ISHCMC Secondary School: Providing More Choices For Learners

Education - Saigon/HCMC: Jan. 2, 2019

ISHCMC Secondary School: Providing More Choices For Learners

As an educational leader and innovator at the top of its field in Vietnam for 25 years, International School Ho Chi Minh City (ISHCMC) has developed an approach centred around offering the maximum amount of choice for its secondary students. Whether through choosing from an extensive academic curriculum, exploring the variety spaces for study and collaboration, or trying the wide range of sporting and extracurricular options, ISHCMC students can truly discover and determining their own path for learning and growth.

ISHCMC’s ultimate goal is to provide students with the best possible education in Saigon, or anywhere, that offers the perfect start to adult life - preparing them for the academic rigours of university, the real-world demands of modern working life, and equipping them with necessary practical and social skills to be a positive member of a global society. Through its best practice secondary programmes, ISHCMC offers students a top-class learning experience with a rich depth of options, to help guide them in becoming well-rounded and productive individuals.

More Choices, Mindfulness and Personalised Pathways for ISHCMC Students

Emotional well-being is one of the cornerstones of ISHCMC’s goal to provide the best international school education in Ho Chi Minh City and Vietnam. Understanding that students at secondary level are entering a new and potentially confusing stage of their lives, the school prioritises holistic education and development. From periods of the day dedicated to mindfulness exercises, and specific areas for quiet reflection, to individually assigned advisors to support student needs – ISHCMC students are constantly given options and encouraged to decide for themselves how to look after their emotional state and enhance their mental capacity.

This attention to mindfulness is just one example of how ISHCMC is not afraid to pursue disruptive educational methods that are supported by modern research. It’s fair to say that traditional education has not typically placed great importance on the individual happiness of students, rather preferring to impose a more linear path in blanket fashion. However, ISHCMC is determined never to stand still - instead choosing to constantly challenge their young learners by looking beyond traditional educational norms.

ISHCMC’s aim to innovate includes understanding that the process of learning is a personal one and should lead to a unique journey for each learner. There are more than 30 IB diploma subjects to choose from, which means that instead of focusing on a standardised expected level of achievement, ISHCMC helps students to reflect on their own abilities and passions. The fact that students follow their own personalised pathways towards self-defined markers for success ensures that learners will graduate having found and cultivated the best and most fulfilled version of themselves.


In addition to this personalised approach, the inclusive nature of ISHCMC’s pioneering international school experience means that no student is left out or behind. For example, instead of selecting only high-achieving students to pursue more advanced programmes, ISHCMC allows any student to choose to follow the most rigorous option of the IB Diploma Programme (DP). The belief is that every student should have an equal opportunity to access the very best in education that the school has to offer, as long as they are motivated to do so. This fosters self-belief and ambition in students during a period in their lives when doubt and reticence can all too easily fester in a non-inclusive atmosphere.

International Quality Secondary Campus in Saigon

To achieve such a well-balanced education for its students, ISHCMC’s brand new (completed in January 2018), Secondary Campus in Saigon’s District 2 is “purpose-built”. This means that instead of simply being designed to look good, the school is also planned in a way that feels good to the community of educators and students who spend their days there. The campus was passionately designed by an educator who focused on promoting creativity, passion and learning excellence – encouraging collaboration alongside independent thinking and decision-making. The campus is also an important foundation of ISHCMC’s International Baccalaureate (IB) programmes - the most established of their kind in the city.

Modern, fully-equipped classrooms flank wide hallways, giving students and teachers plentiful space for educational and social interaction far beyond the limits of traditional, old-fashioned learning methods. Students can decide to meet in the numerous comfortable areas of these hallways, working together to take responsibility for their own growth, both with and independent of their teachers. The role of an ISHCMC educator is to inspire creativity and guide students toward independent inquiry to select their own path to answers and solutions. Inside the classrooms, interactive equipment and resources, walls and floors for brainstorming ideas, and flexible seating all further add to this atmosphere of positive collaboration and self-determination where learners are constantly challenged, yet also feel happy and at ease.

Leading International School Facilities in HCMC

When it comes to facilities, ISHCMC is a forerunner among the leading international schools in Ho Chi Minh City. Within its Secondary campus, the school boasts outstanding facilities in the spheres of sports, arts & culture, design & technology, and health & wellbeing. This provides an enormous amount of choice for students to follow their academic and extracurricular passions.


To promote athletic participation, the campus includes an 8-lane 25 metre swimming pool, rooftop football pitch with realistic artificial grass, NBA-sized basketball court (also suitable for other indoor sports), outdoor tennis courts, and a fitness centre where students can stay healthy and blow off steam anytime outside of their learning schedules. In relation to any of the leading international secondary schools in HCMC, the number of sporting options for students is second to none.

Since encouraging creativity is such a significant part of ISHCMC’s secondary school offering, it makes sense that performing and creative arts are greatly supported by facilities that include: a 350-seat theatre for professional-standard productions, performance rehearsal areas, multiple music practice rooms, and even professionally equipped music recording suites. All of this means that students have a variety of creative outlets to choose from and with which they can express themselves and hone new talents.

ISHCMC’s Learning Journey - Preparing for University

The learning facilities at ISHCMC are also top of the line – from design technology labs with 3D printers and high-tech tools, and decked out science labs, to an excellent media centre and library, and university-style lecture areas to help the transition for learners into higher education. This last example points further towards ISHCMC having the best secondary IB programmes in Ho Chi Minh City, as they provide a university-like experience - encouraging independent thinking and responsibility for their own choices, so that students progress to university feeling not shocked, but fully prepared and ready to hit the ground running.

Positioned as the top international secondary school in Saigon and Vietnam, ISHCMC is able to offer a fantastically well-rounded experience to its secondary students, as it prioritises personal development and the process of learning over purely academic outcomes. However, students are still able to achieve a high level of academic success; since there is such a wide range of curriculum options available at ISHCMC, learners can select subjects that are best suited to their passions and abilities.

So, ISHCMC students attain graduation results that are competitive on the world stage - shown by graduates from their IB Diploma Programme (DP) and Middle Years Programme (MYP) consistently scoring above international averages. In particular, ISHCMC IB DP graduate students have a 100% acceptance rate into universities around the world, including top institutions in the US, UK, Australia, Korea, and more. This falls perfectly in line with one of ISHCMC’s defining aims: to provide not only Vietnam’s best education and preparation for adult life, but to exceed the range of opportunities comparable to living anywhere in the world. Ultimately, how students take advantage of these opportunities is down to them.

Image source: ISHCMC