International School vs. Private School – Unravelling the Differences

Jun 12, 2024 | Blogs


Choosing the right school for your child is a significant decision that can shape their future. International schools and private schools are two popular options that often come up in discussions. But what exactly sets them apart? This blog post will help you understand the key differences between international and private schools so that you can make an informed choice.


Understanding International Schools

International schools follow an international curriculum, like the International Baccalaureate (IB) or Cambridge International Examinations (CIE), instead of the country’s national curriculum. They often adopt curricula from countries like the United States or the United Kingdom.


Diversity in Culture and Language

International schools are known for their cultural and linguistic diversity. They attract students from various nationalities, creating a multicultural environment where children can learn about different cultures firsthand. This exposure helps students develop a global perspective, and fosters respect for diversity.

English is usually the primary language of instruction, though some schools offer bilingual programs. This emphasis on English proficiency provides students with solid language skills, which are valuable in today’s globalized world.


Holistic Approach to Education

International schools often emphasize holistic education, focusing on academics and character development, creativity, critical thinking, sports, and community service. This well-rounded approach aims to develop balanced individuals equipped for life beyond school.


Understanding Private Schools

Private schools are independently funded through tuition fees, donations, or other private sources. This financial independence gives them more autonomy over their curriculum, teaching methods, and school management than public schools.


Quality of Education and Smaller Class Sizes

Private schools are often known for their high academic standards. They offer challenging curricula designed to stimulate students intellectually. Smaller class sizes are common, allowing for personalized attention and tailored instruction.

Unlike international schools, private schools typically follow the national curriculum. This alignment can benefit students planning to pursue higher education in their home country.


Extracurricular Activities

Private schools also emphasize holistic development, offering a variety of extracurricular activities like sports, arts, music, and clubs. These activities allow students to explore their interests and develop essential skills such as teamwork and leadership.


International School vs. Private School: Making the Right Choice

Choosing between an international school and a private school depends on your child’s educational goals, your family’s lifestyle and values, and financial considerations.

International School: Ideal if you envision your child studying or working abroad or if you value a multicultural learning environment.

Private School: Suitable if you prefer an education system aligned with your country’s standards or if you plan for your child to pursue higher education locally.

Some schools can be a combination of both. At IVA Global, for instance, it’s both an international and private school, leveraging the characteristics of both.



Every child is unique; the best choice depends on their needs and aspirations. Whether you choose an international or private school, the goal is to find an environment where your child can thrive and achieve their full potential. At Iva, we combine the best aspects of private schools and international schools, providing your child with a unique opportunity to obtain an education that encompasses the best of both.

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South Africa Curriculum

IVA Global Online School in South Africa aligns strongly with the vision of the IEB which is to advance quality teaching and learning in South Africa through an assessment process of integrity, innovation, and international comparability.

IVA Global Online School employs highly experienced IEB teachers, daily engaging students through live synchronous online lessons.

IVA Global Online School is a registered IEB centre.

International British Curriculum

Interest in the International British curriculum continues to grow as it provides students from outside the UK the opportunity to attain a strong international qualification.

IVA Global Online School offers live synchronous lessons according to a structured timetable with highly qualified teachers.

Students can complete their GCSE’s and AS levels within 2 years.

IEB International Curriculum

The IEB-ISC is a “Globally-oriented qualification with its roots in Africa” and is suited for Grade 10 to 12 students living outside South Africa.

The ISC is an international qualification in that it is intended to be offered across borders in different countries, particularly in Africa.

The USAF (universities of South Africa) evaluation of the IEB-ISC provides assurance of its quality and students are able to pursue university studies in South Africa and abroad.

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