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So Many International Schools WITHOUT Retirement Plans!

February 28, 2021

It is on all international school teachers’ minds. How am I helping to contribute to my future now (for when I retire/stop working) as a current teacher in the international school community?

Not that everything is all worry-free if you just stayed teaching and earning money in your home country, but living and teaching abroad can sound pretty risky to some people (maybe even many people).

If you are working at an international school that has an amazingly high salary with equally amazing benefits, then that is one story. Even if this type of school doesn’t actually offer a nice retirement plan benefit, you still have the opportunity to save a lot of money.

But if you are working at an international school and receiving a salary that helps you ‘just get by’ along with very average benefits (for example, there is not a retirement plan benefit that is on offer to you), then international school educators need to consider if the experience working at this type of international school is a good fit for their future plans.

Does an international school that doesn’t offer a retirement or pension plan benefit immediately equate to being a bad decision for your future? Not necessarily. If you are only planning on staying there for one to two years, then it shouldn’t make that big of a difference. If you receiving a high salary along with paid housing, not having an established pension plan benefit shouldn’t make that big of a difference because your savings potential is high. Hopefully, you have a laser-focused investment plan for all of that money saved.

But for those of us that are not so smart with money and don’t have the expertise to manage our own savings/retirement plan, it can definitely not bit a good fit to accept a teaching job at a school that doesn’t offer retirement plan benefits.

We did a keyword search on our Comment Search feature and found a number of comments related to international schools that don’t offer a retirement or pension plan benefit.

We found 26 comments when we searched the short phrase: “No retirement
Here are a few of those comments:

Amman Baccalaureate School (16) Total comments
No retirement plan right now is on offer as a benefit.”

Canadian International School (Tokyo) (93) Total comments
No retirement plan for teachers.”

International School Ho Chi Minh City (93) Total comments
“Unfortunately there is no retirement plan.”

We also searched the short phrase “No pension” and found 85 comments.
Here are a few of those comments:

Zhuhai International School (121) Total comments
“There are no pension plans from the school (included in the contract) although if you wished to establish one the office staff would be able to assist you in establishing one.”

Varee Chiang Mai International School (117) Total comments
“There is no pension provision, but an end-of-contract gratuity is awarded in lieu.”

Stamford American International School (307) Total comments
“There is no pension, but this means you can invest your money as you see fit. There is a 15% allowance that is paid monthly with your salary. This is “in lieu of CPF” which is paid for Singaporeans and PR.”

On the more positive side, we had a quick search for this key phrase “matching” (30 comments) hoping to find comments related to international schools that match the pension plan contribution of the teachers.  
Here are a few of those comments:

American International School Vienna (81) Total comments
“Under the newest contract, teachers now have 10% matching for retirement fund commencing at first year. Certainly better if you’re there short-term, though perhaps not if you’d plan to stay 30 years.”

Hong Kong International School (151) Total comments
“I spend a lot of money here because I love to do eat out a lot, travel, and there are many things to do in the city. With that being said, I save about 1,300 USD a month, not counting the school severance/matching scheme which is another 1,300 USD.”

Cairo American College (196) Total comments
“The pay continues to be good. There is now a higher matching for retirement. The cost of living is still very inexpensive in Egypt.”

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Comparing the Schools and Comments

Comparing the Schools and Comments: Working in Tokyo, Japan

June 13, 2015

Around the world, there are cities that have more than one international school. Many times there is an American school, a British School, and an international school that uses an international curriculum.

Some cities, though, have MANY international schools!  When that is the case, how do the comments about each school compare to each other?

This blog series looks at comparing some of these comments, all coming from international schools in the same city.

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Tokyo, Japan

Currently, we have 23 schools listed in Tokyo on International School Community.

Schools with the most submitted comments:
American School in Japan (Tokyo, Japan)20 Comments
Canadian International School (Tokyo) (Tokyo, Japan)41 Comments
Makuhari International School (Tokyo, Japan)23 Comments
Seisen International School (Tokyo, Japan)51 Comments
New International School of Japan (Tokyo, Japan)16 Comments
St. Mary’s International School (Tokyo, Japan)15 Comments

Average amount of money left to be saved?

“Most teachers can save around 20% here.” – St. Mary’s International School

“Maybe around 16000 USD a year for single teachers.” – Seisen International School

“Single teachers should be able to save around 12000 USD a year.” – Canadian International School (Tokyo)

“Some single teachers and teaching couples can save over 25000 USD a year. – American School in Japan

Sports programs

“The school has zero proper sports programs and has no interest in implementing one. No specialist p.e. teachers” – Makuhari International School

“The school has a complete PE programme in all grades, as well as an active sports programme (basketball, volleyball, soccer, futsal).Two full-time PE teachers are an integral part of the faculty.” – Canadian International School (Tokyo)

“Many activities of ASIJ’s close-knit faculty center around the school, including musical and theatrical performances, ikebana, martial arts, cycling, aerobics, tennis, swimming, basketball and volleyball.” – American School in Japan

“The school offers a wide variety of extra curricular activities for all levels. These include such team sports as cross-country, tennis, wrestling, swimming, basketball, soccer, track and field, and baseball. Fine arts and activities offered include vocal and instrumental music, speech, debate, drama, musical, student government and publications.” – St. Mary’s International School

