Saigon International School: Which One to Choose?

International schools offer some of the best education in Vietnam. If you have a family and are planning on staying in the country long-term, consider some of these quality private international schools.

Did you move here with children? Do you plan on starting a family? Or are you looking to teach in Ho Chi Minh City? Then you will want to know about some of the best international schools available in the city and where to find them. There are around a dozen in total but we have picked a handful with a range of locations and fees. So, what is the most suitable Saigon international school for your children (or for yourself as a teacher)?

Private Versus Public

Firstly, some context: both private and public education is available in Saigon for children of all ages. However, as a foreigner living in Ho Chi Minh City, sending your child to an international school is by far the best option for several reasons.

Although public schools employ foreign teachers for English lessons, it would be incredibly difficult for foreign children to attend public school. Because all other lessons are taught in Vietnamese. Vietnam’s public-sector education system is also sadly not always of the best quality. As highlighted by InterNations, Government-initiated reforms are taking place across the country to modernize the curriculum. It should enable students to have a more rounded education. Currently, public schooling is very traditional. In fact, many, including this writer for Bloomberg, argue it does not allow students to develop more practical skills. Therefore, this can massively impact job prospects.

However, Private international schools employ both foreign and Vietnamese staff. Then, they teach all subjects in English, usually working from a global education curriculum. They may have high fees, but the quality of teaching and facilities available reflects these costs as well as the far more rounded education that your child is likely to experience.

District 2

Football activities in saigon international schools

International School of Ho Chi Minh City

International School of Ho Chi Minh City (ISHCMC) was the first international school to open in Saigon, in 1993. After that, the Secondary campus opened at the beginning of the 2017/18 academic year. ISHCMC has particularly strong values when it comes to students’ physical and mental welfare. For example, they practice 10 minutes of mindfulness every day.

Curriculum: Teaching in the English medium, the school is certified to provide all three International Baccalaureate Programs (Primary Years Program, Middle Years Program and the IB Diploma) for students ages 2 to 18 years.

Facilities: Firstly, indoor gymnasium, 25m – 6 lanes swimming pool, large outdoor pitch with artificial grass. Secondly, science labs, computer lab, performing arts studios, library media center, information technology labs, music rooms, art rooms. Health clinic, playground and a 350-seat theater.

Number of students: 1,000

Student-staff ratio: around 10:1 for Primary and Secondary and 8:1 for Early Years

Cost: Fees start at around US$18,000 per child per year.

Locations:

Australian International School Vietnam

With three schools for different ages located across District 2, Australian International School (AIS) caters for children aged from 18 months to 18 years. Of course, English is taught to all students, with curriculums catering both to native-speaking children and those who have English as a second language.

Curriculum: Authorized by the International Baccalaureate Organization to teach the Primary Years Program and Diploma Program. Accredited to offer the Cambridge International Examinations International General Certificate of Secondary Education in Year 11 and Checkpoint tests in Year 6 & Year 9.

Facilities: Firstly, three campuses with two libraries. Secondly, two 25m salt-water swimming pools, two “learn to swim” wading pools, two outdoor basketball and tennis courts. Further, two Astro-turfed soccer fields and a huge air-conditioned indoor gymnasium. In addition, art, theater, music and dance facilities, a large auditorium, rehearsal rooms and exhibition areas. Well-equipped music classrooms, dedicated computer labs with iMacs. Specially designed Kindergarten facilities, with their own enclosed and secure landscaped playgrounds.

Number of students: 1,100

Student-staff ratio: 14:1 for Primary and Secondary and 8:1 for Early Years.

Cost: The annual cost starts at around US$14,700 per child.

Locations:

British International School Ho Chi Minh City

The British International School (BIS) also has three campuses across District 2 of Saigon. Above all, it is the largest international school in Saigon. Hence, it attracts students from over 50 different countries worldwide.

Curriculum: British Style Curriculum, International Primary Curriculum & Music Curriculum in collaboration with world-renowned Juilliard School.

Facilities: Internet access in all classrooms, well-stocked libraries, music suites, computer suites. Indoor swimming pools, large sports halls, Dreams lab with STEAM facilities including a 3D printer. Eventually, large playgrounds, all-weather outdoor Astro-pitch, outdoor basketball court, and 250-seat theater.

Number of students: 2,145

Student-staff ratio: 11:1 for Primary and Secondary and 7:1 for early years.

Cost: An annual cost of around US$20,000 per child as a minimum is to be expected.

Locations:

The American School

The American School (TAS), a private Early Childhood to Grade 12 college preparatory school. Its mission is to educate the whole child incorporating mind, body, and spirit. The school provides the tools, opportunities, and human resources to inspire and promote inquiry and development of self-confidence.

Curriculum: Follows standards from America (including Common Core, AERO and Next Generation) with English-only instruction. It is created using the “Understanding by Design” format, a framework for improving student achievements.

Facilities: Air-conditioned classrooms with interactive whiteboards and LCD projectors, wireless internet access throughout the campuses. Moreover, two comprehensive libraries, computer science labs, dance, drama, and art studios, auditorium. Playground area, swimming pool, grass practice soccer field, basketball court, an iMac studio. Besides, they have canteens with Vietnamese and international menus.

