international schools of the future

SIngapore must have the highest concentration of international schools in the world. They jostle for position against a background of government control of space and student numbers. We visit four, each with their own character. Religious influence is still powerful here and many schools convey an overt evangelical message. ¬†Chinese Methodists and Baptists etc are active and groups of dutiful uniformed students are everywhere. Statues to noble founders abound, and mottoes exhorting students to ever greater efforts are engraved on walls in all directions. Buildings here rise higher and higher, with such a premium on land, but schools are mostly housed in older premises of more modest proportions. An exception is a brand new school designed to minimise energy consumption. Windowless walls face the sun, outside blinds shade classrooms, and an ingenious arrangement of straight piping for the air conditioning system avoids energy wastage through bends. Excess rainwater, of which there is plenty here, from the cambered sports ground ¬†irrigates the ‘rain garden’ , an attractive fast-growing jungle area at the perimeter of the school. A gauge in the basement showing the energy used minute by minute is accessible to students.

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