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City Pass Guide

YOUR INSIDER'S SECONDARY SCHOOLS GUIDE

IN HO CHI MINH CITY 🇻🇳 SINCE 2008

SAIGON INSPIRATION EDUCATION SECONDARY SCHOOL BEST INTERNATIONAL SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN HO CHI MINH CITY

These propositions were last checked in July 2022. If you notice something to be improved, please send us your details. Thanks.

Top Tips & List of  Secondary Schools in HCMC

Find the perfect secondary school for your child in Ho Chi Minh City with our overview of the city’s premier international and bilingual secondary/high schools. Scroll down to find details about admission fees, curricula, notable features, and other useful details to make the process of choosing a school easier.

 

For anyone who has arrived recently in Ho Chi Minh City, the task of selecting a secondary/ high school for their children to attend is something of a challenge. Firstly, there are a number of excellent institutions to choose from. Secondly, each school tends to be presented in a similar way with ‘international standards’ ‘compassionate and inspirational teachers, and ‘world-class, modern facilities’ being very much the norm. 

Then, if you have one eye on college applications, many schools offer International Baccalaureate programs which are generally considered to be the most generally accepted international qualifications. If your child is not quite at the applying college level, then Cambridge programs or American Common Core programs are also frequently available. All of this is excellent news for the student but doesn’t really help with decision-making. 

So, how do you decide which school is best for your child? After years of living in Ho Chi Minh City, our advice will tend to lean closer to common sense than anything more statistical or evidence-based. 

 

Word of mouth

Much more valuable than the glossy brochures and flashy websites, getting an opinion firsthand from those who have experienced the school is often an invaluable starting point. Asking neighbors, colleagues, or members of social media networking groups can give you an insight into what is really going on in the school. If you can’t find any parents with a bad word to say about a school, that’s a great sign. Obviously, if the result is the reverse and you can’t find anyone with a good word to say, it might be worth seeking an alternative. 

The wide network of teachers in Saigon is also a good source of information as teachers definitely share their experiences with each other, and those that have been here for a year or two may have worked at more than one school. Luckily, many of Saigon’s secondary schools have excellent reputations and credentials to back it up, so you’re unlikely to hear any horror stories. But the difference between hearing about an excellent parent /faculty communication system and hearing about difficulties in getting facetime with a child’s teacher could be the difference between a memorable school experience, and one you want to forget. 

 

Visit the school

If you’ve got a long ‘shortlist’ of schools to check out, this might seem like a time-consuming task, but there really is no substitute for actually going onto the campus and getting a sense of the atmosphere at the school you are considering, However, our advice is to try and get a sense of what the school is really like, rather than how effective the sales and marketing team are! 

Most schools in Ho Chi Minh City will offer open days or, in some cases, community events (Christmas Fetes, etc) where you can take the chance to visit the school in a less formal situation. Try to speak to parents and students when you attend so that you get a ‘real’ response to your questions. In our experience, students are generally willing to talk openly about their experiences, most of which are very positive. They also tend to be very honest so if they think the sports facilities at their friends’ school are better, they’ll most likely tell you. And if your child is a sports fan, this may be a good way to whittle down that ‘long list’. 

When you visit the school, make sure that you also visit the classrooms, not just the admissions office. You will generally be able to tell how much effort and enjoyment has gone into decorating a study space. Find a room that makes you feel happy and encouraged, and you’re likely to find a school that will encourage your child too!

 

Find your fit

Visiting a school will also give you an insight into what your relationship with the school may be like. If your visit is strictly timetabled, with an endless series of Powerpoint presentations it may be a sign that the school will continue to be regimented once your child is enrolled. If you experience a relaxed evening, with a chance to chat with students and teachers and explore the campus in your own time, it is much more likely that the school is willing to communicate openly, with both parents and students. Choose the school that offers the type of relationship you prefer.

 

Don’t worry

With more and more scrutiny being placed on international schools and tuition fees on the increase, the truth is, that many of Ho Chi Minh City’s international schools offer a very high standard of education. The overwhelming majority of schools work very hard to provide your child with every chance to fulfill their potential, and many of them offer a variety of extra-curricular activities, enrichment classes, and facilities that compete with premium educational institutions across the world. 

Overall, our advice is to do the groundwork, find a school that you and your child like the look of, and then trust the staff to do what they are trained to do. Allow your child the opportunity to find what inspires them and success will likely follow. 

