I just wanted to record my complaint against this school specifically and generally the culture of private education that I have observed since arriving in the Kingdom. I enrolled my child into KSIS based on recommendations from various local expatriates. However after spending a year observing the school I would make the following observations about the place.
There is no Educational standard anywhere, whereby the school is run solely on the basis that expatriates in general (non western primarily) being in awe of the English Speaking teachers and administrative staff and the primary purpose and intention of the parents is for their children to learn and be able to speak English fluently. Education takes a back seat here.
The Administrative staff and in particular, the Primary Principle Mrs. Janice, display a rather imperial and xenophobic air as they have learnt the value placed by the local culture on their nationality. This allows them to be exceptionally crude in their dealings with the parents, bordering on overt racism in some cases which I have personally observed.
Rules are made according to how lazy the staff members feel on a particular day. An example of this is the issuance of Child Enrollment Certificates, which are an absolute necessity for Expatriates working in organizations which offer children education allowances. Mrs. Janice, since becoming the Principle has decided that writing this standard letter once per year is too much for her staff and have simply told parent to just go away and that nothing will be provided by the school. This results in direct financial losses to parents as Children Education Allowances which can be substantial in some cases cannot be received. This again goes back to the crude attitude of the administrative staff and in particular Mrs. Janice, whereby she operates the school as her personal fiefdom.
Teachers are mostly bored housewives who have little or no interest in the kids education. My child was traumatized by her teacher who was an elderly British Lady and was off-sick most of the time due to her age. Lack of formal teacher training results in our children starting off by hating schools and the environments created for them in these schools. It must also be noted that 80 to 90 percent of teachers here are officially working illegally as no working Iqama (permits) is made available for them by the school.
Extortionate fees are made even more harrowing with cost of books and other events throughout the years. It must be noted that parents only get to the see the 'books' after the year is over, which turn out to be terribly binded pieces of paper in black and white print which in total wouldn't cost more that 20 to 30 Riyals, for which the school charges a 1000 Riyals.
There is no governance on offer and no standards are maintained for things like access to the school board and escalation of complaints. If you have a problem with the principle, your only option is to leave the school and forfeit the fees that you have paid in advance. The only decent options here are the authorized and recognized British or American Schools which are firstly very expensive and have limited intake per year so parents are stuck with godawful educational institutes.
The Ministry of Education in the Kingdom although registering the school has no interest in the educational standards and is only interested in periodic dress inspection carried out randomly throughout the year to ensure that teachers are not dressed in a vulgar manner. Education takes a back seat overall.
My recommendation to the parents thinking about KSIS is to carefully take in accord all these facts before putting their kids through money making schools like KSIS.
Any updates about this school during this year?
What schools you may recommend?
I might be a year late in replying, but the subject is worth it.
Personally I have been in Najd National School 10+ years ago, and I advice you not to even step by this school to check it. When I left this school, it was all Saudis and the education is in Arabic and Arab non-Saudi kids will not feel comfortable in it. Until now I have friends that tell me it became worse. Kids are being taught by un-qualified people.
The second I have been in is KAIS (King Abdulaziz International School). KAIS has a SABIS based system such as Choueifat International Schools standards. I studied in this school for 3 years from 2000-2003 and then moved to UAE and to a Choueifat school here in Sharjah, UAE. I didn't feel a difference in moving between the two schools since they have the same system and same books.
KAIS standards are really high, it prepares the student for any educational obstacles found in universities. This system has been there since 1886. I advice you go check this school.
As for KSIS, I totally agree with you.
I was really troubled to read of your experiences with schooling in riyadh - as a parent i know how hard it is to get the best for your child, sometimes i wonder if the schools WANT our children to do well - my son goes to a very wellknown school in jeddah, he's taking IGCSEs next year. he came home from school saying that all his friends are getting autology - i had no idea what it was, but when he finally persuaded me to sign him up, i was amazed that the school hadn't told us about it. we just have to rely on other parents or our kids to tell us about innovations like this.
i have no wonders about all that...once i ve been in meeting with her she almost looked at me while there...well, obviously she is v racist and just interested in her shoes trade mark...just beacuse i am not blonde enough to work there....
F.E.A - Thanks
Leila - Absolutely agree with your reply. All we want from the whole affair is decent and dependable education for our kids so that they have the best chances available to them through out their lives. But in Riyadh we are stuck between a rock and a hard place.
I'm not surprised by your complaints ; cause this is the case in most schools in KSA.
I applied for this school in particular. I had the experience, "the fluent English" and the Enthusiasm needed to deal with kindergarten age students. After a very impressive interview she asked me politely if I can take off my scarf at school (where men and women share the space) when I refused she called it off.
So better luck in your search for schools in Riyadh (BTW I'm just like you a frustrated parent who's looking for a decent education for her kids)
I'm sorry to hear about what happened to your child at this school.
Although I live in Jeddah, I was told by many people in Riyadh that Najd National School is the best school there. They have fixed rules and regulations that everyone follows including teachers.
I hope everything works out for you!