Diversity & Inclusion Update

In 2013, ISR became aware of the Next Frontier Foundation, a non-profit organization with an admirable and worthy Mission Statement:

“We promote and protect the interests of children who learn in different ways or at different rates.  We do this by supporting schools in all aspects of their journey towards inclusion.”

Today, almost ten years since inception, the Next Frontier Inclusion website displays a Not Secure warning, which we hope in no way metaphorically reflects the current state of Diversity and Inclusion in International Schools…

Although Next Frontier Inclusion may not have become all that was hoped for, International Schools Services (ISS) has become instrumental in promoting Diversity and Inclusion through their Diversity Collaborative:

The Diversity Collaborative (DC) is committed to creating and sustaining a more diverse, inclusive, equitable, and just international school community through our focus on leadership.

Here is a sample of recent Diversity Collaborative offerings:

  • Building Inclusive Learning With Brave and Brilliant Books
  • Anti racism Plan
  • Teaching for Black Lives
  • Transgender Inclusion Policies for International Schools
  • 5 Reasons Why Your School Needs a Transgender Inclusion Policy
  • Practical Strategies for Inclusion: Everyday Equity

International Schools Services Diversity Collaborative welcomes new members. Additionally, there are many organizations with which International Schools, faculty and staff can become involved in support of expanding Diversity and Inclusion in their Schools:

ISR asks: Does your school have Diversity and Inclusions goals that have been achieved? What future goals does your school have and how are they working to achieve them?

Comments? Please Scroll Down to Participate

19 thoughts on “Diversity & Inclusion Update

  1. I’m not sure what I am more shocked by from this thread. The idea that schools are hiring the least diverse candidates for DEI positions or the teachers that think diversity is a western way of thinking. Note that we are educators as well and influence what students think about. This is why hiring practices are not changing. This is why diversity does matter. This is why the fight continues. If you even have a bit of empathy for minority groups that are in the education sector it should be easy to want to support them.


  2. I’ve worked in student support services in US public schools for several years and have highly regarded credentials in my field, and recently interviewed with an international school. The interview was quite pathetic and it was not at all difficult to sense that the interviewers were forced to interview/hire a student support position. They didn’t seem to have a whole lot of respect for my profession, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they went with the prettiest blondie they could find since the majority of their staff seemed to fit this “pretty blondie” profile. It worries me that admin can use these “diversity” policies at international schools for their advantage without really respecting the values behind such policies; of course they can and likely do use such policies as a way to continue and support their authority and positions, self-importance, nepotism, etc. I think some parents (some, by no means not all) may choose international schools since they want an environment of diversity and inclusion for child, and they may believe that an international school can provide an environment which may be lacking in their countries’ schools.


  3. I worked at a school in India that was supposedly ‘international’ and had an African colleague. He was subjected to horrible racism and nasty comments but stayed as he needed the money but luckily moved on after a couple of years.


  4. Are you kidding? Diversity and inclusion in international schools? HA! The percentage of female teachers with long blond hair at my primary school, is crazy. 8/34. Then, there is only one teacher of colour (PE), all the local teachers get paid 1/5 what the foreign teachers do. It goes on and on.
    Why? Because they can and be because of parents. They like the stereotype of a British primary teacher being 1. White. 2. Blonde 3. They don’t like the darkies.


    1. local teachers will never get paid the same as expat teachers for a variety of basic logical and economic reasons. The tuition would never be affordable for the local parents to pay. (or, the school could never attract expat teachers) I’m always fascinated when this is constantly brought up probably because these are teachers who don’t understand mathematics and economics.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Of course everyone wants to be treated equally. But in reality, this discussion topic show a lack of knowledge with different cultures and countries.

    ISR recently published a review coming from a teacher who wasn’t happy on how the Head of School and its board dealt with a rainbow flag… The kicker? It was a school in the Middle-East! I read the review and laughed at it. Because it simply showed how absolutely daft and stupid this teacher was. Complaining that LGBTI+++ rights weren’t being taught or heard… Again, it’s the Middle-East.

    Teachers in the international setting needs to be prepared to follow and respect the laws of their host country. It is as simple as that. As for schools hiring predominantly white or very western candidates. In certain countries, most of the time, it is the market (paying parents) that’s driving that decision.

    You are working in an environment filled with people who come from every corner of the world. There are Eastern Europeans who are still coming out of the communist mindset and their interactions with people of colour are very limited. The Middle-East and China are not going to change because western trained teachers are ‘woke’. Lastly, you have old western men and women holding board or head of school positions who are still stuck in the Dewey era. Expecting these people to change asap because being ‘woke’ is now ‘trending’ sets a very, very unrealistic of the world.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Milton, are you actually for real. Yes, there are legal restrictions about sexuality in some countries, but as far your take on race and ex communist countries, I think its about time the world did wake up screaming and kicking! Lots of things on the list are hardly ‘woke’. They are just basic human rights and have been for some decades. Have you been away from home for too long???