School Building

“ASIJ has two campuses offering outstanding facilities. The Early Learning Center is located in the Roppongi area of Tokyo serving ages 3-5 with an exciting educational program. The Chofu campus houses three divisions in separate buildings on a 14-acre site located in Tokyo’s western suburbs. This campus includes three gyms, an indoor swimming pool, tennis courts, two athletic fields, three libraries with over 70,000 titles and a new 570-seat, state-of-the-art theater incorporating a flexible main auditorium, black box theater, choir and practice rooms and a digital video studio. All classrooms are air-conditioned.” – American School in Japan

“The school is set in 3 separate building, one being a 5 minute walk and the other across the road. Crossing the road is quite a safety hazard with the kindergarten class due to taxis over taking them whilst they are on the crossing and the local police not doing anything to monitor this. There is no proper play area and students are taken to local parks for lunch breaks, which is difficult when having to share with babies. No proper gym areas make p.e quite difficult.” – Canadian International School (Tokyo)

“The school occupies two complete buildings and parts of two others in Minami-Ikebukuro, right next to Zoshigaya. It is convenient to several trains and subways, including Ikebukuro Station, which is one of the hubs around the city center.” – New International School of Japan

“The school is in an older building. However, the furniture and classroom supplies are all up-to-date for collaborative teaching and learning.” – Seisen International School


“Housing allowance is USD1,200/month. Teacher pays for utilities.” – St. Mary’s International School

“Landlords in Japan have a lot of rights. For example, the apartment needs to be returned to it original condition or a lot of money will be coming out of your deposit. Many apartment require a ‘gift fee’ for the landlord. For example, giving 1 or 2 months rent as a gift to the landlord. Most apartments you forfeit your cleaning deposit when you leave.” – Seisen International School

“Accommodation allowance is very poor compared to rental cost. The school pushes expensive housing on new teachers which are 120000yen ($1200) a month. housing around the school is quite expensive.” – Makuhari International School

“Housing allowance is 600$ in cash.” – Canadian International School (Tokyo)

(These are just 4 of the 65 different comments topics that on each school profile page on our website.)

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If you work at an international school in Tokyo, share what you know. Consider becoming a Mayor for unlimited premium membership!

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Overview of an Int’l School

Overview of an int’l school #4 – Makuhari International School

March 2, 2012

How great that each international school is unique!

In this overview of an international school, by Tokyo Families, we would like to highlight Makuhari International School.

“Being the newest addition to the international schools in the community, TF asked its principal Paul Rogers to explain what MIS offers to children.

1. What is the Makuhari International School?

Makuhari International School is the only recognised international school in Chiba prefecture. We are a new international school, having opened in April, 2009. We educate Japanese children who have returned to Japan from overseas or dual-nationality, and foreign children already residing here.

2. What qualities make MIS unique?

We are unique because we are the only Article One international school in the whole of Japan. As such, we have unique benefits as an international school. We are also the newest such school operating in Japan at this time. As such, we have no history to fall back on but make our own history as time goes on.

3. What is the curriculum like?

At Makuhari International School, our curriculum is Japan-based. This means we teach the same subjects and at least the same amounts of time for each.  In actual fact,  we teach longer hours than in most Japanese schools and certainly in English and maths. We add on to this Japanese curriculum base, content and objectives from other curricula, mainly that of the UK. This makes our program of study not only extremely full but also suitable for children going into a Japanese school system after leaving us or back to another international school.

4. How does the school’s ‘Article One’ status affect it?

Financially, we can offer lower tuition fees than many other international schools because of tax benefits that Article One schools have. Educationally, children who leave MIS at the end of Grade 6 have legally completed their elementary education and cannot be refused access to taking any entrance tests to Japanese junior high schools.

5. Are there any extra-curricular activities or clubs?

We offer at present over 20 after-school clubs (as well as after school care) ranging from such clubs as chess, frisbee club, homework, rugby, art and yoga club.

6. What facilities are available to students?

At MIS, we not only have excellently resourced classrooms (with the most up to date technology such as interactive SmartBoards) but also specialist rooms. We have a large media centre (including a library, museum and ICT study area), art room, science lab, music room, media areas for all elementary grades, a multipurpose hall, ESL class and cookery room.

7. What kind of children comprise the student body?

At MIS, at present, around 60% of our children are Japanese returnee children, the other 40% are either dual nationality or foreign children.

8. What nationalities are the teaching staff?

We have teachers representing the following countries: UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, America and Japan.

9.  Are there services offered to students and parents?

We offer ESOL (English for Speakers of other Languages) as a support for those children whose English needs assistance.

10. What opportunities can MIS provide?

MIS offers an excellent rounded educational experience for all children in our care. This experience is based around the Mission Statement at our school – ‘all children are unique and special’. Our class teachers are at the core of this process and we believe that we have employed the very best teachers we can. Ultimately it is our aim for all children to make as much progress educationally, socially, physically and emotionally as is possible during their time at our school.”

Currently there are 20 international schools listed in Tokyo on International School Community. Some schools that have some comments and information submitted on them are:

American School in Japan (19 Comments)
Canadian International School (Tokyo) (9 Comments)
International School of the Sacred Heart (5 Comments)
Nishimachi International School (7 Comments)
Makuhari International School (7 Comments)

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