Gobee Ramanujalu – Assistant Director of Insworld Institute Pte Ltd
ExpatFinder had the chance to speak to Mr Gobee Ramanujalu, Assistant Director of Insworld Institute, about how the school helps its students adapt and learn faster. Conducting classes in small sizes and creating bonding opportunities through activities are some of the ways strategically employed. With already a strong academic track record, Mr Romanujalu said the next challenge is to see how they can further develop the students’ life skills, personal qualities and talents. More from him below.
Company: Insworld Institute Pte Ltd
Category: International schools
Established since: 2001
Geographical coverage: Singapore
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself and the teachers at the school.
A: I’m representing Marketing in Insworld as its Assistant Director. I have British qualifications in my professional services career in ACCA UK and in AEC Singapore, a UK-listed company, which ran various British qualifications like ACCA and the MBA of Birmingham University. Presently, I am happy to represent the UK IGCSE and the International A-Levels.
Our school’s faculty members are a mix of teachers who are appropriately qualified to teach academic subjects in the UK GCSE and A levels curriculum, some of whom have industry career experience. The majority of our teachers have been with the school for several years now. It establishes a sense of familiarity and stronger communication between teachers and students. The teachers are also from diverse backgrounds and nationalities – which is consistent with the school’s stance of catering to the multicultural origins of its students.
Q: What makes your school stand out in terms of teaching methods, curriculum and facilities?
A: Insworld’s programmes are based on the Pearson Edexcel curriculum, globally recognised, benchmarked and based on best practices in the UK. It is UK’s largest awarding body.
There are distinct advantages with Insworld. The fast track programmes of 12 – 18 months are both cost saving and time saving.
In addition, the school promotes “personalised learning” – which is most apparent in its small class sizes. Insworld also provides a well-rounded education. Its students participate in ECAs held in well-equipped facilities around Singapore, though the primary focus of the school still being the “academic” success of its students.
The result is its proven track record of successfully sending graduates into top universities over the years. Two students have recently (in July 2016) made it to Manchester University and Queen Mary, University of London.
Q: Do you feel the need to incorporate the local culture with your international program?
A: Local culture is not only one part but also an integral part of learning experience. The range of extra-curricular activities and events assimilates local culture into the Insworld experience. The curriculum also offers Chinese as a subject thereby infusing bits of the local culture. Art and Design is another example.
Q: Which are the most represented nationalities in your student population?
A: Since 2001, 42 different nationalities have enjoyed studying at Insworld Institute. So, you can see that there is an international flavor to the composition. That said, we consider our students to be part of one nationality or group – and that is the “Insworld Institute Family”.
Q: What are the major challenges that you face as an international school in Singapore?
A: We were recently awarded the four-year Edutrust certification, which is a significant step towards becoming an educational institution with a strong foundation. Being in a certified group, it is now important to look at the intangibles like innovation and leadership as a challenge without sacrificing the rigours of the curriculum and high achievers who thrive on the functionality of our system.
Q: How do you help students overcome language and cultural barriers with their schoolmates?
A: At Insworld, students are strongly encouraged to make use of the English language at all times. The school also provides venues wherein they can improve their proficiency (e.g., English-tutorial classes) and practice the language while socialising with peers from different nationalities (e.g., school events).
The concept behind this approach is to ensure further that their English is on par with what international universities and companies may require from them in the future. Where cultural barriers are in question, our teachers and student peers are at hand to smoothen acclimatisation.
Q: Do you provide personalised assistance and extra-curricular programmes to help students adapting to the new country and international school?
A: Yes, the small class size is a major determinant of personalisation. The sometimes necessary 1-to-1 coaching, we have found, enhances the understanding of concepts and knowledge. It has led many to progress to universities. Insworld provides ECAs that allows students to socialise with their peers and meet new friends. Students also participate in excursions and field trips that allow them to know more about the country while enjoying the company of their peers.
Q: Do you have a special needs program?
A: Insworld does not employ a “special needs programme” at the moment as it already has some challenged students within its cohorts. Insworld can organise a doubling of efforts to cater to the support and teaching of these students.
Q: In your opinion, what attitude and attributes should a student possess to thrive in an international school environment?
A: Parents should not look at size nor brand but must consider the needs of the particular student and choose the best-fit education with small class sizes in mind.
Foremost, in simplest terms, students should want to study, and they should have utmost respect for their teachers and peers.
Secondly, the student should have an enquiring mind and not hesitate to explore new academic areas.
Thirdly, the student is typically a hardworking student who does not give up in adversity.
Q: What is one advice you'd give to parents looking for the right international school for their children?
A: Most schools offer the same or similar courses. What makes a school unique are the benefits and advantages that it offers. We feel small class sizes is the most terrific power enabler for young cohorts of students. It gives excellent results, as shown in several of our students progressing to universities.