We really hope that you know what Andorra is because in this post we would like to pay our attention to the school system in this country. Yes, the country called Andorra does exist, and it is a lovely tiny land sandwiched between France and Spain. This small country is the only place where Catalan is an official language. It has never had its national bank and its own currency, although Andorra has been independent for around 150 years. At the moment the Andorrans use the Euro. And despite the fact that the Euro is the official currency of the country, Andorra is neither a part of the European Union, nor a party to the Schengen Treaty. Here is an interesting fact: tourists can enter Andorra only via France and Spain. This little Principality simple does not have an airport. You can find more detailed information about this beautiful country here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_Andorra.
Education here is free for the country's residents and obligatory from age 5 through 16. Although this country is so small, its education system is rather complex. The reality is that it has three different school systems, and people decide which one to choose. These are Andorran, French, and Spanish school systems.
The French School System
Half of children in Andorra go to schools which are a part of the French system. Historically, the French system was called the best in the country. It is rather clear that all classes in such school are taught in French. Yet, students learn foreign languages, and mostly they focus on Spanish and Catalan.
The Spanish School System
Because of the big number of Spanish-speaking immigrants it was decided to create schools where courses are taught in Spanish. The curriculum is similar to the curriculum of Spanish schools, but students need to learn Catalan and French. This is the main requirement of the country’s educational system.
The Andorran School System
The Andorran system has become more advanced over the past years, and now a huge number of students attend schools that belong to this system. In these schools classes are taught in Catalan, but emphasis is also made on both Spanish and French. This way students have no language limitations. They can get higher education in both Spain and France, depending on what they like more. English is also taught in these schools. So, when children finish school, they have a great command of Catalan, Spanish, French, and English (and sometimes Portuguese).
How Do Foreigners Study in This Country?
There are a lot of families which move from one place to another. Those families who come to Andorra need to choose such a school for their children that will make them feel safe and comfortable. As home schooling is not allowed in this country, studying in a traditional school is the only option to get education. Fortunately, Andorra is a very child friendly country. Schools offer different programs for children that won’t leave anyone indifferent. There is one independent school for international students in Andorra. So, expat children can attend the school where all education is in English. This international school is a great option for parents who want a quick and rather stressful transition for their kids. A huge advantage of the school system here is that foreign children become fluent in Catalan, Spanish, and French very fast. The name of the school is Col-legi Internacional Del Pirineu (in translation it will be the International School of the Pyrenees).
Col-legi Internacional Del Pirineu
This institution in 1999, and today it offers five level of education. These levels include preschool, kindergarten and elementary, middle and high school. At the moment around 270 students of different nationalities are enrolled at the school.
The main goal of the teachers of the institution is to teach students how to love to learn. They teach children how to motivate themselves and how to make the learning process more effective. Although the principal language of instruction is Catalan, the size of the groups allows teachers to teach classes in other languages, including English and Chinese.
It is interesting that students of the International School of the Pyrenees are actively involved into different sports. Children who attend classes in this school can chose among tennis, basketball, taekwondo, golf, and gymnastics. Students who participate in intensive sports programs have an opportunity to train here as much as they need to maintain their physical activity. Students of this institution took part in the Winter Olympics 2010 in Vancouver, Canada, and 2014 in Sochi, Russia.
Located in a beautiful parish of La Massana, this school is a fantastic place for children to get education. It is well-equipped with advanced technologies and has gyms, pools, and other facilities that inspire children to learn and be active. But Col-legi Internacional del Pirineu is not free of charge. Parents need to pay a fee of €750 for enrollment first. Each month here costs €670. Additional fees include food and transportation. So, as you can see, getting education in such a brilliant school is not cheap. But it gives students a lot of opportunities and helps them feel more comfortable in this tiny but adorable country.