Creating high-performance schools and learning centers in Asia is no easy feat. You must have a clear understanding of the local culture, learning style, and educational vision of the region to achieve success. Otherwise, your efforts could fall short, leaving you with a disconnect between administrators, instructors, and students. Thankfully, we are here to help.

To get started, take a look at these key tips for building a strong educational institution in Asia.

Create a Compelling School Vision

Before you can get started, your school needs a clear vision. Across all levels, your vision acts as a compass, guiding everyone toward their individual and societal goals. You can use the vision to align your mission with government initiatives across Asia, which drive developments at all educational levels. It also helps to set expectations and promotes shared values that pave the way to success.

"To start crafting this statement, look to the country’s ambitions in providing education to its people. Focus on how your learning center will integrate into society and give back to the surrounding community. Then, share how you will empower students to support their country by providing them with a high-quality education."

Every step of the way, you should use vivid storytelling skills to create a compelling tale that highlights your mission and values. Students and staff alike should easily relate to your story and see themselves supporting the school’s vision in all they do.

Encourage Everyone to Embrace the Vision

No matter how well written it is, just having a vision is not enough to help your school excel. You have to go above and beyond in helping everyone embrace the vision. Students, instructors, and administrators alike all need to know the school’s mission and values inside and out, giving them a chance to internalize the message.

To effectively encourage everyone to embrace the vision, you have to understand the mindset of your instructors. In Asia’s top down learning environments, instructors play a vital role in sharing the vision with students. Through their daily interactions, they can communicate how students can use the mission and values to mold their educational journey.

With this 10-step process, you will have all the tools you need
to master the critical areas of a successful school.

Assist Students in Developing Soft Skills

Even in highly-focused programs, instruction has to go beyond hard skills to teach the traits that make people great employees and citizens.

Known as soft skills, these traits include:

  • Communication
  • Listening
  • Dependability
  • Organization
  • Critical thinking
  • Teamwork
  • Integrity

Since they are much more reserved than their Western counterparts, Asian students often need direct instruction to master these skills. They are less likely to simply learn them through their interactions with others, putting instructors in charge of teaching them how it works.

"To enable that process, you need to create a program that makes it easy to integrate soft skills into all the lessons. Build a curriculum that demands the use of soft skills to complete assignments and projects to see the most improvements. You could encourage study groups or even make more assignments group projects to assist students in developing these skills."

Furthermore, the environment should make students feel comfortable opening up around their peers. In the right learning situation, students can let go of feeling shy and focus on improving their communication, organization, and many other important skills. The environment should encourage them to ask questions and even challenge their instructors, for example, to achieve the best results.

Build Campuses for Socialization

In Asia, schools typically only have classrooms for instruction in their designs. They completely lack common areas found in Western schools, keeping students from openly socializing in their downtime. To have the full school experience, students need gathering places where they spontaneously come together day after day.

For that reason, a well-designed school or learning center should have:

  • Cafeterias
  • Sports fields
  • Courtyards
  • Study areas
  • Benches

By placing these common areas in your school, you give students ample chances to network and practice their soft skills. Their ability to build connections also helps strengthen school spirit and motivation to learn.

Through this process, your efforts will help prepare them for flipped classrooms, which are the future of learning in the 21st century. These classrooms allow students to take ownership of their educational journey, giving them even more tools to use in the future.

FREE SELF-ASSESSMENT  Are you delivering inclusive learning?  By promoting inclusive education, we mean that we strive to meet the diverse  needs of all students in a way that is respectful, accepting and supportive  Benchmark your institution against best practices!

Use Culture to Make the School Unique

Simply adopting a Western curriculum can definitely backfire as it does not use cultural components to engage with students. Instead, you have to take an integrated approach to use developments to advance learning without leaving culture behind. Plan to introduce common areas and soft skills' instruction, for example, but do not forget to blend culture into the curriculum.

If you are running a hospitality program in China, you can blend innovation with culture by adding a tea tasting class to the curriculum. When running a culinary program, integrate a Chinese restaurant into the learning center, giving everyone a chance to apply their skills in a safe environment. Through this approach, you can create a unique educational institution that unites students and allows them to better embrace your vision.

Help Instructors Learn How to Adapt Teaching Techniques

In Asia, a top-down environment means that students will not question nor contradict their instructors. Many instructors have become quite accustomed to this style of teaching, never expecting students to speak up. If your program encourages students to challenge unclear or incorrect information, instructors could feel attacked and uncomfortable teaching the class.

To help them adjust, your school will need to promote mindfulness. This is sure to assist instructors in paying attention to their internal responses as challenges come their way. Instructors may also need to practice taking a moment to process the message before responding to their students. By taking that approach, they can retain a collaborative spirit and move away from the traditional teaching methods of yesteryear.

By using these six tips, you can develop your program to best support students and provide them with an excellent educational journey. Your efforts will help prepare them for their chosen careers, while providing a brand-new outlook on the world. Your instructors will also gain a newfound understanding of the different ways to approach teaching and move through their own careers with confidence.

Written by

Director & Head of Education Advisory at EHL

Visit website

Got a story to share? Become an EHL Insights contributor

Learn More


INVEST IN EDUCATION: A 10-step process to tackle your school's biggest challenges.

1. Branding & Identity
2. Legal & Operating Requirements
3. Business Plan & Budget
4. Marketing & Recruitment
5. Facilities & Infrastructures
6. Staffing & Development Plan
7. Funding & Finance
8. Program & Curriculum
9. Policies & Procedures
10. Industry Relationships