The Overseas School of Colombo: More Than Just a Great Education

Where critical thinking and responsible self-learning is at the heart of education

WORLD OVER, countries are increasingly occupied with education reforms. Education is much more than a basic right. It can open doors and unlock opportunities for individuals and nations in a competitive world that’s now being disrupted by technological upheavals: which is why there has been a growing interest in country rankings for education in recent years. In Sri Lanka, there’s a yearning among students, parents, teachers, and employers for a transformation in the education system from one that is structured around learning by rote to one that develops better learners.

The Overseas School of Colombo (OSC) is the epitome of an education provider that has broken outdated, traditional structures in learning so that it can draw out and develop the skills and knowledge of its students, thereby moulding them to be future-ready leaders. Its students are inculcated with creative knowledge and thinking, breaking the traditional norm of testing a child’s memory rather than nurturing learning and intellectual growth. Established in 1957, OSC is the oldest and most prestigious international school in Sri Lanka, and the only one to provide International Baccalaureate (IB) education from KG to Grade 12.

With IB education, OSC aims to develop young citizens with a peerless breadth and depth of knowledge, who also flourish physically, intellectually, emotionally and ethically. The IB curriculum is ever-evolving and draws upon the principles of child psychology which aim to nurture critical thinking through inquiry-based learning. IB requires its students to take six courses across Math, Science, Humanities, Arts, Languages, and Literature. A minimum of three or a maximum of four of them must be followed at higher levels.

Even though critical thinking and creativity are at the core of the curriculum, it is structured to encourage students to express themselves via writing, arts and community service. This develops well refined human qualities in young people so that they become responsible global citizens who can cope with demanding workloads, manage their time, lead and unify people, and meet the expectations placed on them. The IB Diploma Programme (DP) is an academically challenging and balanced programme of education with final examinations that prepares students, aged 16 to 19, for success at university and life beyond.

It includes the Theory of Knowledge, a course that’s at the heart of the educational philosophy of the diploma which cultivates an inquiring mind: this is a mandatory component of the diploma that compels ‘students to reflect on the nature of knowledge, its complexities, and on how people know what they claim to know’. In addition, students must participate in Creative, Action, Service (CAS), under which they will have to partake in extracurricular activities such as athletics, creative arts and service projects in order to obtain the IB qualification. For all these reasons, the IB credential has emerged as the ‘gold standard’ criteria for entry by leading universities worldwide. OSC being future-oriented in its approach to education, offers a large array of engaging extracurricular activities. Unique activity rooms called ‘makerspaces’ where you will find anything from 3D printers, to power drills and ovens, have been designed to encourage students to innovate and experiment with their creativity. OSC students also take part in international tournaments, which provide them with valuable exposure and the experience of competing at the international level. OSC is situated in Pelawatte in a next-to-nature campus, creating an ideal and tranquil learning environment. The campus is equipped with modern libraries, fine arts centres, an indoor sports complex and a swimming pool.

OSC is making learning whole: Dr. Michelle Kleiss, Head of School

Being “future ready” is the key trend in education right now. It’s about making learning whole and teaching beyond traditional methods. This includes embracing global perspectives, problem solving, and interdisciplinary learning.

The OSC curriculum is based on the IB and draws from educational standards around the world to complement its schemes of work. When our students graduate, the IB Diploma opens all doors and systems to them. The IB credential has the widest reach for entry to all national university systems world-wide and is much sought-after by the world’s best universities.

At OSC, diversity and respect for differences are the cornerstone of our mission and our approach to teaching and learning. Our students are exposed to a variety of values that are different from their own. We teach children how to be flexible and adaptable in life; that we are not competing, but rather we are growing, developing and bettering ourselves and others when we cooperate and collaborate and embrace our differences.

Our outstanding staff and faculty pride themselves in providing a positive and growth-minded learning environment which offers academic rigour paralleled by a diverse array of interesting and challenging extracurricular activities such as athletics, robotics, language acquisition, performing and visual arts, as well as enjoyable hobbies. Our carefully designed student leadership opportunities aim to mould next-generation leaders who are balanced individuals ready to take on the challenges of the future.