Incheon’s international school finally rings its bell

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Incheon’s international school finally rings its bell

After years of false starts and delays, Chadwick International School will open this September in Songdo, Incheon, and it will be allowed to fill 30 percent of its seats with Korean students.

The school, formerly known as International School Songdo, will be able to enroll Korean nationals regardless of whether they have lived overseas, with a ceiling of 30 percent of total admissions for the first five years, thanks to a regulation adopted by the education ministry in 2009.

“We are expecting to give admission to between 260 and 280 students this year,” said Helen Lee, director of Communications at Chadwick International. “We’re receiving inquires especially from gireogi [wild goose] families who live apart to give their children better educational opportunities overseas. Parents we talked to want to bring their children back to Korea so they can live together while their children get an international education.”

The school, operated by the Chadwick School in California, will have classes from kindergarten through seventh grade. The annual tuition fee will range from $26,000 to $28,000, school officials said. Ultimately the school will have kindergarten through 12th grade classes. Classes start in September this year.

The school faced numerous setbacks before receiving the Education Ministry’s preliminary approval on June 18.

The Incheon Free Economic Zone initially selected U.S.-based International School Services to build and run the school. Ground was broken four years ago and the school was set to open in September 2008, but ISS abandoned the project because it said there weren’t enough potential students.

In May 2009, the Education Ministry increased the ratio of domestic students allowed in international schools from 30 percent of the total number of foreign students to 30 percent of the total enrollment of a school.

IFEZ selected Vancouver International Primary and Secondary School to run the school in 2009 but the Education Ministry rejected it because the Canada-based institution only offered an elementary school program. In November last year, IFEZ appointed U.S.-based Chadwick as its new partner and sought an approval from the Education Ministry.

“With the most advanced, world-class facilities and highly experienced staff and faculty members, we are committed to helping every student become genuine global citizens who can contribute to the world,” Chadwick School Chairman Richard C. Learned said. “With the opening of Chadwick International, Korea is one step closer to achieving the goal.”

By Kim Mi-ju []
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