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Expat Parents’ International Education Worries are Misplaced

One of the biggest concerns parents face when they contemplate or plan a move abroad relates to where they will educate their children.  Depending on the country choice, options vary from local state schools to international schools, or from home schooling to boarding schools.  No one option is always the right option – a great deal depends on the child in question for example…

The worry expat parents face and the choice they ultimately make comes down to a number of different factors – from affordability to the standard of schooling available in any one institution for example.  However, as we will show, worrying about where you’ll school your child when you move abroad should probably be the least of your concerns!

According to two separate reports, business leaders in the UK have vociferously stated that they’re not happy with the quality of education in Britain, and that students are leaving school or university with none of the skills necessary to work in a real business environment.  However, opinion is divided about how best to skill up British young people and whether they need more or less vocational training for example.  But at least one thing is clear though, it’s how a child is educated not where that really matters…and expatriate children have a real advantage…

How is Education in the UK Allegedly Failing British Students?

The government commissioned Wolf Review of British education has come out in favour of scaling back the amount of vocational training offered to children in the UK – rather it has suggested that more emphasis should be placed on academic study.  There is certainly a general consensus of opinion in Britain that exams in schools have become much easier – and that therefore, the qualifications children are leaving school with are becoming less meaningful.

Apparently the Wolf Review backs this commonly held feeling up with key research and fact…

Despite taking the absolute opposite final position, a subsequent report by Pearson, (an education based business), also finds that there is a dearth in terms of the skills and qualifications children are leaving school with.

(Pearson has been accused of producing their report as a reaction to the Wolf Review – because as an educational publisher they have likely profited from selling vocational learning material and exams to schools.  Therefore of course they would be very much against the findings of the Wolf Review which wishes to see a return to academia rather than an extension of skills based learning.)

Unsurprisingly, in conclusion the Pearson survey has suggested the opposite of the Wolf Review – it finds that key industries such as aerospace, engineering and IT are actually suffering as a result of a dearth in practical skills being learned by school age children and college students.

The president of Pearson is quoted as saying: “Young people need to have an understanding of the context that business operates in and be able to apply their learning.  Communication skills, team working, eye contact and [positive] body language are all the skills you get in the course of practical learning.”

So what can we conclude from all of this?  Ultimately that British children are not leaving school with either the practical skills or the academic qualifications they need to succeed in business.

What Comfort Can Expatriate Parents Take from These Findings?

It’s a very well known fact that expat children benefit on multiple levels from their experiences living abroad.  In learning to integrate for example, children have to become effective communicators, they have to learn to listen and observe and adapt – key skills required in business in adult life.

Children who enter a foreign school environment have to further adapt to new ways of teaching and learning and behaving…and many children also have to adapt to a second or third language.  Key areas of the brain are stimulated in expatriate children which can help them to advance and develop far more quickly and broadly than their peers and friends who remain in the UK.

Even children who are schooled from home or at an international school, where they are taught through the medium of English, have to adapt and learn when it comes their new nation, the people around them, the new culture, religion and perhaps language.

All of these are exceptionally valuable skills that can help an expat child advance far further and far more quickly than if they had remained living and learning in the UK.

To be a valuable member of a team in a business in later life it cannot but help that an individual has travelled, lived abroad, experienced different ways of learning and working, has adapted to integrate and has successfully graduated school and perhaps college or university abroad.

Expatriate parents should therefore take great comfort in the fact that they’re likely to be equipping their children with both the practical and academic skills and qualifications really necessary in this day and age, simply by taking them to live abroad.

And Finally

International recruitment giant Hays has listed the top 10 jobs/skills in demand this year; if expat parents want their children to get even further ahead they can start aligning their schooling and future studies accordingly!

IT developer, finance director, risk professional, energy engineer, HR manager, lawyer, head teacher, medical liaison officer, accountant and technical claims officer in personal injury…or in other words, IT, banking, accounting, finance, insurance, engineering, medicine and law.

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