Listed below is a selection of some of Ho Chi Minh City’s top international secondary schools. For the latest information for 2021, please continue reading. 

AUSTRALIAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL VIETNAM (AIS)

East-West Highway, 264, Đ. Mai Chí Thọ, An Phú, Thủ Đức City, Vietnam / +84 1900 6940

190 Nguyễn Văn Hưởng, Thảo Điền, TP. Thủ Đức City, Vietnam / +84 1900 6940 /  aisvietnam.com

Budget: A nonrefundable application fee of VND 4,500,000 is payable at the time of application. Annual fees for secondary students range between VND 577,000,000 and VND 699,000,000 annually. Click here for full details.

Languages: English instruction.

Curriculum: IB, IGCSE, and IB Diploma Program.

Uniform: The school has a variety of uniform options all based on the school colors of blue and white. 

Unique feature: AIS offers an extensive range of facilities over the school’s three world-class campuses, with each of its classrooms and learning environments being spacious, well-resourced, and technologically rich. With an excellent reputation in HCMC, AIS students have been accepted to universities around the world, including Duke, Georgetown, Oxford, Queen Mary, and Warwick; the universities of British Columbia and Toronto in Canada; Keio, Waseda, and Sophia in Japan; and Seoul National University, Hanyang, Yonsei and SungKyunKwan in South Korea.

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THE INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF HO CHI MINH CITY (ISHCMC)

28 Võ Trường Toản, An Phú, Thu Duc City, Vietnam / +84 28 3898 9100

1 Xuân Thủy, Thảo Điền, Thu Duc City, Vietnam / +84 28 3898 9100 / ishcmc.com

 

Budget: An admission fee of VND 50,000,000 is required for all secondary applications. Annual school fees start at VND 688,900,000 for Grade 6, rising to VND 821,900,000 in Grade 12. For full details of fees and repayment schedules click here.

Languages: English instruction.

Curriculum: IB curriculum. 

Uniform: The school uniform is a blue sweater and white polo shirt featuring the school logo. 

Unique feature: ISHCMC is the first and most established school in the city. They consistently achieve high IB results that score well above the IB World Average. The distinguishing characteristic of the IB DP at ISHCMC is a focus on the whole educational experience of each student. The curriculum framework and its supporting structures and principles are designed to ensure that each student is exposed to a broad and balanced curriculum.

 

EUROPEAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL HO CHI MINH CITY (EIS)

730 F-G-K, Đ. Lê Văn Miến, Thảo Điền, Thủ Đức City, Vietnam / +84 28 7300 7257  / eishcmc.com info@eishcmc.com

 

Budget: An administration fee of VND 4,500,000 per student, acceptance fee of around VND 40,000,000 in grades 6 to 10, and VND 32,000,000 for Grades 11 and 12. Tuition fees start at VND 525,000,000 for Grade 6 and range up to VND 632,000,000 in Grade 12. Tuition can be paid in up to 10 installments. The school has a partnership with a few banks which allow 0% interest rate by credit card payment. For more information please see this fee page.

Languages: English instruction. Additional languages: German, French, Spanish, Korean, and Vietnamese.

Curriculum: International Baccalaureate (IB) Continuum. 

Uniform: The school uniform is a white polo shirt with orange details and a school logo. 

Unique feature: European International School offers a rich variety of extracurricular activities that allow students to engage in athletic, cultural, and artistic activities in a relaxed and fun atmosphere. IB Diploma Class of 2020 achieved a 100% pass rate, with an average point score of 35, which is 17% higher than the world average score. In addition, almost half of EIS graduates were offered university scholarships.

 

Renaissance International School Saigon

74 Nguyễn Thị Thập, Bình Thuận, D7, HCMC, Vietnam / +84 28 3773 3171 / renaissance.edu.vn

 

Budget: A nonrefundable application fee of VND 4,000,000 applies to each student when an application is made. A further one-time registration fee of VND 49,700,000 is payable when a place in the primary school is accepted. Annual tuition fees for secondary students start at VND 591,830,000. Please click here for more information.

Languages: English Instruction. Mother tongue tuition in Vietnamese and Korean. French and Chinese as additional languages. 

Curriculum: English National Curriculum (see website for specifics), IGCSE and IBDP. 

