International Schools in Timor Leste – East Timor

Diploma and graduate hat - Fotolia

You will find below a list of the most popular international and bilingual schools for expats in Timor Leste (also called East Timor, officially the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste) with fee information. The list includes nursery schools, primary and secondary (high) schools for you to find the right school to prepare for the International Baccalaureate and other accreditation in Timor Leste. Some schools may follow the American or British curriculums with English speaking programs while others are regulated under the Australian and Portuguese language and system.

Education in Timor Leste

Timor-Leste has made significant progress in recent years, especially in the number of schools and enrolment levels. Within 5 years, the net enrolment rate grew from 67% to 83% and gender disparity significantly decreased in basic education.

Despite this progress, Timor-Leste’s education sector still faces some challenges. Within basic education, drop out and repetition rates are high, while approximately half of six-year olds do not begin their schooling at the right age.

The education system includes six years of primary education and six years of secondary education (From 6 to 18 years old). However, compulsory education only lasts 9 years from age 6 to age 14.

Before, the language of instruction was Indonesian, but this has been a subject of debate. Many are encouraging a switch to the national language of Tetum as a primary language with Portuguese and English as secondary languages.

International Schools

International schools can be the perfect solution for an expat student (multinational corporation executives, children of diplomats, NGO staff) in Timor Leste. Many schools provide similar standards of schooling around the globe, providing for an easy transition between schools whether they are in France or Vietnam. There may be some local population, but the schools are usually geared for an international student body. Schools may follow a curriculum model from the US, UK, France, etc. Primary instruction may be any language (and multiple languages are usually taught), but it is usually in English, French, Spanish, German, or Japanese. Schools also provide internationally accepted accreditation such as the international baccalaureate.

Admission and enrolment procedures vary from school to school. Space is often limited and preference may be given to students based on nationality. Tuition tends to be expensive based on local standards, but offers high standards of learning, boast smaller class sizes, first-rate facilities, and extracurricular. Boarding facilities are available at some schools, but most only provide day classes.

Accreditation & Membership

  • The CoIS (Council of International Schools) is a non-profit association of international schools and post-secondary institutions which provides educational accreditation, teacher and leadership recruitment services, links to higher education, governance assistance and help with founding new schools.
  • European Council of International Schools (ECIS) is a collaborative network promoting the ideals and best practice of international education, complemented by grants and awards.
  • Council of British International Schools (COBIS) is a responsive organisation that serves, supports and represents its member schools.
  • New England Association of Schools & Colleges (NEASC) is a regional accrediting association which establishes standards for all levels of education, from pre-K to doctoral.
  • Agency for French Education Abroad (Agence pour l'enseignement français à l'étranger, AEFE) is a national public agency under the administration of the French government that assures the quality of schools teaching the French national curriculum outside France.
  • National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) represents over 1100 independent schools and associations in the United States and abroad.

International schools in Dili

Dili International School
Address: 14 Rue Avenue de Portugal, Pantai Kelapa,
Dili, East Timor
Tel: +670 7731 6065
Tuition Rates: Inquire at school

Dili International School offers an international-standard education from Preschool to Grade 12. DIS is an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, authorised to offer the Primary Years Programme. DIS is authorised with the Australian, Victorian Curriculum Assessment Commission to offer the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE), a two year, internationally-recognised university entrance qualification, for Grades 11 and 12.

QSI International School of Dili
Address: Aldea 04 Marconi, Suco Fatuhada,
Sub Distrito Dom Alexio,
Dili, East Timor
Tel: +670 332 2389
Tuition Rates: 3-4-year-old Class: $6,000 + No Capital Fund Fee is required for these classes. 5-Year-Old Class & Above $22,600 (1st Term $9,000, 2nd Term $6,800, 3rd Term $6,800) + Capital Fund: $1,600.

QSI International School of Dili follows the Mastery Learning model of education. Students learn at a pace which allows them to develop a high level of proficiency (knowledge, skills, and competencies) in the curriculum that they are studying. This approach promotes academic rigor and academic success. They have been accredited by the Middle States Association since 2013. [Middle States accreditation is a multifaceted evaluation process that schools and school systems voluntarily use to demonstrate they are meeting a defined set of research-based performance standards. The 12 Middle States Standards for Accreditation are: mission; governance and leadership; school improvement planning; finances; facilities; school organization and staff; health and safety; educational program; assessment and evidence of student learning; student services; student life and activities, and information resources.]

St. Anthony's International School (AISNT)
Address: Dili, Timor-Leste
Main headquarters of AISNT schools in Australia: Level 2, NAB Building, 71 Smith Street, Darwin NT
0801 Australia
Tel: +670 7691 3706
Tuition Rates: Inquire at school

St Anthony's International School (SAIS) is the first AISNT Member School from outside the Northern Territory. It is located in Dili, Timor-Leste. Most students at SAIS speak between two and four languages, but all instruction is in English. A modified Australian curriculum is used. They offer language programs in Tetum and Portuguese, the two official languages of Timor-Leste.

Portuguese schools in Dili

Escola Portuguesa de Díli
Address: Address: Rua 12 de novembro, Santa Cruz
Dili, East Timor
Tel: +670 332 2073
Tuition Rates: Inquire at school

It was created in 2002 and it is located in Dili, in the Santa Cruz district. It integrates more than 800 students, from pre-school to secondary education. Initially designated Portuguese School of Dili, in 2009 it received the designation of  Portuguese School of Dili – Center for Teaching and Portuguese Language and, in the academic year of 2011/2012, the designation of Portuguese School Ruy Cinatti – Center for Teaching and Portuguese Language.