Family Picnic

ISD enjoyed our first all-family picnic last week. The kids played, the parents chatted, and we all ate delicious food. Thankfully the weather in Djibouti is getting quite pleasant and we were able to enjoy a lovely afternoon outside together. We look forward to continuing to build this diverse and family-friendly community.

Blended learning at ISD

Blended learning is defined as “A training curriculum that combines multiple types of media. Typically, blended learning refers to a combination of classroom-based training with self-paced e-learning”. This is the future of education today. Many of us have experienced some types of university or classroom based education that incorporates significant amount of time using the internet, videos, or non-teacher based input. It wasn't a part of my education as a child, but I didn't even have an e-mail address until college! We all see the pace of technological development increasing significantly over the last 20 years. Our children need to be much more tech-savvy than most of us.

Blended learning IS the future of high quality education. There are few schools you encounter that aren’t incorporating some aspect of online education as a part of their programs. Schools that don’t are falling behind because it is impossible for one person in the classroom to compete with all the knowledge that is out there at the fingertips of students.

However, there is no online substitute for ‘real’ world interactions, with all their subtle cultural cues, moments of inspiration, and social engagement. For me, I love the adage that more is ‘caught’ than ‘taught’. This truism conveys the significant reality that the personal interactions between people that ‘teach’ and transfer behaviors and knowledge are unreproduceable in online environments for the most part.

Thus, we blend the best of online knowledge and curriculum with great role models and positive social interaction in a classroom or school environment to get a system of education that produces young people who are technologically relevant, creative, problem solvers and socially conscientious, community engaged, noble people. This develops the whole person, as schools should.

Here are a couple of places that you can read up on to understand the blended learning we’ll be doing at International School of Djibouti:

http://partners.calverteducation.com/

https://www.khanacademy.org/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blended_learning

Have you encountered online education before? What was your experience, was it positive?

Accreditation and schools in Djibouti

One concern for parents when looking into the international school market is whether or not a school is ACCREDITED. This is a valid concern because accreditation is a way that schools are evaluated and shown to be of at least a basic standard of quality in their educational programs. Here are a number of organizations that international schools look to for accreditation:

New England association of schools and colleges 

Middle states association of colleges and schools

International Baccalaureate association

In Djibouti, when we talk about ‘accreditation’ it is important to compare the French educational track to the North American educational track. There is a significant difference between a North American international private school and the French international school system. Here are a few of the differences:

French system:

  • Uniform curriculum across schools
  • Accreditation (inspection) from governmental agency (ministry of education)
  • Overseen by government (ministry of foreign affairs and ministry of education)
  • BAC exam is the gateway to higher education and is administered by the ministry of education
  • Track based programs during HS

North American System:

  • Credit based formula for graduation
  • Individual differences between schools and districts across states and territories.
  • Accreditation from independent organizations (mostly private organizations or businesses).
  • Overseen by a board of directors locally, or by an international education organization, or both.
  • HS diploma is the gateway to higher education in combination with other placement exams like SAT or ACT that are administered by private organizations (not government).

And of course, many cultural differences for teachers, parents, and children

Are there differences that you have seen between North American and French education? Feel free to post or send me information on your ideas.

At ISD, accreditation is a very important process. For new schools like ours, this usually takes a number of years to complete. However, because of the blended learning model we are using for upper grades we will be able to offer a basic North American accreditation for students looking to go on to higher education.

About BLENDED LEARNING: check back next week for more info on this very interesting topic!

English School Options in Djibouti

As director of ISD, I believe it is the goal of educators to help people understand the realities around them.  I’m starting this blog to post ideas and information about education in the region and to give the English speaking community a place to communicate about their educational issues for their children. My hope is that parents are able to understand the realities of education and make good choices.

For starters, I’ve been getting a lot of questions from parents about all the international schools that are being established or that have existed in Djibouti. Three of the names are very similar, so you can see why there could be confusion. Please correct me if I have anything out of place in this post. Organizations are fluid and things like tuition and class offerings can change quickly. Here are your options for English based education for your children as far as I know:

1.      International School of Djibouti. Non-profit/non-religious. PreK-12. The office is located on Rue de Bourhan Bey, 500 meters away from Djibouti Telecom’s office and the Ministry of Education, the school will be in Haramous or Gabode, location to be announced soon. Tuition starting from ~$3,500 per year. American curriculum. Expatriate teachers. Website: www.internationalschoolofdjibouti.org

2.      International School of Africa: Djibouti. For-profit/non-religious. PreK-2. Office located in Ambouli on Rue de Nelson Mandela. Tuition document I found gave the idea that tuition starts around $6,000 or $7,000 per year. Can anyone confirm this? I’m not sure if this is for Djiboutians or for expatriates or if it is the same for everyone. They are building a property in Douda, behind the Italian military base. Trilingual education (French, English, Arabic) but focused on English. Website: http://www.lwis-hazmieh.com/default.aspx?MenuId=9

3.      Quality Schools International: International School of Djibouti. I think non-profit, but in a recent forum, they said they are somehow financially autonomous from the global QSI non-profit organization? Non-religious. PreK-8. Curriculum not clear to me (US or UK or their own). Contact their website for a location, somewhere in Haramous. Published tuition starting from around $20,000. Website: https://www.qsi.org/djibouti/djb

4.      Horn of Africa School. Non-profit/religious. Located at the Catholic Cathedral. Tuition around $1,000 per year (or less).  They follow a Kenyan curriculum. Teachers are mostly nuns from around Africa. K-6. No website.

5.      ‘Indian’ School. K-6. Sorry, I don’t know the actual name of this school and I don’t have a lot of information about it. I believe it is located in downtown Djibouti. Follows an Indian curriculum. Tuition is on the lower end (<$100 per month?). No website.

If you know of any other schools that are using English based education feel free to post here. If you have more information about these schools or need to correct any of the above information, please contact me.