Ours is a simple but important story.
We want to work with like-minded organisations across the globe to not only improve the quality of education but the equality of it also.
We all know that education is a key solution to improve the health and livelihood of any society. It contributes to social stability and drives long-term economic growth. It reduces infant mortality rate and increases human life expectancy. Education guarantees lifetime income.
The problem is, despite the progress in developing countries, wealth has always been concentrated at the top.
I am a Singaporean. A son of a humble doorman who worked hard to educate his children. I understand what education means for the working class. One day in 1995, I stood outside the gates of the most expensive school in Jakarta (on the island of Java, Indonesia) looking inside. I asked myself, “Why is quality education in the hands of one group of society?” It was here when the Inspirasi journey began.
In 1996, a year later, I halved the annual fees of that ‘very expensive school’ and established our first campus in the fourth largest country in the world, Indonesia, using best practises from Singapore, where the education system is ranked number one globally. I branded these schools SIS (Singapore Intercultural School).
It was a very successful project. After a strategic partnership with the International Finance Corporation (World Bank), my team and I were out there halving fees again for every new SIS school we established in different geographies. All this while maintaining quality through our very unique and highly collaborative eco-system, I called Vertical Collaboration.
In 2019, we were accorded a global award by UK’s Financial Times and the International Finance Corporation (World Bank) for the transformational work we do in education. In 2020, we were named by Capital Finance International out of London as the best educational institution in SE Asia for the impact we bring to our stakeholders.
You see, this idea of reducing fees and establishing quality schools, well let me tell you – it can be done. Because we have done it. And our story is being told in international and regional conferences.
We now want to transform the face of education for the middle and lower income working class. We will do it the same way we did for the other income classes by halving fees though our unique approach, and we will do it under the brand Inspirasi.
Inspirasi, in Javanese simply means “Inspiration”. This is what I felt that day when I stood staring inside from the gates of that expensive school.
The need to always remain inspired has an enormous impact in our lives to keep us motivated and our hopes alive so we can make a difference in our communities and help transform our country. Inspirasi schools will aim to inspire every young mind and harness their ambition, imagination and intelligence — no matter which background they are from.
Yes, grades and degrees do matter. But I am going to use my experience and networks to take things further still. We will democratize the very best of education, using disruptive ideas and progressive technology to rethink the way children learn. We will draw from the best educators and experts from the communities where we are. We will bring parents on-board and inspiring communities to construct the boldest hopes and then work to achieve them. We will begin by reimagining classrooms. From the lessons to the textbooks to the fabric of the buildings, Inspirasi will start from the ground up.
Our aim? To show the world a new way of learning, and that quality education is no longer going to be in the hands of one group of society.
That is our promise, and this is our story. Come join us.
Founder and Chairman
The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence. – Confucius
The human voice can never reach the distance that is covered by the still small voice of conscience. – Mahatma Gandhi
A value-based education is an integral part of any school program, and therefore our core values are reflected in the way we do things and interact. Our values foster a climate across all our schools providing everyone a sense of purpose and engagement as well as a safe, caring and supportive environment.
Inspirasi values are embodied in the acronym REACH, as our learners work to reach their full potential with a voice of conscience.
At Inspirasi, we know our values will help us stand out.
Our leadership and educators have an obligation to demonstrate our core values everyday as Inspirasi is a moral habitat where we work collaboratively to pass these values and beliefs to our students.
Out learners have an obligation to practice these values, assess their own behaviour and reflect how their actions can make a difference to others around them.
Our parent community has an obligation to support us at school and at home to help mould our student’s resiliency and attitudes, especially in these times of change.
Jaspal Sidhu, a Singaporean, has worked across the Indonesia archipelago for almost 30 years now, spending almost half of that time in the mining and construction industry. Graduating from the National University of Singapore with a degree in Civil and Structural engineering, Jaspal went on to obtain his Masters in Business Administration (Distinction) with the University of Hull, UK.