Uniform: School Uniform is required for all students but vary depending on age. For full details click here.

Unique feature: Renaissance International School Saigon has an impressive range of accreditations including CIS, FOBISIA, and Round Square. Recent graduates have been accepted to a variety of prestigious universities around the world, including King’s College London, the University of Leeds, University of Loughborough, North Eastern University, Savannah College of Art and Design, University of San Francisco, University of Arizona State, University of Hong Kong, Chinese University of Hong Kong, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Polytechnic, Ritsumeikan University, Korea University, Yonsei University and University of Seoul.

 

Vietnam Finland International School

01 Đ. D1, Tân Hưng, D7, HCMC, Vietnam / +84 903 996 232 / vfis.tdtu.edu.vn

 

Budget: A nonrefundable application fee of VND 4,500,000 for all secondary students is required as are security deposit fees, however, the cost varies depending on which program you enroll in. Annual fees for the International program start at VND 499,230,000, in grade 6 whilst fees for the bilingual program are significantly lower. For full details visit this page

Languages: English instruction. Some classes in Vietnamese.

Curriculum: VFIS offers two different programs, ‘International’ and ‘Bi-Lingual’. Both embrace a Finnish philosophy in the early years but the ‘International’ program develops to follow the IB approach when the student is older. 

Uniform: The school uniform is either a blue or white polo shirt featuring the school logo. 

Unique feature: VFIS is the first International School in Vietnam to be established under a Vietnamese state university (Ton Duc Thang University). It is also the only school in the country to follow the philosophy of ‘Education Finland’, a program operating under the guidance of the Finnish National Agency for Education.

 

Horizon International Bi-lingual School

6-6A 8 duong 44, Thảo Điền, Thu Duc City, Vietnam / +84 902 920 608 horizon.edu.vn/en

 

Budget: An admission fee of VND 25,000,000 is required for all secondary school applications. Annual school fees for the bilingual program start at VND 215,590,000 for secondary students. Visit the fees page for full details.

Languages: English and Vietnamese

Curriculum: Bilingual Program: Horizon International Bilingual School is the first school to introduce and apply the Bilingual Programme in Vietnam. The bilingual curriculum practices are carried out according to Vietnam’s Education law requirements. The aim of the Bilingual Programme is to nurture Vietnamese students according to the National Curriculum. The international program follows a Cambridge International Curriculum up to year 13. 

Uniform: Yes

Unique feature: HIBS has two rather unique features to consider. Firstly, it is recognized as being the oldest Bilingual school in Vietnam having opened in 2005. Second, it prioritizes a modern approach to lesson delivery, utilizing i-pads and a variety of apps to deliver lesson content. Maths and Science are areas of particular success to the school.

 

British International School, Ho Chi Minh City (BIS) 

246 Nguyễn Văn Hưởng Street, Thu Duc City, Vietnam / +84 28 3744 2335 /bis

 

Budget: Expect to pay a nonrefundable application Fee of VND3,500,000 and a one-off Registration fee of VND 70,800,000 per child for Secondary school children when accepting a place. Annual fees start at VND 637,900,000 (can be paid in installments) from Year 7 and range to VND 730,800,000 in Year 13. See this Fee Sheet for more information.

Languages: English instruction, Vietnamese as an extracurricular club. Plus French, Spanish, and Mandarin.

Curriculum: IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education), IBDP (International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme), International Primary Curriculum. Co-education.

Uniform: The school uniform is a white shirt or maroon polo with neutral-colored trousers or a skirt. 

Unique feature: Firmly established as the international school of choice in Ho Chi Minh City, the British International School is a selective, independent, and co-educational day school that provides a diverse international education measured by British standards. Their academic programs, exceptional teaching staff, and personalized approach to learning have fostered a strong reputation for delivering world-class results. Additionally, through their connection to the NAE family of schools, students of BIS HCMC are able to access unique, life-changing opportunities with world-leading institutions such as Juilliard, MIT, and UNICEF. The school has excellent specialist facilities including gymnasiums, music suites, theatre and auditoriums, and other specific spaces for art, dance, and design.

 

So there you have it, a relatively short, but exceptional, ‘short list’ of the top International Secondary Schools in Ho Chi Minh City. City PassGuide Education will continue to visit international schools to ensure the information listed here is up to date and as reliable as possible. 

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SAIGON INSPIRATION EDUCATION SECONDARY SCHOOL What is the International Baccalaureate?