    2. I want to let you know when I attended a DEI conference this past January, andthere were schools from China and the Middle East.
      As a teacher who works at an independent school in the US, I know all too well that attending DEI conferences is required, and the implementation in curricula is even more important. I know from this side of the pond, all NAIS member schools have a Diversity Officer on campus.


  6. This is such a joke. I don’t think the teacher admin are bigots. I think it comes down to the following points.
    1. Some admin don’t believe the parents will accept a teacher that is not white and/or from a select number of countries.
    2. The native secretaries of admin or HR that are responsible for giving the cvs to the admin don’t bother giving the results of non white people or of people with names that don’t fit a particular mold.
    3. It’s sometimes easier for a person of the same culture develop a rapport with the admin.
    The main issues are what admin think the parents will accept or not complain about.


  7. I have arrived at the conclusion that by working at an international for-profit school, I am supporting the racist, misogynistic regimes of institutions where power is almost exclusively in the hands of narcissistic (white, male and British) leaders whose only goal is power and money, NOT the well-being and diverse education of children. I have enjoyed the lifestyle and the children, but at what price? Time to move on.


    1. Um… You may want to actually check on who is REALLY in charge of these places. The white, middle aged British fellow called the “headmaster” with several letters behind his name and diplomas on the wall is just a puppet for the parents to look at. He has no real power.

      These places are almost always owned by a gulf Arab with connections to a Prince, or a wealthy Chinese businessmen with connections to the party.

      Your comment shows everyone you were not in the game for very long.


  8. I recently applied to a well known international school in Korea and was overlooked for a position I was more than suitably qualified and experienced for. The reason? “Diversity.”

    Given that I am male and it was an elementary teaching position, it is fair to assume it was not down to this – men being significantly underrepresented in elementary teaching of course.

    It could only be down then to the fact I am white.

    If ensuring diversity in the workforce means limiting the pool of potential candidates along racial lines is the way forward/progressive – I feel schools should be open about the fact they are doing this. For starters, I would not have wasted my time and energy applying if the post had said that whites need not apply. I would have been far from the only one. If each applicant spent 4hours on their application – and 80-90pc of the say 250 applicants were instantly disregarded – that does seem a little unfair (and is a lot of wasted hours).

    I also feel that perhaps the parents who pay large sums to send their children to such prestigious schools have a right to know about this hiring practice – especially as it directly impacts them. After all, I imagine if you asked the parents would they like their child taught by the best candidate possible OR the one that ticks the diversity box some of them may just suggest that choosing the best candidate for their child is what they want. That would mean not excluding anyone on the basis on their skin color – but considering each and every candidate who applied and judging them on the content of their character (i.e. CV, experience, references, interview answers, etc).

    I would also add that ‘diversity’ is a lot more than skin color. What about diversity of experience? What about diversity of socio-economic background? In my experience. working in several international schools, it seems many educators come from economic privilege – many having attended private/international schools themselves (regardless of where they are from/their ethnicity). Is this providing the children they teach with true diversity? Teacher from privilege educated privately teaching children from privilege in a private school? How diverse.

    I know among teachers there are many who would see nothing wrong with what the school did. To those I would say that if ensuring diversity means adopting racist hiring practices is fine then I do worry about those ‘good intentions’ of yours. I would also add, that if there is no problem with doing this – why, as mentioned above, is the school did not openly stating the fact they are doing this? After all, it would have saved a lot of hopeful applicants a lot of time – maybe even you.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. It’s madness to me that the same people stating that we need to decolonize international schools, then want to go and push these new western values right down their throats.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. The only way diversity and inclusion will change in countries with poor records on this will be through staff, student and parent interaction with exceptional teachers from diverse backgrounds. There is a very low benchmark for mistakes and a very high benchmark for being seen as a ‘great teacher’ when it comes to these teachers. Unfortunately, the opposite when it comes to some male white teachers.

    No amount of policy will change well entrenched attitudes which these societies encourage.


    1. Why do you see it as our job to change attitudes in a foreign country? Did you ever stop to think that maybe the local people don’t want or like our ‘diverse’ attitudes?


    2. I don’t see it as our job to change attitudes, but if someone starts to think that perhaps we need to be more tolerant and open towards different people because of positive interactions, then I’m all for it.

      There is a whole spectrum of attitudes regarding diversity, between putting your heart and soul into introducing diversity policy (often well intentioned, but futile) to some white males who don’t really care about education, and are happy to take advantage of their entitled position, keeping the status quo.


  11. How naïve would you have to be trying to implement a diversity and inclusion policy in a middle eastern state or pretty much any non-western country? Believe it or not the freedom from such politics is one of the major reasons teachers go to these places!


  12. Is this a joke? These initiatives do not exist in China or the Gulf States. I’m pretty sure simply being transgender is a serious crime in most Gulf countries.


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