Jaspal Sidhu Biography
Jaspal founded Indonesia’s most reputed chain of private schools operating at multiple price points under the under the umbrella SIS Group of Schools. This was in a strategic partnership with the International Finance Corporation (World Bank Group) and a private equity fund. It is presently in an expansion mode in developing countries like Indonesia Myanmar, India and other parts of Asia.
The Group was awarded the prestigious Financial Times (UK) -IFC (World Bank) global 2019 award in London for its transformational work in education. A year later, 2020, Capital Finance (Cfi.co), named the Group of Schools, as the “Best Educational institution in SE Asia” for its impact and value to communities and stakeholders. The Group’s work has been featured in many of IFC (World Bank)’s impact stories as well as in publications like Forbes Indonesia and the Singapore Business Times. Jaspal speaks regularly at international and regional education and investment conferences. Recent ones were in San Francisco, Singapore, Cape Town, Dubai and Thailand. The Group believes in the power of a transparent and robust feedback system which gives voices to all stakeholders. Its best practices and good governance earned Jaspal a call to help in an initiative by IFC (World Bank) and Harvard University to develop a set of principles called “Ethics in Education”.
Jaspal often conducts talks for senior management from multi-nationals and diplomats looking to hit the ground running in Indonesia and other developing countries. Over the years, Jaspal has also assisted many Small and Medium Enterprises expand into Indonesia as well as helped in conflict resolution in commercial disputes. Jaspal is also member of the Governing Council of the Singapore Chamber of Commerce in Indonesia and is an advisor to the Indonesian Education Forum, a public-private initiative that looks to improving the standards of education in the country.
Jaspal speaks fluent Bahasa Indonesia and is also the 3-time amateur stand-up comedy champion of Indonesia.
Jaspal Sidhu on the world stage
Given Jaspal Sidhu’s more than 25 years of experience in the education sector, particularly in developing countries, he is often asked to share his views about the sector in regional and international conference and webinars like those organised by the IFC (World Bank). Jaspal has been on panels with notable experts like Nadiem Makarim (Indonesia’s education Minister) and Cindy Hook (Chief executive officer of Deloitte Asia Pacific) sharing his views on making impact in the education sector of developing countries, and the type of leadership needed to achieve it. Jaspal also occasionally conducts modules for undergraduates on “Impact Entrepreneurship”.
6. Interview with Jaspal Sidhu by Teactact, an African based teacher training organisation on how policies by education stewards can help improve the quality of education in developing countries, especially Sub-Saharan African countries.
7. Jaspal Sidhu speaking with experts on “Transition in the education sector: Post Covid world” organised by Teactact, an African based teacher training organisation on how policies by education stewards can help improve the quality of education in developing countries, especially Sub-Saharan African countries.
8. Jaspal Sidhu shares his opinions on the global education terrain with experts from the Vijaybhoomi University, India’s first professional liberal professional university.
9. Jaspal Sidhu in a panel discussion on “Technology in tomorrow’s classrooms” with visiting professors from colleges in the USA.
10. Jaspal Sidhu speaking in a webinar organised by ASK Consulting and the Association of Private Schools (Indonesia) entitled “Global Crisis, Once in a Life-time Universal Learning Moment.”
11. Jaspal Sidhu speaking at the launch of SIS Group’s new project in Chennai (India) – The Anand Singapore International School.
12. Jaspal Sidhu speaking about the 2019 Financial Times – IFC (World Bank) Transformational award given to the SIS group of Schools.
13. Jaspal Sidhu featured in video on the 2020 FT/IFC (WorldBank)Transformational Business Awards: Celebrating 15 Years of Impact.
14. Jaspal Sidhu speaking about “Schools of Tomorrow” in a webinar for an international and domestic audience as well as policy makers, organised by Ask Consulting.
15. Jaspal Sidhu speaking with India’s most popular education publication Education World.
16. Jaspal Sidhu sharing his vies on enrolment trends during the pandemic. Master Class with Education Leaders.
17. Jaspal Sidhu in an Interview by Everdge Global (a global consulting company that values intangible assets) on Transforming Education.