 

For many, trying to decide what makes an ‘international education is an ongoing source of debate. Many educators believe that a truly ‘international education’ should broaden perspectives, build diverse connections and encourage innovation and ideas across borders.

 

In Vietnam, the demand for a ‘Western-style’ education continues to rise. Thanks to the rapid growth in the number of English-speaking international schools in the country, study programs such as the International Baccalaureate and Cambridge Assessment system, are transforming education standards across the country. 

 

By enrolling in a program like the International Baccalaureate, students become part of an authentic and progressive international community, where they are exposed to a variety of cultures, languages, and ideologies. Teachers encourage independent thinking, embrace diversity and nurture inclusivity so that when students graduate from school and step out into the world, they are prepared for the challenges that they face being a member of an international community in the 21st Century.

 

The History of The International Baccalaureate

When it was founded in the 1960s, the International Baccalaureate program was designed to help students achieve an internationally recognized diploma for swift entry into universities all around the world. Primarily designed with the children of diplomats and expatriates in mind, the IB diploma offered students a chance to be assessed in a consistent manner and to international standards. 

 

For 30 years, IB assessment was only available for older students, but by the early 1990’s the demand for a consistent international education program for younger children had increased and in 1994, the IB Middle Years Programme was introduced. Aimed at improving international education standards for students aged 11 to 16, the program was soon available in over 50 countries and paved the way for the third IB program (Primary Years) to follow 3 years later. 

 

Nowadays, there are more than 5,500 IB schools spread across 159 countries and 6 continents. Currently, there are 16 schools in Vietnam that offer recognized IB programs, with 12 of those international schools located in Ho Chi Minh City. 

 

The Advantages of Enrolling in an IB Programme in Vietnam

Based on recent scores in international olympiads, students who are enrolled in the standard Vietnamese curriculum are doing significantly better than they were a decade ago, particularly in subjects such as Math and Science. However, rote learning is still a feature of most Asian educational strategies, and for many students, the IB program offers an alternative method of instruction that is much more appealing and relevant to the modern world. 

 

Rather than being rigidly instructed by teachers, IB students are urged to think critically and address complex issues whilst controlling their own learning journey. IB students are taught to be culturally aware, and as they acquire a second or, in many cases, a third language, they also develop the ability to interact effectively in an increasingly globalized and swiftly transforming the world. The development of such soft skills regularly results in IB graduates being accepted into the highest-ranking colleges across the globe.

 

ib-students

In addition to the interactive teaching methods of an IB Programme, the provision of an immersive foreign language speaking environment is a further benefit of enrolling in an IB school. The language of instruction of most IB programs in Vietnam is English, but French and Spanish are also used globally. By studying in a wholly foreign language, students often graduate with exceptional language skills, far beyond those that can be developed by learning a second language as a side subject.

 

Ultimately, the benefits of studying the IB programs reach further than academic excellence. Based on official studies done by the International Baccalaureate, graduates of their programs display not only strong academic skills but are also socially competent and open-minded, and reflective.

 

An Overview of the Programmes

All three IB programs encourage personal development and academic achievement. They are designed to encourage students to think critically, ask the right questions, and think across disciplines. Each IB program also fosters diversity, curiosity, and a healthy appetite for learning.

 

The Primary Years Programme is designed for children aged 3 to 12. Activities are designed to nurture and develop young students into considerate, active participants in a lifelong journey of learning. The student-centered approach to education sees students take ownership of their education by working together with teachers to increase understanding and build their confidence and self-motivation.

 

Middle Years students aged 11 to 16 build on the Primary Years foundation to become internationally minded, active learners. The MYP program encourages students to make connections across their subjects and real-world experience. Project-based learning is a key component of middle years programs, which enables students to learn how to communicate effectively and provides them an opportunity to develop deeper understandings through thorough investigation. 

 

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Finally, the IB Diploma completes the period of formal education for students aged 16 to 19. The program is designed to develop graduates who have excellent breadth and depth of knowledge. By focusing on three core areas, and six subject groups, students are provided with a broad educational experience that challenges them to utilize the knowledge and skills that they have developed in earlier programs.

 

Study for IB Diploma students is built around three core elements:

– Theory of knowledge: students reflect on the nature of knowledge

– The extended essay: students conduct their own research to produce a 4,00o word paper.

