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Frequently Asked Questions

Where do ISM's students come from?

We have more than 40 nationalities enrolled in International School Moshi. About one third of students across the two campuses are Tanzanian citizens, usually the children of local business people or of parents working for international organisations. Many of our expatriate families are working with the UN or for businesses involved with the flourishing tourist trade in this area of Tanzania. Others are working as medical personnel or as missionaries. In Moshi we have many children whose parents are working elsewhere in Africa and a number of IB diploma students who have come from Europe or North America specifically to study in Africa for the last two years of their schooling. In Arusha, no one nation represents more than 15% of the total number of students and we have nearly 40 nations represented amongst our 200 students.

Who are the teaching staff?

Our teaching staff are drawn from several countries including Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Kenya, New Zealand, South Africa, Tanzania, UK, and the USA. The strong reputation that ISM has built up over many years enables us to employ a high quality teaching faculty, all well-qualified, and the majority experienced in teaching the subjects and curricula offered in the school. Continuing professional development is important to us as a school and ISM encourages all teachers to regularly attend workshops and conferences, hence upgrading their professional skills. Our teachers are, with few exceptions, trained as IB teachers and we ensure that they receive IB training in their respective subjects before or during their time at ISM.

Are ISM's students successful in entering university?

The IB Diploma programme is an excellent passport to university admission in most countries across the globe. About 30% of our students enter UK universities after graduating, another 50% go to the USA or Canada, and most others enter universities in Europe, South Africa or Australia. We are a centre for SAT® and TOEFL® tests and assist our students in preparing for the ACT® to facilitate entry to American colleges. A list of universities who recently offered places to our students is to be found on the ISM Profile. We are proud that our students often get full scholarships to the best universities. For example, for the last three years, ISM students have received full 4-year scholarships (including flights and accommodation) to the prestigious Harvard University.

I live in the USA. Is it possible for my daughter to join your Diploma programme?

Yes – we welcome applications from students planning a two year educational experience in Africa before joining university or college. With our boarding facilities on the Moshi Campus we can offer a secure and safe environment for your child, whilst he/she develops the independence and maturity for college life. Students can benefit from a superb educational programme whilst enjoying our Outdoor Pursuits trips in one of the most spectacular environments imaginable and participating in thought-provoking and possibly life-changing community service activities. We can assist with air travel, visas and any other arrangements.

What is the deadline for application?

Because we can admit students at any stage in the school year, we do not have an application deadline. However we do advise you to apply in plenty of time so as to be certain of securing a place.

Is there an application fee?

No – there is no fee for submitting an application for admission.

Do students need to take tests or an interview before being admitted?

Although we welcome the opportunity to meet families and to discuss admission with new students, we recognise that many families may apply for places whilst outside Tanzania and therefore we do not require an interview for admission. Usually we can offer places based on previous school records, results, reports or references which can be sent to us by post, email or fax. In some special circumstances we may request additional information or, if previous school records are not available or are insufficient, we may ask a student to take placement tests.

What subjects do you teach in secondary?

All students study the following subjects in the first three years (M1, M2 and M3) of Secondary: English, Swahili, French, Individuals & Societies, Physical and Health Education, Design (Information Technology and Design Technology), Mathematics, Sciences, Visual Arts, Music, Drama and Life Skills. In M4 and M5, students choose two languages and one or two Arts choices as well as specialise in Physics, Chemistry and Biology. In the Diploma Programme (16-19 years), there is further specialization, with additional subjects on offer such as Economics, Geography, History, Spanish, Mandarin, Integrated Technology in a Global Society, Psychology, Environmental Systems & Societies and Theory of Knowledge. We also have an active Dutch programme for native speakers.

Will the International Baccalaureate (IB) be recognised in my own country?

The International Baccalaureate PYP, MYP and Diploma programmes are well-recognised world-wide and many countries prefer to admit IB students rather than those from their national systems. You can read more details on IB recognition in your home country, as well as schools offering IB programmes, by clicking here to access information on the IB website.

What standards of behaviour do you expect from boarding students?

Our students come from many different backgrounds and sets of family expectations. When they join our boarding school community it is necessary to accept the expectations of this community which may be different from those at home. Our aim is to provide a clear structure and straightforward set of expectations for our students that will guide them later in their lives when they have greater independence. We publish a Secondary Student’s Handbook and a Boarding Handbook which contain guidelines for students. Each student is also given a document containing our Expectations.

Is it easy for my child to start an IB Programme (PYP, MYP or Diploma) from another system?

Yes. We have children come to ISM who have studied in Tanzanian, British, European, American and other systems. Sometimes it takes time for a child to adjust to the IB system because we expect him or her to be an active learner. It can take some time for children to adjust coming from systems in which the teacher talks a lot and the children spend a great deal of time listening and writing however, we find that children enjoy this type of learning much more and so the adjustment is an enjoyable experience.

Is it easy for my child to move into another system after studying an IB programme?

We find that children usually adjust well to another system after leaving us. In terms of learning, we find that children leaving ISM to another system perform well. For children going to a traditional system in a large school, there may be a period of adjustment: for example, they could miss the active and collaborative learning that is typical at ISM.

My son wants to join a British university. Will the diploma help him?

The IB Diploma is very well recognised in the UK and is rated as a superior qualification to A Levels by the university admissions body (UCAS).

Does ISM have a curriculum for each subject?

Yes. We have a detailed curriculum for all subjects at all levels of the school. When your child enrols in the school, you will be given access to our online curriculum management system, ManageBac, and can view details of your child's curriculum, unit plans, assessments and results at any time.

