[VINSCHOOL TALK] with Mr. Stuart McLay – Director of Education Quality Assurance & Accreditation
Since 2019, a number of Vinschools have been recognized as members of the Council of International Schools (CIS). The Vinschool Education System is committed to applying and complying with the 45 criteria of CIS standards. So far, Vinschool is proud to have 6 schools, Vinschool Times City, The Harmony, Central Park, Green Bay, Thang Long, and Gardenia that have successfully achieved membership and Vinschool Imperia has its membership evaluation scheduled for October 2021.
What does it mean to be a CIS accredited school and how important is it for Vinschool to achieve this goal?
We had a conversation with Mr. Stuart McLay – Director of Education Quality Assurance & Accreditation from the Vinschool Education System to share with us his thoughts on the value and impact of the CIS accreditation process.
Q: There are many international educational accreditation organizations in the world, but Vinschool has chosen to become a CIS member and set the goal of being accredited by CIS. Why is Vinschool aiming for this goal?
As many of you will be aware, the Vinschool Education System is committed to continual self-improvement through the lens of the Council of International Schools International Accreditation Framework.
There are a number of accreditation and inspection agencies offering services to schools across the globe, but the Council of International Schools (CIS) stands out as a leader in its field. CIS is a global non-profit membership organization with strong ideals including a desire to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to pursue their lives as global citizens and a commitment to high-quality international education. The quality and rigor of CIS International Accreditation is recognized by ministries, departments of education, and universities around the world as a mark of quality assurance. These important characteristics mean that CIS is an ideal partner that provides an excellent match for our Vinschools Vision and Mission.
CIS set high standards of professional performance in international education for their members to be a CIS accredited school. At present, we have a number of individual Vinschools who are on a journey towards full accreditation status with CIS. The journey itself is an exacting one that requires each school to undertake a rigorous evaluation against internationally agreed standards which speak to all aspects of school life incorporated within eight interconnected domains relating to each school’s guiding statements; curriculum; teaching and assessing for learning; support of well-being and so on.
The CIS evaluation framework includes 8 domains, with 45 standards
Q: After becoming a member of CIS, what is the next stage of the process?
Being recognized as a member of the CIS is just the beginning. We aim to receive CIS International Accreditation. Currently, there are nearly 600 schools around the world that have achieved accredited status with CIS, and no intuitions in Vietnam have got this certification.
At present, we have a number of individual Vinschools who are on a journey towards full accreditation status with CIS. The journey itself is an exacting one that requires each school to undertake a rigorous evaluation against internationally agreed standards which speak to all aspects of school life incorporated within eight interconnected domains. The CIS International Accreditation Framework combines a unique blend of support and challenge focused on a school’s development, and schools are evaluated through a peer-based model that brings together international educators from across the world of CIS-accredited schools.
The 5-year CIS Accreditation Cycle
The final award of CIS accreditation shows that the school has achieved high standards of professional performance in international education and has a commitment to continuous improvement. Success for Vinschools in this context will place us in the upper echelons of schools in Vietnam and across the world, but its impact will be much more keenly felt by our constituents
Achieving CIS accreditation sends a clear message to parents, who naturally want to know that their children are being educated through a program that will allow them to fulfill their potential; for staff, it makes clear that they are, or will be working in an environment that aligns with best-practice international standards that will support their own career development; for school leaders and governors, it offers both support and reassurance that the school is mission-driven and vision-led; and for students, it offers a guarantee that they are developing within a student-centered environment focused on their learning and well-being.
Q – How are our schools progressing on their journey towards CIS accreditation?
With less than 600 schools around the world have achieved accredited status with CIS, this is a challenging journey, but the award of accreditation clearly matches our own aspirations in that it identifies a school that always strives for excellence.
With systematic and synchronous investment, Vinschool is on the progressive schedule that has seen significant breakthroughs on our accreditation journey. Whilst there remains significant work to do in the coming months, three schools; Vinschool Times City, Vinschool The Harmony, and Vinschool Central Park, have their Team Evaluations scheduled for February/March 2022 and therefore stand on the precipice of making history as the first Vinschools to be accredited by CIS.
In conclusion, we should not forget that seeking external validation of our schools is not a formal or legal requirement in Vietnam. We have embarked on this journey because we understand that being open to regular evaluation against a broad set of international benchmarks will allow us to constantly deliver improvements in the best interests of our students.
Director of Education Quality Assurance & Accreditation
The Council of International Schools (CIS) is a global non-profit membership organization committed to high-quality education with 740 schools and 610 colleges and universities representing 123 countries since 1970. This organization has developed a system of rigorous accreditation standards that cover all of the important activities of a school. CIS also conducts periodic audits to ensure that accredited schools continuously maintain quality according to CIS standards.