– Creativity, activity, service: students complete a project based on these three concepts.

 

Students select subjects from key six subject groups, within which there are different subjects. Students are required to select at least one course from each group, with the study of a second course possible in all groups except for the arts. 

 

For more information about the options available in each subject, the group clicks on the links provided.

– Studies in language and literature

– Language acquisitionIndividuals and societies

– Sciences

– Mathematics

– The arts

 

Schools that offer an IB Programme in Ho Chi Minh City

Currently, there are more than 10 International Schools in Ho Chi Minh City which offer the IB program. Most of these schools are located in newer urban areas such as Saigon South (belonging to District 7) and Thu Duc City, formerly known as District 2.

 

For full details of each school visit our List of International Baccalaureate Schools in Ho Chi Minh City.

 

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SAIGON INSPIRATION EDUCATION SECONDARY SCHOOL Ho Chi Minh City Students Take Home Record Breaking IB results

 

On July 6th, students across the world woke up, nervously awaiting the results of their International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme assessments. After more than a year of disrupted studies and Covid-19-driven changes to the examination process, many students and teachers may have been worrying about seeing a dip in performance.

 

However, as students logged in to receive their results, it quickly became apparent that despite the odds, IB students had achieved the impossible and delivered better results than in previous years. The global average diploma scores hit 33.02 points in May 2021, up from 31.34 in May 2020 and 29.65 in May 2019.

 

During 2021, the International Baccalaureate Organisation had worked closely with schools and universities, to ensure that this year’s cohort would not be unduly affected by the ongoing disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, schools were offered a ‘dual route’ for assessing student performance.

 

In locations where traditional written examinations could be administered safely, students could take the ‘exam route’. In other locations, where the gathering of students for exams could not be managed safely, schools were able to use a combination of internal assessment coursework and teacher-predicted grades to assess student performance. Thankfully, in Vietnam, many schools were still able to take the exam route despite ongoing disruptions.

 

The results achieved by students at the 17 schools in Vietnam which offer IB Diploma Programmes, followed the global trend, with some schools reporting their best-ever performance. Across the country, 623 students received IB Diploma results and celebrated an average score of 36.8, 3.75 points above the global average.

 

For many of the IB Diploma schools in Ho Chi Minh City, there was even more to celebrate.

 

Australian International School students celebrated the school’s ‘best-ever IB results with a 100% pass rate and an average point total of 34.4. Two students also achieved an outstanding 44 out of a maximum of 45 points putting them in the top 1% of students worldwide.

 

British International School HCMC also reported record-breaking results with a remarkable average score of 40.3 points alongside a 100% pass rate. 17 students at BIS achieved 44 out of 45 points, and an additional six students went one step further to obtain a perfect 45 out of 45.

 

Saigon South International School in District 7 and European International School in Thao Dien, were also able to celebrate world-class results, each reporting a single student achieving the maximum score possible, along with a 100% pass rate.

 

In fact, many of the IB Diploma schools in Ho Chi Minh City reported that the percentage of students who scored 40 points or more was far higher than the global standard. The IBO reported that less than 10% of students achieved a score of 40 or more in May 2021’s examination sitting, whilst it is thought that approximately 30% of students in Ho Chi Minh City, were awarded this score.

 

At International School Ho Chi Minh City (ISHCMC), European International School (EIS), and American International School Vietnam (AISVN), where once again 100% pass rates were reported, more than 50% of students obtained a bilingual IB diploma.

 

The bilingual diploma, which requires candidates to perform well in two ‘language and literature subjects, or to perform well in language and literature subjects and an ‘individuals and societies’ or ‘science’ subject in another language, is often said to give students an advantage when applying to colleges and universities and when seeking employment. But it seems that whether they are walking away with a bilingual diploma or not, the future is certainly bright for Ho Chi Minh City’s class of 2021!

 

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) is a well-respected and widely accepted program of study that aims to develop students who have excellent breadth and depth of knowledge. The IB Diploma is open to any student aged 16 to 19, at schools that have been authorized to implement the program. It is accepted by higher education institutions across the globe, including world-leading universities such as Stanford, Oxford, Cambridge, and MIT.

 

There are currently around 5,500 schools offering 7,400 IB programs in 159 countries. For more information about the program, please read ‘What is the International Baccalaureate?’ in the CityPassGuide: Education resources section.

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