Children's Schooling Factors for Today's International Assignments
Children's Schooling Factors for Today's International Assignments

Children's Schooling Factors for Today's International Assignments

Mobility Trends and Hot Topics

Published: Jun 17, 2022

Family-related concerns still rank at the top of reasons for assignment refusal and early repatriations. NEI knows the challenges assignees and their families may face in the school selection and adjustment process.

According to an article by Families in Global Transition, worries about a child's education was cited by two-thirds of employees as the main reason they turned down an international assignment in 1995. Today, 84 percent feel their children may not adjust to the assignment or may fall behind academically. This concern is even greater for families with children who have special education needs – which in most industrialized countries falls between 10 and 15 percent of public-school children.

With this top-of-mind, a driving force in any school selection process is to find the best possible match between a student’s needs and the education provided. As difficult as this may be, based on each student’s unique set of interests and learning abilities, it can be compounded when the student / family is also relocating from another country. 

A “Good School”

Often, parents try to replicate the same school experiences their children had in the departure country. NEI recognizes the definition of a “good school” in the destination depends on important criteria used and a family’s expectations.

Serving as the relocating family’s advocate, NEI’s Account Executives actively listen and conduct a thorough, up-front family needs analysis. They then contact our expert, in-country Destination Services Provider to schedule appropriate school visits and discuss choices available. For instance, for a U.S. family on assignment, options might include:

  • American Community Schools – These parallel U.S. curriculums, methods, and materials.

  • Multi-National or International Schools – The curriculum is more of a combination of different countries and instruction is normally in more than one language.

  • Host Location Public/State Schools – The student is immersed in the culture of another country but may have difficulty easing back into home country school system.

  • Boarding Schools – Such schools offer a variety of programs and are available today for students of every socio-economic range or academic ability.

  • Online Courses – Often used by families during the pandemic, in remote locations and by those who wish to supplement their children’s education while in a host country.

  • Home Schooling – Just as in online courses, certification and accreditation of coursework is important. There are home schooling programs today that carry an automatic school transcript to hand to the next school location, though home schooling is considered illegal in some locations.

Some companies will pay for a more in-depth level of support in the form of a school search firm’s assistance to conduct detailed research on school options to find the best fit for students in need. Areas include:

  • Educational goals

  • Enrichment programs

  • Educational achievements

  • Advanced placement/assessment systems

  • Standardized test policies

  • Academic credentials

  • Cooperative programs

  • Basic requirements for advancement

  • Local colleges and universities

  • Coursework

  • Tutoring policies

  • Extracurricular activities

Another factor is a school’s location compared to work and housing locations. There may be strong parental desires for being close to the school, allowing for easier drop-off / pick-up and attendance at school activities.

It is critical relocating employees and partners / spouses understand the support solutions available to them well before deciding upon an international assignment. Along with a vetted service partner – such as Bennett International Education Consultancy – NEI can closely work with each family going on assignment to identify educational options and avoid missteps.

A child’s schooling might make or break the international assignment experience for the entire family and threaten assignment success.

“As much as the right school experience can ignite a passion for life-long learning, the wrong one can set a student back years,” says Tim Dwyer, President of Bennett International Education Consultancy. “That’s why parents often feel such anxiety about this process. But they don’t have to if they have the right guidance.”

Becoming informed about what their children will encounter and preparing their children for these small, but crucial, changes can help make for an easier adjustment.

A Growth Experience for All Family Members

NEI helps identify any educational needs through our service partner or any client-directed service partner and strives to make the assignment a growth experience for all family members. If the assignment is not permanent, we also assist with the transition back to the home country’s school or another destination country school if a subsequent assignment.

One of NEI’s partnership differentiators is to use a multi-tiered approach to engage the right partners who understand the need to contain relocation costs and deliver strong solutions to individual assignee needs without sacrificing service.

We would be pleased to review your international assignment policies to help ensure your assignee dependent school assistance benefits are competitive, cost-effective, and meeting the needs of your unique families. Reach out to your NEI representative for more information.