SISD – A school that celebrates diversity and individuality

The Swiss International Scientific School in Dubai (SISD) has a bold aim to teach the game changers and influential leaders of tomorrow using its International Baccalaureate curriculum and its mission statement as Dubai’s first multilingual school.

Since opening admissions in early February 2015, The Swiss International Scientific School in Dubai (SISD), Dubai’s first ever private school to offer multilingual education in French, German, English and Arabic, has had an overwhelming response with over 640 students currently enrolled. This year the school had an impressive 98% re-enrolment of pupils, adding to the academic institution’s prestige in the UAE.

The school attributes a lot of its success to the diversity of its student and staff body. SISD has students from 57 different nationalities with 46 languages spoken by staff and pupils combined. Promoting diversity is a goal shared by many in colleges and universities, but actually achieving this goal in the day-to-day classroom is often hard to do. Diversity in a school is essential if to empower and prepare the next generation to innovate, collaborate and drive the planet forward in a sustainable way. Tomorrow’s influencers will operate at a level that transcends national borders and they will need to be able to empathise with people from very different backgrounds.

A student body that represents 57 different nationalities is uniquely placed to provide a rich contextual framework for teaching and learning that celebrates individuality and diversity in pursuit of a common purpose of excellence. This means that students can share, compare and contrast their experiences and learn that “other people, with their differences, can also be right” (International Baccalaureate Mission Statement.)

Luke Osborne, Head of Middle School commented, “as a school we are lucky that both the Knowledge and Human Development Authority and the International Baccalaureate have made an explicit commitment to the concept of inclusion, which espouses a philosophy in which barriers to learning are removed. This very much reflects our own commitment to excellence for all. To that end, we do our utmost to celebrate diversity by using our local and global contexts as a rich source of learning, all the while remaining true to our Swiss roots.”

The AED 530 million state-of-the-art campus adjacent to Dubai Creek with capacity for 2,442 students, boasts 90-100 sqm (970-1080 sqft) classrooms, which is 30% larger than a standard size. The bilingual teaching streams also demand a high teacher to student ratio and a strict maximum class size of 22 students.

Head of School, Beat Sommer commented that the diversity is to be celebrated: “An increasing number of parents in the UAE are seeing the benefit of a multilingual education and that is why SISD is in such high demand. The SISD IB programme will mirror Switzerland’s highly sophisticated and inclusive education system. Our goal is to foster a flourishing community of global citizens that are inquisitive, active and compassionate life-long learners, and who contribute to a more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.”

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