Number of students: 550

Student-staff ratio: 8:1 for Early Childhood and Elementary School. 11:1 for Middle School and 10:1 for High school

Cost: Annual costs start at US$10,000.

Locations:

District 1

Pool in saigon international schools

American International School

Its slogan is “Innovative American Education. True Vietnamese Heritage.”

The American International School (AmIS) combines Western teaching with local values and foundations. The school caters for children from 18 months up to 18 years across two campuses.

Curriculum: Pre-kindergarten to grade 12 pupils receive teaching founded on an American-based curriculum. For those aged 16-19, the school is authorized by both the Advanced Placement Capstone Organization and International Baccalaureate Organization to provide a choice of pre-University diplomas.

Facilities: Firstly, a library at each campus with a combination of over 20,000 books. Science labs and technology centers all with high-speed WiFi. Well-equipped music suites including recording devices and pianos. Besides, outdoor playground and an indoor sports complex including full-sized interchangeable courts.

Number of students: Around 1,000

Student-staff ratio: Average of 8:1 across all ages

Cost: AmIS charge an annual fee of around US$13,000 per child.

Locations:

District 7

Libraries in saigon international schools

Saigon South International School

Saigon South International School (SSIS) is the only not-for-profit international school in Saigon. In other words, this means that there are no shareholders or partners. So, all money made goes straight back into the school to improve facilities, equipment, and staff. The school has developed and modernized enormously in the last decade. It’s now being recognized by Apple as a Distinguished School for its innovation and leadership.

Curriculum: Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, SSIS follows an American curriculum and also provides the International Baccalaureate Diploma for 16-19-year-olds.

Facilities: A 1:1 Apple Laptop Program provides all grade 4-12 children with their own computer. Large outdoor sports field and indoor sports courts, fully-functioning theater with access to lighting and sound operation, large well-stocked library.

Number of students: Around 1,000

Student-staff ratio: 10:1 across all ages

Cost: SSIS’s charges start from around US$16,000 per child per year.

Location: 78 Nguyen Duc Canh, Tan Phong Ward, District 7

Canadian International School

The Canadian International School’s (CIS) objective is to develop future generations of passionate, enthusiastic, creative, proactive students who persevere to successfully realize their goals.

Curriculum: The Canada-Vietnam Kindergarten offers the Vietnamese national curriculum with 50% of students’ study time delivered in English classes by Canadian teachers. The Bilingual Canadian International School offers the Vietnamese national curriculum with programming to develop students’ fluency in oral and written English. CIS delivers the Ontario Curriculum in an English immersion environment. In Grade 10, students can apply for the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program. Otherwise, they can continue in the completion of the Ontario Secondary School Diploma.

Facilities: A modern school with three campuses providing all educational disciplines. Besides, it includes a swimming pool, lab rooms, a movie theater, and a conference room.

Number of students: 700

Student-staff ratio: An average of 10:1

Cost: Including fees, annual tuition starts at around US$14,000.

Locations:

Renaissance International School Saigon

Renaissance (RISS) is a large, modern school with some incredible facilities. RISS is part of the Round Square education group. It’s a collection of more than 50 schools across five continents. As a result, it has internationalization and cultural awareness as a particularly strong value.

Curriculum: Based on the National Curriculum of England. It also offers a 2-year IGCSE qualification for 14-16-year-olds and the International Baccalaureate Diploma for 16-19-year-olds.

Facilities: A range of sports facilities including two swimming pools, Astro-turf soccer pitch, sports field, gym and two outdoor play areas. Moreover, class facilities include a theater and drama studio, computer and music suites, art studio, design and technology studio. Besides, a well-stocked library acts as the hub of the school.

Number of students: 500

Student-staff ratio: 9:1

Cost: Fees start from around US$16,500 per child per year.

Location: 74 Nguyen Thi Thap Street, District 7

Multi-district

Students at international school

The Asian International School

With seven campuses across HCMC, The Asian International School is one of the giants of private education in Saigon. It provides both International Primary School (IPS) and Middle and High School (AHS) Education. IPS was founded in 1999 and AHS in 2002, the latter since establishing links with several international Universities to offer students the opportunity to progress straight to Higher Education abroad after graduating.

Curriculum: Asian International School’s curriculum is based on the K-12 American Education Standards. It offers a range of subjects and levels from starter to intermediate for students from grade 1 to grade 12. They also offer a comprehensive summer program, either abroad or on-site.

Facilities: Firstly, four libraries across campuses with over 26,000 publications, science laboratories, fine art rooms, computer and laptop suites. Secondly, multi-function outdoor Astro-turf pitches, swimming pools. In addition: fully-equipped music room, and theater space.

Number of students: 4,200 across the seven campuses.

Student-staff ratio: Undisclosed

Cost: Per child per year including enrollment costs, fees start at around US$6,000. There are extra charges for both mandatory and optional extras such as textbooks, bus fees and food. Fee lists for Primary and High School are available.

Locations:

Wrap-Up

So, this is just a selection of some of Saigon’s International Schools which provide a range of curriculum styles and facilities for children growing up in Ho Chi Minh City. Whether you are looking to send your child to school or find work for yourself, there is plenty of choice for excellent quality International Schools here.