Windhoek International School Frequently Asked Questions
Thank you for your interest in Windhoek International School (WIS). We understand that choosing a school, especially when relocating internationally, is not always easy. We will endeavor to make your process as seamless as possible. 

 

WIS is an inclusive and not-for-profit school that welcomes applications throughout the academic year. If you decide to join the WIS community, you will soon find that the school’s mission and values are woven throughout the fabric of this very special and global learning community. 

 

When we speak with people who are considering WIS for their families, some questions come up regularly. These are answered below. 

 

If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to email the WIS Head of Admissions, Carol Heimstadt, at cheimstadt@wis.edu.na or call +246 61 241 783.

 

If you are already in Namibia, then please stop by our campus on Scheppmann Street in Pioneer’s Park. We look forward to meeting you! 

When does WIS accept applications?


WIS follows a northern hemisphere academic calendar and the school year runs from the start of August until the middle of June. As an international school, we recognize that relocation may not coincide with the beginning of a semester, so our admissions process allows for students to apply remotely and arrive at any stage of the school year.




Why choose WIS?


Visitors to our spacious campus often notice the industrious yet relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Our small class sizes and highly qualified teachers mean that each and every student can feel known, supported, and empowered to achieve their goals. Our school day balances a rigorous academic curriculum with opportunities to pursue athletics, music, drama, visual art, outdoor skills, community service, and student leadership. It is impossible to predict what experience will cause a young person to discover their grand passion in life, so our teachers and educational specialists take time to know our students at a personalized and individual level. Our homeroom and advisory program focuses on digital citizenship, interpersonal communication skills, personal and health education, and approaches to learning. WIS is the only International Baccalaureate World School in Namibia, and students graduate with the IB Diploma and/or the WIS American High School Diploma. The curriculum has all the rigour you’d expect, and our graduates leave with test results that are typically above the IB global average. The IB Learner Profile is an accurate description of a WIS student. We expect our students to be articulate, ethical, inquiring, and kind students who recognize their common humanity and shared guardianship of our world. WIS alumni go on to lead highly successful and impactful careers which make a better and more peaceful world.




Is WIS accredited?


Yes. WIS is the only PreK-12 school in Namibia that has international accreditation. We are fully accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). WIS has been an IB World School since 1999, and for the past 20 years WIS has also offered the IGCSE from Cambridge Assessment International Education. WIS is an active member of the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the Association of International Schools in Africa (AISA).




What are the school fees?


The application fee is N$1,000. Once your child has been admitted to WIS, your position will be secured by payment of the Enrolment Fee (N$11,500 one-time payment) and Capital Levy Fee (N$7,000 yearly). The 2021-22 Tuition Fee structure is linked here. The 2022-23 fee structure will be published in March, 2022. Tuition fees may be paid via different instalment plans, as explained in the application for admission.




In what circumstances is the application fee, enrolment fee, or capital levy fee refunded?


While prepaid tuition fees may be refundable in certain circumstances, under no circumstances will the above fees be refundable.




What is the appropriate grade placement for my child?


Students arrive at WIS from all over the world. While we view age and development as the most important determinants of placement, we also utilize previous academic results, admissions test results, and this WIS comparative curriculum chart when determining placement into the appropriate grade.




What if my child is learning English as an additional language? What additional language learning is on offer?


With the exception of language acquisition classes, all instruction at WIS takes place in the medium of English. Students in Grade 1 take one semester of French and one semester of Portuguese. After that, students must choose between French and Portuguese as their additional language. German as an additional language is also offered from Grades 6 through 12. Wherever possible, we promote the maintenance and growth of a students’ first/home language. Our high school diploma requires four years of language learning, and the curriculum culminates in the following IB Diploma Courses at the end of Grade 12:

  • School Supported Self-Taught (SSST) Mother Tongue Language A
  • German B (Higher Level and Standard Level)
  • German Ab Initio (beginning German)
  • Portuguese B (Higher Level and Standard Level)
  • French B (Higher Level and Standard Level)
  • French Ab Initio (beginning French)




What is the WIS high school diploma? How does it differ from the IB Diploma?


Students pursuing the IB Diploma Programme study six subjects over a two-year period, and also complete the IB Core requirements of Extended Essay, Theory of Knowledge, and a portfolio documenting their Creativity, Action and Service (CAS). Successful students will graduate WIS with the IB Diploma as well as the WIS U.S. Diploma. The IB Diploma is highly regarded by the world’s top universities for its balanced and rigorous curriculum. For example, many IB students are able to use their Diploma results to enter into United States colleges with advanced standing and university-level credits. Click here for more information about country and university-specific recognition of the IB Diploma. As a school that is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, WIS is able to offer a four-year high school diploma which prepares students for university in the USA and many further studies worldwide. To obtain the WIS High School Diploma, students in Grades 9-12 must achieve at least 23 credits during their final four years of study. To receive a credit, courses can be taken at any level (both HL and SL). A grade of at least 3 or above accrues credit (0.5 credits per semester). Credits are pro-rated for students who join WIS after the start of 9th grade. Due to the nature of the IB Diploma and the WIS High School Diploma, we are not able to accept students directly into Grade 12.




