On Friday, 10 November 1989, a small column appeared in The Nation newspaper that set the stage for sweeping changes to education in Thailand. Five short paragraphs revealed that the Private Education Commission had in principle approved a proposal to open new international schools in Thailand. Shortly after, the parents who spearheaded that proposal formed a committee to formally begin examining the feasibility of opening a new, truly international school in Bangkok. At that time a mere six international schools existed in the country, and all represented a national curriculum. Less than three years later, the first 502 students of NIST International School walked through the doors of their new home at Sukhumvit Soi 15.
Just two months shy of the school’s 25th anniversary, on 15 June 2017, Khun Sarath Ratanavadi (Chair of the NIST International School Foundation) and Khun Ornkanya Pibuldham (Chair of the NIST Executive School Board) successfully signed an agreement with the Church of Christ in Thailand (CCT) to extend the existing lease to 2060, ensuring that we will remain at our current location for the next 43 years.
When our school first opened in 1992, the facilities reflected the austere design of barracks, appropriate in that the buildings had been constructed by the United States military. Since that time, the campus has gradually transformed, reflecting the broad diversity of a learning community that includes more than 50 nationalities and even broader experiences. Through the support of the CCT, which shares the school’s belief in the power of education to transform society, NIST’s programmes have earned global recognition for innovation and excellence in learning.
The international school landscape throughout Thailand has also dramatically changed in that time, broadening to include over 100 in Bangkok alone. As NIST looks to the future, sustained by the assurance that the school will have a home for many years to come, we now have the opportunity to continue being a leader and innovator. The founding teachers, parents and students were trailblazers, building a learning community that shifted the direction of education in Thailand. Our ambitions have not lessened. The NIST of today and the future does not merely aim for preparing students for universities and the workplace. We dream of much more: providing pathways that enable every member of the community to flourish and enrich lives.