National vs International School: Which Is Best for Your Kids?

National vs International School

Origin and role of International Schools

The concept of international schools originated primarily to serve foreign families residing in India. These foreign families could be foreign ambassadors and government officials, foreign nationals working or doing business in India. Given the international travelling nature of their jobs, the education of children used to suffer from these frequent changes. International schools were launched to bring a certain degree of consistency and stability to the education curriculum for these individuals irrespective of the country they travelled to. In the early days, international schools were exclusively for foreign nationals, however with time and owing to the growing demand, international schools have opened their doors to local students as well. These are the students who are willing to pursue an international curriculum.

Characteristics of International Schools

The International Association of School Librarianship (IASL) defines guidelines for a school to qualify as an international school:

  • English should be the primary language for teaching
  • Schools must follow international curricula such as International Baccalaureate (IB), Cambridge International Examinations (CIE), International Primary Curriculum, or International General Certificate of Secondary Education.
  • International schools need to be accredited by the Council of British International Schools or the Council of International Schools.
  • Admissions to international schools should be purely on merit

International schools have exponentially grown in appeal over the last decade or so and have become a popular choice for parents looking to provide their children with the best possible education. In this blog, we will discuss the pros and cons of international schools to help parents and students make informed decisions about which school type would best suit their needs.

Benefits of International Schools

International Curriculum

International schools follow international curricula such as International Baccalaureate (IB), Cambridge International Examinations (CIE), International Primary Curriculum, or International General Certificate of Secondary Education. The curriculum is designed by global academic experts thus making it a reliable process to run the students through. The curriculum is designed keeping in mind the emerging global perspective.

Global Acceptance

The international curriculum lends itself to better global acceptance for students passing out from international schools. This is especially valuable to students who aspire to international universities for their secondary, undergraduate, or postgraduate education. This global acceptance also opens up avenues for a possible international career for students of international schools.

Cultural diversity – both students and teachers

Given the nature and role of international schools, they typically have a student body which comprises students from varied nationalities. This creates a diverse and enriching global environment at school for students. Students learn from each other about their cultures and folklore.

Foreign Languages

Considering the diverse nationalities of students in the student body, international schools provide opportunities for students to learn foreign languages such as French, German, Spanish, and many more. Learning a foreign language creates further opportunities for young students to immerse themselves in a global and diverse learning environment.

Students develop into global citizens

All of these factors combined serve the prime purpose of developing students into true global citizens. An appreciation of diverse international cultures and languages from a young age opens their thinking horizons and exposes them to enriching experiences and global friendships for a lifetime.

Congenial for further education abroad

Students evolve into global citizens thus making them suitable for pursuing further education in reputed foreign universities across the globe. A wide proportion of students from international schools transition to international universities to pursue their senior secondary, undergraduate, or postgraduate education.

Exposure to a wide range of activities

The international curriculum provides a strong emphasis on exposure thus leading to the holistic development of children. Students of international schools are exposed to a wide range of curricular and extracurricular activities. International schools have the resources and infrastructure to provide their students with such enriching experiences.

Lower students to teacher ratio

International schools are also known to practise lower students to teacher ratios as compared to most other schools. As a result, teachers can provide individual attention to students and their learning needs. This also makes the school resources easily accessible to students, which can sometimes emerge as a challenge in student-heavy national schools.

While the benefits of international schools are many, they do have certain disadvantages which need to be kept in mind while deciding whether to choose national schools or international schools.

Disadvantages of International Schools


  1. The local language is ignored
  2. Given the nature and role of international schools, it is logical that they can be a toll on the parents’ pockets. International schools are significantly more expensive as compared to national schools on average. This might make them unaffordable to most middle-class Indian families.

    Given the focus on international curriculum and languages, the regional Indian languages can get ignored. As a result, we are seeing a concern amongst parents that their children are excellent in English but lack fluency in Indian languages.

  3. Regional culture is ignored
  4. Another by-product of a global international curriculum is that the Indian and regional cultures often get ignored in international schools. Students gain a good understanding of international topics, however, lack in their exposure to regional history, culture, and folklore. This tends to alienate the students from their local roots which is a cause of grave concern for a vast segment of parents. National schools offer a curriculum that is tailored to the local culture, language, and customs. This provides students with an in-depth understanding of their home country’s history and culture.

  5. Develops a sense of elitism
  6. Given the “premium” and “international” nature of international schools, students tend to develop a sense of elitism. Students of international schools tend to alienate themselves from students of other schools. This comes as an undesirable hurdle in developing friendships and bonds with other children in society.

  7. Peer pressure due to students coming from affluent backgrounds
  8. Given the expensive nature of international schools, it is natural that most students come from affluent families. They have access to all the means and resources, thus leading to high degrees of peer pressure among the students. They develop urges to buy expensive items such as electronic gadgets, toys, games etc. This not only affects their personality development but could also be an additional financial burden on the parents.

  9. Acceptance in the Indian context
  10. While the prominence of international schools has grown over time, they are still limited when compared to other boards such as state boards, CBSE, and ISC/ICSE. Given the very different nature and curriculum of international schools, their acceptance is hesitant when it comes to other national schools, colleges and universities.

In the debate between National Vs International Schools, with all the associated benefits and disadvantages, international schools emerge as an option worth considering for parents while choosing the education journey of their children. EuroSchool consciously leverages the benefits of an international curriculum along with significant steps to mitigate the disadvantages thus bringing the best of education and development to its students.

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