What curriculum does WIS follow?


As an independent international school, WIS is able to choose the best curriculum for our diverse and talented student body. WIS has a strong record of success offering the IB Diploma in Grades 11 and 12, the IGCSE curriculum in Grades 9 and 10, a holistic curriculum aligned to Australia’s ACARA standards in Grades 6 - 8, the International Baccalaureate’s Primary Years Programme for Grades 1 - 5, and an Early Years Programme which utilizes a Reggio Emilia approach to teaching Australia’s ACARA standards.




Do you have long waiting lists for places?


Demand for enrolment at WIS exceeds the availability of spaces in some but not all grade levels. Availability is based upon the number of seats available in a grade level, student withdrawals, and capacities of our Learning Support and English as an Additional Language teams. The school maintains a waiting list, and the admission priorities are considered as follows:

  • A child of a full-time staff member
  • A sibling of a current student who has completed the application process by 1st January for entry into the following academic year
  • A child who has been on the waiting list for more than one calendar year
  • In order to maintain the international dimension of the school, the school prioritises admissions which increase all types of diversity.
  • In order to maintain a sound fiscal position, the school prioritises the admission of “standard rate” fee paying students.
  • As a school that is supported by the US State Department’s Office of Overseas Schools, the school maintains availability for students whose parents/guardians are working with and for the US Embassy.
  • As an institution that was founded, in part, to help support the United Nations presence during the establishment of Namibia’s independence, we try to prioritise admission for families working in multilateral organizations, development, and public service.




How many students are at WIS and what is the average class size?


There are typically between 450 and 480 students who study at WIS. Class size varies according to age and subject, but they range between 10 and 23 students per class. Early Years and Primary Classes have a teacher and an educational assistant. The Science Labs and Digital Media Resource Libraries are supported with specialized teachers and technicians.




What nationalities and languages are represented at WIS?


At any given time there are between 40 and 50 nationalities represented at WIS.A little over half of our students are Namibian citizens or permanent residents - who themselves represent a great diversity of languages and cultures. Around ten percent of students are American, five percent are Chinese, and five percent are German. Also well-represented are Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa, India, Angola, Ethiopia, Spain, France, and Cameroon. Our teaching body is likewise diverse, with almost 20 nationalities represented. At last count around 100 different languages are able to be spoken on campus. English is the commonly held and social language on campus (and is Namibia’s national language). All classes are taught in English with the exception of language learning classes (Portuguese, French, German).




Does my child require a visa in order to study at WIS?


For non-Namibian children, the school will support families in securing a study visa from the Department of Home Affairs. This is a relatively simple procedure that takes place on an annual basis.




What type of food is available for my child?


The school has the WIS Fish Eagle’s Nest on campus. The tuck shop is operated by an external provider who tries to be responsive to special requests. Students may pre-order and pre-pay their meals or else purchase a la carte options during that day. The Fish Eagle’s Nest is also a place where parents gather on Tuesday and Thursday mornings for a cup of coffee and good conversation, or where students may purchase items during sports tournaments and other school events. The school also facilitates the pre-ordering of cultural foods (such as Nigerian food and Indonesian food) provided by members of the school community.




What after school activities are on offer?


After School Activities take place on Monday through Thursday. Sports tournaments take place on Fridays and Saturdays. WIS sports teams include Football, Volleyball, and Netball. We also offer After School Activities such as Judo, crafting, beading, reading, debating, athletics, drama, photography, robotics, coding, homework support, chess, Model UN, papier mache, print-making, and additional support or language exploration for students who want to improve their French, German, or Portuguese. We also facilitate student connections with external providers so that WIS students have access to swimming teams and horseback riding.




What is the Academic Calendar?


This year’s academic calendar and next year’s academic calendar are linked here. The school operates according to a Northern Hemisphere school year.




Where is the school and what are the facilities like?


The school takes seriously our effort to tread lightly on the earth, and we view our spacious campus environment as, perhaps, our longest-serving teacher. The school moved to its present campus in 1994. The design of the campus is inspired by the layout of an African village. Some but not all of the campus is handicapped accessible. Our learning facilities include an indoor multi-purpose sports hall, a sports field, a modern theater for assemblies and performances, a languages center, two libraries, two Art rooms, a black box drama classroom, well-equipped Science Labs, a music room, a running trail, many flowering and indigenous trees to study beneath, a few special education needs facilities including a sensory room, and an early years garden and space for our chickens and rabbits. All classrooms are equipped with Chromecast screens and wifi.




Who teaches at WIS?


We know that students learn best when they feel known, safe, supported, and challenged by adults they admire and respect - surrounded by an institution which insists on both excellence and kindness. Teachers and staff at WIS are professional, caring, and representative of the diverse and international ethos of the community. The school has 80 teachers and educational specialists who hold around 20 different passports. Most have over 10 years of experience teaching at IB schools.