If you move to Manila with children, obviously the first thing you need to know about is what the schools are like. Here is a quick review of some of the different international schools in Manila.
The International School of Manila (ISM), located in Fort Bonifacio, is one of the best and is based on the American system, while the student population is a good mixture of foreign nationals from different countries and the faculty are either from the US or are US-trained. It has fantastic facilities – some of the best around – great security, and is in a practical location as far as dropping off or picking up is concerned.
The British School of Manila (BSM), just around the corner from ISM and based on the English system, has a student population that is varied, with lots of different nationalities represented, and most of the faculty is from the UK. The facilities are on a par with ISM, the school is very accessible, and academic results are excellent.
Brent International School of Manila, located just south of the city center along the South Luzon Expressway, is based on an international curriculum, and the student population has a good mix of foreign nationals, but the majority are Filipinos, with many sons and daughters of local sports and movie stars enrolled here. The best place to send your kids to if you live in Alabang.
The European International School is actually split in two, with one school being German and the other being French. It’s located in Parañaque, just south of Makati. It’s not in a great residential area, so most students live in Makati or elsewhere, from where the school bus to and from can take as much as an hour in traffic. These are, however, the only French- and German-speaking schools here.
In the Bonifacio area is where you’ll find the three ‘Asian’ schools: the Chinese School of Manila is based on an international curriculum that blends western and Chinese cultures, as well as English and Mandarin (all students have to attend Mandarin classes, for example), and is cheaper than the American and British schools; the Manila Japanese School is very accessible, is based on the Japanese curriculum, and all the students are either Japanese or Filipino-Japanese; and the Korean International School is very similar in that it is completely based on the Korean curriculum and all the students and faculty are Korean.
Finally, the Fountain International School is located in Greenhills, San Juan, and it has an international curriculum, the faculty is mostly Filipino – as are the students – and, while the prices are very competitive, the facilities are quite limited. The Mahatma Ghandi International School is located in Pasay, it’s similar to Fountain in that it has limited facilities and very affordable rates, and the students are a mixture of Filipinos, Koreans and Indians, as well as a smattering of other nationalities.
Nowadays, the school system in Manila is as good as anywhere else in Asia and, depending on your budget or preference, you do have good choice.