Global recognition for Jerudong International School

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Andrew Fowler-Watt
Andrew Fowler-Watt, Principal of Jerudong International School

Jerudong International School (JIS), established in 1997, is a leading international school in Brunei. Inside Investor sat down with JIS’s Principal, Andrew Fowler-Watt, to discuss the growth of JIS and the future of its students, of which 90 per cent after graduation are attending a university.

Q: In the 16th years of operation, what steps has JIS taken to progress into such a well-known school?

A: Firstly it’s our teachers. Even with the best facilities in the world we would not be a great school if we would not have great teaching. Another thing is that the demography has altered since we first started, especially in size, as we grew from 200 to 1,600 students. It is further important for us to never take our eye off the ball, that we follow the educational landscape changes – because within this country demography is shifting very fast. We are now 50 per cent Bruneian, and for our institution and my standards it is essential to see that every student, whatever their background or nationality, gets the most out of themselves.

Q: Is it a challenge for you to have a British background and work in an Islamic environment?

A: Sometimes it can be a challenge. But at the same time it is a choice if you make it a problem or you overcome it and make an advantage out of it. I call JIS an international school with a Bruneian heart, as there are so many qualities within Brunei and within Islam that we can use and benefit from. For example, our students genuinely look for the best in each other, they don’t want to win at each other’s expense. For me, the great thing about Brunei is that even the expat students that arrive as affected teenagers are very quickly integrating into the system.

Q: How do you choose teachers for JIS?

A: I don’t like appointing anyone without meeting him or her first. My interview process lasts about one hour and a half because it is a big deal for them as well as for us; they need to feel that they know what they are getting into. By the time I interview them, they have already been interviewed over Skype by my faculty heads. For example, I don’t need to check whether they can teach biology because we already know that from the Skype chat. I rather focus on more personal questions of whether or not the teacher fits into what we are looking for and whether they will be happy in our facility. I think the most important part of my job is hiring the right teachers that will increase the learning ability of our students.

Q: Where is JIS advertising, and what kind of vehicles do you use?

A: Not much to be honest. We don’t have to market the school because it is so well known, especially locally. However, boarding is an issue, so we are looking to market on full boarding and are looking at places like Korea, for example. Currently, we have 250 or so weekly boarders here but they are all from within Brunei. We are not really in control of our boarding numbers, which can be quite difficult. For example, we are dependent on how many families Shell brings in.

Q: Of the around 1,200 students that are granted full university scholarships by the Brunei government, do they all come from JIS?

A: No, they come from local schools as well, but as JIS has been growing, there is an increasing number coming from us, especially the ones attending top universities.

Q: What percentage of your graduates are attending a university?

A: Over 90 per cent of our students.

Q: Where do you see JIS in three years?

A: I hope it will not grow much bigger. I feel that we have reached the optimum size and number of students. I would like us to consolidate at the level where we are in order to make sure that each student is maximising his or her potential. My ambition for JIS is that we are seen as one of the premier schools not only in the region but also globally, especially with regard to the quality of our teachers. Students’ welfare is our first priority.

Q: What is your message to our readers?

A: Our motto is “Achieving Excellence,” and I don’t think there is anything wrong with achieving excellence.

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

Andrew Fowler-Watt, Principal of Jerudong International School

Jerudong International School (JIS), established in 1997, is a leading international school in Brunei. Inside Investor sat down with JIS’s Principal, Andrew Fowler-Watt, to discuss the growth of JIS and the future of its students, of which 90 per cent after graduation are attending a university.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Andrew Fowler-Watt
Andrew Fowler-Watt, Principal of Jerudong International School

Jerudong International School (JIS), established in 1997, is a leading international school in Brunei. Inside Investor sat down with JIS’s Principal, Andrew Fowler-Watt, to discuss the growth of JIS and the future of its students, of which 90 per cent after graduation are attending a university.

Q: In the 16th years of operation, what steps has JIS taken to progress into such a well-known school?

A: Firstly it’s our teachers. Even with the best facilities in the world we would not be a great school if we would not have great teaching. Another thing is that the demography has altered since we first started, especially in size, as we grew from 200 to 1,600 students. It is further important for us to never take our eye off the ball, that we follow the educational landscape changes – because within this country demography is shifting very fast. We are now 50 per cent Bruneian, and for our institution and my standards it is essential to see that every student, whatever their background or nationality, gets the most out of themselves.

Q: Is it a challenge for you to have a British background and work in an Islamic environment?

A: Sometimes it can be a challenge. But at the same time it is a choice if you make it a problem or you overcome it and make an advantage out of it. I call JIS an international school with a Bruneian heart, as there are so many qualities within Brunei and within Islam that we can use and benefit from. For example, our students genuinely look for the best in each other, they don’t want to win at each other’s expense. For me, the great thing about Brunei is that even the expat students that arrive as affected teenagers are very quickly integrating into the system.

Q: How do you choose teachers for JIS?

A: I don’t like appointing anyone without meeting him or her first. My interview process lasts about one hour and a half because it is a big deal for them as well as for us; they need to feel that they know what they are getting into. By the time I interview them, they have already been interviewed over Skype by my faculty heads. For example, I don’t need to check whether they can teach biology because we already know that from the Skype chat. I rather focus on more personal questions of whether or not the teacher fits into what we are looking for and whether they will be happy in our facility. I think the most important part of my job is hiring the right teachers that will increase the learning ability of our students.

Q: Where is JIS advertising, and what kind of vehicles do you use?

A: Not much to be honest. We don’t have to market the school because it is so well known, especially locally. However, boarding is an issue, so we are looking to market on full boarding and are looking at places like Korea, for example. Currently, we have 250 or so weekly boarders here but they are all from within Brunei. We are not really in control of our boarding numbers, which can be quite difficult. For example, we are dependent on how many families Shell brings in.

Q: Of the around 1,200 students that are granted full university scholarships by the Brunei government, do they all come from JIS?

A: No, they come from local schools as well, but as JIS has been growing, there is an increasing number coming from us, especially the ones attending top universities.

Q: What percentage of your graduates are attending a university?

A: Over 90 per cent of our students.

Q: Where do you see JIS in three years?

A: I hope it will not grow much bigger. I feel that we have reached the optimum size and number of students. I would like us to consolidate at the level where we are in order to make sure that each student is maximising his or her potential. My ambition for JIS is that we are seen as one of the premier schools not only in the region but also globally, especially with regard to the quality of our teachers. Students’ welfare is our first priority.

Q: What is your message to our readers?

A: Our motto is “Achieving Excellence,” and I don’t think there is anything wrong with achieving excellence.

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