By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
The International School of Macao (TIS) is planning to open its Canadian curriculum to more young students of different nationalities by establishing the city’s first secondary co-educational boarding facility.
For head of schools Howard Stribbell, the decision to open a boarding school came quite “naturally”.
“It allows us to open the programs up to more students both from inside and outside of Macau. We have some students whose parents work quite a bit or are usually travelling and so they’re looking for an opportunity for their children to attend a boarding school,” he told the Macau Daily Times in an interview yesterday.
“We now have three graduating classes which prove that our students are going to universities all over the world. We think we have great programs and teachers,” he added.
The permanent property which will be able to provide boarding facilities for up to 300 students between Grade 7 and 12 and be located on the green field right next to the current TIS premises is expected to begin construction “in a year and open the doors in September 2013”, according to Stribbell.
The six-storey high facility will also house a swimming pool and a gymnasium, and also be connected to the TIS building, where the head of schools disclosed that over MOP 3 million is to be invested into a new kitchen and cafeteria this summer.
During the next two academic years, the boarding school will temporarily be situated in a dedicated wing of the residences of the Macau University of Science and Technology (MUST), which is less than three minutes walk from the TIS property.
Applications for boarders have already begun and places are limited to about 50 before 2013 but subject to response, Stribbell told the MDTimes.
There are two main options for boarding – full boarding seven days per week or weekly boarding of five days per week.
“The five-day program enables students to go home on weekends whether it is in Macau, Hong Kong or even Guangzhou,” Stribbell said.
“The boarding school provides a good option for Macau families who are looking at sending their children to a boarding school overseas. They can get all the benefits of a boarding school, learn to be independent, work together with their peers and be away from mum and dad but they’re not so far away or on the other side of the ocean,” he pointed out.
To attract more local students, the head of schools revealed that TIS is going to introduce a four-year intensive English program in the 2011/12 academic year.
“Since we’re looking at accepting students from more areas, the new program will allow students to come next year to do Grade 10 and do their senior high school [Grade 10 – 12] in four years instead of three years,” he explained.
Apart from Macau, Stribbell said TIS is also receiving “a lot of interest” from expat families who live in mainland China, adding that he believes Hong Kong families will be attracted to its boarding facility as well because of “the few international school seats in Hong Kong” and the lower fees TIS offers.