Diaspora International Education | Why Choose the International School of Uganda (ISU) By Daniel Todd

Posted April 1, 2019 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Diaspora International Education ~ 13,556 views


Why Choose the IB? – Daniel Todd, ISU’s Junior School Principal — The International School of Uganda (ISU) is a not-for-profit, parent owned school, offering the International Baccalaureate programmes for students 3 to 19 years old. As the International Baccalaureate (IB) celebrates its 50th year it is an opportunity to reflect on why parents choose the IB. I have worked with the IB for 13 years, as a teacher, coordinator, college counselor, principal and parent. To answer the question of why choose the IB, I could speak about the rigor and holistic nature of the programmes, or the fact that IB students can be accelerated to the second year of university, or that they arrive at university better trained in academic research, writing and study. However, the reason to choose the IB is more than the academic success it’s students are known for.

To understand why you should choose the IB, it would be helpful to start with the end in mind. What is our hope for our children at the end of the educational journey? To get the highest grades possible? To get into the best universities? To get a great job? Herein lies the difference between the IB and other curricula. The IB explicitly focuses on learning for life, not just success in the next hurdle. Its aim is to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world. In fact, there isn’t an end to the educational journey. Its purpose is about who our children will become, not just what they can do or understand.

I was once asked by a prospective family why they should choose the IB over an alternative curriculum offered here in Kampala. I explained that the alternative curriculum would very likely enable their child to succeed in getting entry to a good university. But the IB is not only about preparing for the next step, it’s about preparing for life. Our students illustrate this to us every day. Yesterday a nine-year-old girl asked myself and my colleague if they could play after eating their lunch. My colleague responded, “Yes, it’s fine even though it is not yet time.” The child turned, looked at her own watch, and replied “It’s ok, we still have five more minutes to eat, I’ll wait.” This action illustrated one of those ten IB goals of being principled. Even though her teachers said it was fine, she felt she should honour the lunch agreement.

Children in the IB programmes are expected to live out their learning. They are given freedom and encouragement to make choices for the betterment of their society. Not because they have to, but because they want to. The curriculum, the classroom and the school day is driven by the children’s ideas, needs and interests. Education is not something that moulds the child, it is something that they can mould. Their ideas and thoughts are regarded with high respect and consideration, empowering them to own their learning, make decisions and take responsibility for their actions.

Education has often been tasked with the challenge of creating law abiding, disciplined citizens who are trained for the workplace. However, these traditional structures can often just create compliance. And that compliance creates individuals who are not trained to question, to take risks or consider “what if?”. They are not encouraged to think creatively to solve today’s complex problems, nor are they encouraged to take risks to challenge the status quo or take action to speak up for injustices in society or the abuse of the environment.

About the International School — ISU is located on a green 33-acre purpose-built campus in the quiet Kampala neighborhood of Lubowa. It has been at the forefront of international education in Uganda for over 51 years. Our international community consists of over 500 students comprising of over 50 different nationalities. ISU has 65 full-time qualified and experienced teachers, from around the world including Uganda. Almost half of the teachers hold Masters or other postgraduate degrees.

To mould balanced individuals, students participate in a range of after school activities. They participate in local (ISSAK) and international (ISSEA) sports and arts events, and are involved in service activities at school and the wider community. ISU founded the Ugandan chapter of Model United Nations (MUN) and has hosted it for the last four years.

ISU is an inclusive school, meaning we provide learning support for students with special needs, gifted and talented students. We have support in the regular classrooms for them, and also have special classes where we work on skills they may be having trouble with.

We are convinced that all students can achieve beyond their expectations through being challenged, working hard and with the faculty’s belief in their ability to do so. We learn together to unlock opportunities, for our students, in an ever-changing world.  If you want your child to succeed in education, choose a school that demonstrates successful admission to great universities. If you want your child to succeed in life, choose the IB.

For more information about IB at ISU, please email Sue Farmer, ISU’s Admissions Director,, visit our website at or or call on +256 757 754808.  ISU offers financial assistance for self-paying families. Visitors are always welcome to the campus.  

About the Author

Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.


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