Addis Ababa - Post Report Question and Answers

What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

ICS is the most popular international school. It doesn't live up to its reputation though. Communication between school and parents is lacking, and the school is not as open to the community as it likes to say it is. - Dec 2023

There are several decent international schools in Addis Ababa. ICS is the most popular and has decent quality. Other embassy families send their children to the French school, German school, or Bingham academy, which offer international education. Some families also do homeschool, and there is an active homeschool coop program with expat families. - Aug 2023

A few families chose the French school but the overwhelming majority go to international community school of Addis Ababa. The school does a great job with creating a community feel. Every week/month there is something to look forward to, from community markets, international breakfasts, yoga, performances, grade-level get together, book club, learning showcases etc. The campus is beautiful and a nice place to go for large green space! The curriculum is behind the US. My kids really didn’t learn much, having been to other international schools they were ahead quite a bit. They’ll say all the right things about the education aspect and put a pretty bow on it but in actuality the school isn’t very challenging. In addition to the education being lacking there is a bullying problem. The week we arrived was Halloween so we were able to go to a trunk or treat at the embassy before the first day of school. The first thing the kids at the embassy told my kids upon arrival is “there are bullies” and man did it prove to be true. Everyone knows it’s a problem across all grade levels. There are extremely rich Ethiopian kids that run the school and they are extremely mean. The school does not address this problem to the satisfaction of the parents. It’s also hit or miss with the teachers. Some are so so amazing! Some are very bare minimum. - Aug 2023

We don't have children. - Aug 2022

There are some really great international schools. However, local schools are not the best with large class sizes, limited English proficiency, and a lack of overall educational structure. - Jul 2022

The local schools are a no go. I've heard good things about the international schools. - Feb 2021

We experienced ICS. Love the teachers, the leadership not so much. - Aug 2020

Many options. We are with ICS and it's ok. However, I haven't found that it lives up to the reputation it has. Yes, kids do well and get into good colleges, but the school is very rigid and the classes rarely see each other. In a city where the yards are small and there are no safe places for kids to go, the school should be an extension of their home. It isn't. If you child is not there for a reason, they will make your child leave. No after hours playing, unless they are with a parent. And even then you will be questioned. The administration can and does handle "problems" but they do not allow a PTO. Parent involvement is very limited which causes frustration. There is a parent group that helps new arrivals and run programs, but have limited influence. As for teachers, there are some who are great and others who are not. The school can handle kids with moderate needs, but you still need to check to see if they can accommodate your child. If you don't live in Old Airport, you will be frustrated even further. Driving is difficult and getting there and back will take between 1-2 hours. You child will suffer due to the distance. The typical response to this issue is hire a driver... (AKA we don't care). For kids in Bole, a normal school day is pick up at 7am, home at 4:30pm. It's long and difficult on all kids no matter the age. After school programs end at 4:30 for ASAs and for high school sports is 6pm (and at least one 6am practice each week,) Again making it harder if you do not live in Old Airport. Distance from the school is probably the #1 reason for unhappiness for those who live in other areas. - Feb 2020

There are many international schools here (Greek, Italian, French, British, American. etc.). Our children (7, 10) attend ICS. We're pretty happy with the school and the school grounds are beautiful. Sometimes the communication from the school isn't very good. Our kids are happy and enjoying ICS. - Feb 2019

Two main options: ICS and Sandford. ICS is the best (and the most expensive), but Sandford is decent enough. More international students at ICS, but both have good international teachers. Sandford offers IB, not sure what curriculum ICS offers. - Oct 2018

ICS is good. Communication from the school seems terrible. I've found some excellent teachers, some meh teachers. The school has plenty of room for improvement. The current head of of the school seems like he can't be trusted. It is a truly international school but the campus is owned by the US Embassy and that is does not seem to be kept in mind.

Some kids go to Lycee and like it there. Some go to Lion Heart Academy. There are a handful of preschools in the area, too. - Aug 2018

ICS is expanding and getting more students every year. It is the most expensive school out of all the international schools in Addis. Some upper grade teachers can have improvements, and some are very good. (I say there is no perfect school or human beings). Our child had an amazing experience at the elementary school here. The new head of school has different approach from the last one, and hopefully will move forward into a good future of the school. Other international schools are: Sandford, Bingham, Italian, Swedish, Andinet, Greek, Lycee Francaise, and German. There may be more. - Jul 2018

The International school here in Addis is our saving grace, the school is wonderful. You feel welcome right away and the academics are also good. - Jan 2018

People seem to really like the international school, and a French school is also available. - Sep 2017

I hear ICS is good but we do not have children here. - Aug 2016

There are a number of international schools here. Most go to ISC and appear to like it. - Aug 2016

There is an international school, and I believe it has a pretty good reputation. But I don't have a school-aged child, so can't comment personally. - Feb 2016

Our kids were in elementary and middle school at ICS, the largest of the international schools. We loved it: good teachers, responsive administration, and a real community feel. The campus is something of a haven for all family members due to the lack of green space elsewhere in the city. - May 2014

ICS is great. There is a faith-based school (Bingham Academy), but getting there is a bit of a pain. You have to balance housing location with personal needs - try and live closer to work, or school, or split the difference. Put some thought into housing location if you value your time and sanity. - Jan 2014

International Community School (ICS) of Addis is where almost all embassy families send their children but I have no personal experience. - Nov 2013

The majority of kids go to ICS. - Jun 2012

"International Community School (ICS)" is quite good. I've also heard very good things about "Bingham Academy", the Missionary school. The French Lycee is quite good as well judging by the sharp kids I've seen. - Aug 2010

I have no personal experience. Many English-speaking expat children attend the International Community School. - Jun 2010

My older child goes to International Community School, which uses an American curriculum. - Mar 2008


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