Read about the curricula, exams and tests commonly encountered at international schools, including the UK and US systems, International Baccalaureate and International Primary Curriculum.
Search for the best international schools in Panama; you can find a list of selected schools at the bottom of this page. Use the search filters to select only girls' or boys' schools, prep schools, senior schools or sixth forms; or you can search for schools that offer a particular curriculum, such as the International Baccalaureate, the UK national curriculum, a US-style model or the International Primary Curriculum.
International schools in Panama are mainly based in the capital Panama City, with a scattering of campuses in other cities including Colon, Coronado and David. Buoyed by revenues from the Panama Canal, the small country has the second most-competitive economy in Latin America and attracts expatriates from around the globe.
Panama’s leading private schools are generally rated among the best in Latin America and the country offers a choice of English-medium schools following the US and British curriculums. There are three IB World Schools that offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma in English, with one – the Metropolitan School of Panama – authorised to also teach IB programmes in the primary and middle years. Two further IB World Schools teach in Spanish. The MSP, which was founded in 2011, was authorised to offer all three IB programmes by 2015 and joined the Nord Anglia Education group, which operates 47 schools across 17 countries, in September 2017.
It is adopting the group’s global education programmes in science, technology, engineering, arts and maths (STEAM) and in performing arts that are run in partnership with Massachusetts Institute of Technology and New York’s Juilliard School respectively.
King’s College Panama was set up in 2012 by the King’s Group, which runs schools in Spain and the UK, and follows the English national curriculum leading to IGCSEs. It teaches children aged three to 16 [2017-18] and is planning to open an A-level programme.
The International School of Panama, which offers through-train education leading to the IB Diploma or Panamanian diploma to more than 1,200 students from 50 countries, launched its own innovation and entrepreneurship programme as an alternative track in 2016-17.
The private sector also includes a smorgasbord of schools teaching in other languages including French, Japanese and Chinese, as well as institutions catering to Jewish, Muslim and Catholic communities.
Many international schools in Panama require parents of new students to pay a one-off capital donation, which can be as high as US$15,000 per student. Fees can also be relatively high, while campuses tend to be modern, with well-equipped classrooms and good sports facilities.
The academic year may run from February to December, as in Panama’s public school system, or follow the North American school calendar from September to June. Some schools are selective, with language ability a common criteria, and admissions can be competitive.
When choosing a school, parents are advised to check that accreditation arrangements are in place with a body such as the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the Council of British International Schools, or the Council of International Schools.
Public schools in Panama are free to children aged four to 14, for whom education is compulsory. Instruction is in Spanish, uniforms are the norm and school buses are provided. Participation and literacy rates are high for the region.