My child cannot speak English. Can he/she be admitted?

We have an English as an Additional Language (EAL) specialist who supports children with limited English proficiency. This starts from day 1 and continues until the child is ready to exit the EAL programme. For children aged 3 to 6 who have very little English, we believe that the child best learns English through the classroom activities. Generally students will join their mainstream classes for many regular lessons and will also receive additional English language support at other times. It is difficult for us to admit students who have no English at all to our diploma programme, because of the academic demands at this level; in such cases we would usually offer a year in M5 first to enable the student to acquire a good standard of English.

Can my child take IGCSE exams at ISM?

We are no longer a centre for IGCSE examinations and all our students in grades 6 to 10 (M1 to M5) take the IB Middle Years Programme, which we believe is a better preparation for the academic study to come.

I will only be in Tanzania for 4 months. Can my child join the school?

If space is available, we are pleased to admit students for a short stay in ISM. Please apply for admission in the usual way. If your stay is very short (less than one month), you may also be exempt from payment of the Capital Development Fee.

How does mathematics fit into the curriculum in primary?

Whenever possible, we ensure that Mathematics is integrated with other subjects in the Primary. In other words, children learn the skills of Mathematics under a wider theme. For example, under the theme “People use many ways to influence others”, children learn how Mathematics can be used to present information through statistics and charts. All primary classes also hold stand-alone Mathematics lessons to teach and reinforce concepts and skills.

What about children who need learning support?

Both campuses have learning support teachers who will support and encourage the particular learning needs of the students. We are happy to offer admission to any student who we feel can benefit from the educational programme and additional support that we can provide. When applying for admission, please provide any appropriate reports that will help ISM to determine how best we can support your child. Further details are given on our Learning Support page.

What subjects do children study in primary?

Students study traditional disciplines of learning such as Mathematics, English, other languages, Technology. Social Studies, Science, Technology, Physical Education, and various Arts forms. The content that students learn is similar to that which other systems offer. What makes teaching and learning distinct is that students are expected to learn how to inquire in and between these subject areas so that understanding occurs at a deep and relevant level. At any one time, children learn and bring together their knowledge in different subjects, all under one concept or theme. This means that children can understand and inquire into concepts such as “Life on Earth is dependent on how the solar system work”, “Our personal histories affect our world view” and “Understanding the way materials behave and interact determines how people use them”.

Are there standardised assessments?

Yes, we have a variety of standardised assessments. For all ages we assess according to the IB expectations. Our older children are either examined directly by the IB, or submit portfolios of work to the IB for assessment.

We also administer what are called "International School Assessments” (ISA) which is a benchmark for quality international schools globally. These assess mathematical literacy, reading and writing, based on the well-known Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). It addresses as broad a range of key skills and understandings as is possible in a short, standardised pen and paper test.

How does ISM compare with other international schools worldwide?

ISM has a reputation of academic excellence through its scores in the MYP and Diploma, and compares favourably with other schools worldwide. We are also able to use our ISA scores to compare ourselves with other international schools.

Can students join the school at any time?

Our school community includes many expatriate families who move from one posting to another at different times of the year. We are happy to admit students at any stage of the school year and will work hard to help them settle in this new environment.
Because of the demanding nature of the IB Diploma programme and its two-year duration, we are usually only able to accept students in the first few months of the school year (August-January) in D1 (Grade 11). We can only admit students to D2 (Grade 12) if transferring from another IB Diploma school.

Can my son join the second year of the Diploma programme?

He can - if he has already taken the 1st year of the Diploma programme in another IB school, and if his subjects fit with those we have available. Unfortunately, students cannot join D2 from another school system (such as NECTA).

What happens after I submit the application form?

Within a short while you should receive an email from us either asking for additional information or offering a place in the school. Once a place has been offered you will also be sent a health form and possibly some other forms to complete as well as some additional handbooks. You should also receive an invoice detailing the amounts to be paid and available methods of payment. Payments for the beginning of a school year need to be made by the 1st July preceding; at other times of the year, invoices allow one month before payment becomes due.

Can I get a reduction in the fees?

ISM’s only source of income is from fees and we do not currently have any external funds to support applicants. However families can apply for assistance with fees based on financial circumstances. If you wish to apply for a remission based on financial need, please request a remission application form from Bob Cofer (Head of Moshi Campus) or from Phil Bowen (Arusha Campus). Applications for remission are considered confidentially by a remissions committee and some small reductions in the fees may be possible.

Is Tanzania a safe country to live in?

Moshi and Arusha are towns in the north of Tanzania a long way from the main city of Dar es Salaam. Whilst we do not have all the facilities of a first world city, we also escape from many of the difficulties of living in a developed metropolis. Both of ISM’s campuses are outside the towns in quiet and secluded surroundings. Many ISM families have lived in this region for a very long time and will attest to the safety and pleasure of living in this outstanding environment.

What about medical facilities?

The Moshi Campus neighbours the main teaching hospital in northern Tanzania, KCMC, and many of the doctors’ children attend ISM. Both KCMC and the Selian Hospital in Arusha can provide immediate medical care as needed, and there are also facilities to evacuate to the excellent hospitals in Nairobi in the event of an emergency. Moshi Campus maintains a health centre with a nurse on duty at all times and a private doctor on call.
Malaria does occur in this area and you are advised to consult your doctor about malarial prophylaxis. You are also advised to take out appropriate medical insurance for your stay in the country.

Do you have any scholarships?

Our scholarship programme is currently only open to Tanzanian students. On the Moshi Campus, it is open to those who complete Form 4 with excellent CSEE results. Click here for further details of our scholarship programme