

  • A lot of companies have been inundating schools with free opportunities to trial products, however, many require lots of information upfront to access software. This is causing schools to back away from such products right now as their time is critical.
  • There is a need for new platforms to be simple to use and to come with a good level of support and guidance. Schools are responding well to programmes that integrate to existing MIS or offer a wide breadth of functionalities in order to keep platforms to a minimum number and so prevent confusion.
  • Some organisations that give access to learning resources are wavering subscription fees for the time being, several children's magazines have offered free access to a large amount of online content, and many museums are offering free virtual tours and online exhibits.
  • Any interactive learning apps which can help teachers are a massive benefit.
  • Normal ordering procedures and plans will have been interrupted and schools will be worried about getting deliveries on time now, so that any supplier who can guarantee delivery may well have a strong advantage on securing orders.
  • Schools will be looking for alternatives for the things that might not be possible for them to do in the next 12 months, like summer camps, school trips or international sporting competitions. Can suppliers offer an alternative that won’t involve international travel?
  • If some schools are having to consider fee refunds, and fee freezes, funding might be tighter than usual, and they will be looking for best value from suppliers.
  • How can educational suppliers support new schools planning to open in August or September 2020, many of whom may be looking for flexible suppliers who can more readily help them with some of the unique challenges that they might be facing? ISC Research is currently talking with these schools to get a better understanding of how the coronavirus has impacted them and will be publishing the details very soon.

You can access the full 45 minute webinar here: How international schools in East and South East Asia are responding to the implications of coronavirus


More intelligence about the international schools market as it manages and comes through the coronavirus pandemic is available from ISC Research. To find out more, please contact me via diane.glass@iscresearch.com