18. Jaspal Sidhu speaking at Edutech Indoensia Conference; “Why do EdTech companies fail or limp along.”
Recent lectures and workshops
- Conducted training modules for Small and Medium Enterprises from Singapore in a National University of Singapore, Singapore Business Federation and Singapore Government’s Enterprise Singapore initiative. Topic; How to hit the ground running in Indonesia
- Webinar by the International Baccalaureate Body (IB) on Operating an IB School. My topic; Lens on Schools; Is this the best we can do?”
- Launched the Help4u initiative for world-wide school who need expertise, ideas and resources to manoeuvre through the pandemic
- Ran a Master Class on “Empathy in Leadership” for Deloitte Singapore for their SEA Partners
- Interview with the Indonesian Education Forum, a public-private partnership initiative that advises the Indonesian government on policies around the education terrain. Interview was on “Shaping Minds and empowering lives in Indonesia”
- On a Panel with Minister of Education Nadiem Makarim, Dir Gen Iwan Shahril (Ministry of Education) in an education forum organised by Indonesian Education Forum (IEF) , a public-private partnership initiative that advises the Indonesian government on “Policies around the education terrain”.
- Ran a Master Class on “Ikigai – Personal Journeys vs Organizational journeys” for Global Healthcare company, Novartis on invitation by Deloitte Singapore
- Spoke at annual Indonesian Education Forum, on “Transforming Education; Fostering Creativity and Critical Thinking”. IEF is a public-private partnership initiative that advises the Indonesian government on policies around the education terrain
- Moderated a Singapore Chamber of Commerce in Indonesia (co-hosted by Singapore Global Network and Singapore Business federation) and Webinar; Investing in Indonesia; 3 new developments you should know
- Ran a Master Class on Personal Impact – “What great organisations can learn from great Schools” for Estee Lauder, on invitation by Deloitte Singapore
- Spoke at an international Education Summit webinar/conference organised by Education Investor Global and Ernst Young Pathenon
Our 4 P’s
"P" – People
There is no doubt that our students will always be the focus of all our decisions and processes. However, in Inspirasi, we consider our educators as being the most important members of our organization.
They are responsible for giving our learners a purpose and setting them up for success as citizens of the world, and inspire in them a drive to do well and succeed in life.
We know that an out-standing educator can help improve student outcomes. We also know for that to happen, there needs to be a positive connection between the teacher and the learner.
The question we in Inspirasi asked is this - What are the fundamental attributes of an out-standing educator to allow for these positive connections to be made?
After more than 20 years of research and experience in the education sector we have found that an out-standing educator needs 8 fundamental attributes that will help make a huge difference in the student’s learning journey.
Educators need to be Earnest, Funny, Firm, Enthusiastic and Consistent. They need to subscribe to Timeliness. Must be Open-minded and must inherently be Researchers.
These qualities aptly form the term “E F F E C T O R”.
In our quest, to seek innovative ways to hire and train EFFECTORs, we partnered with Deloitte (Singapore) to look at cutting-edge HR practices of more than 20 successful corporations across the worlds, including Google, Face-book and Apple. We have today a unique and innovative playbook to hire and train EFFECTORs from within our communities and beyond.
The EFFECTORTM model for recruitment
This is a human-centered approach which is commonly used in design and management frameworks. The approach keeps the experience of the candidate in mind throughout the hiring process. At all times throughout the hiring process, the approach seeks to identify EFFECTOR qualities. Throughout the journey, a teacher persona is created to reflect teacher types - pinpointing who they are, what they like, what they do in the relevant education context and what EFFECTOR qualities they demonstrate. The candidates that best demonstrate most of the EFFECTOR qualities are selected and recruited.
The EFFECTORTM model for training
Studies show that while organisations invest a lot in learning, these learning outcomes don’t always translate into better performance. Here the main problem is that learning is often treated as a one-off activity, when instead it should be continuous. It is with this in mind that the EFFECTORTM model uses the very innovative Bersin’s Four-E approach to create a continuous learning culture in successful organisations.
"P" - Program
The World Bank has laid it out for us; The world is facing a learning crisis.
We looked at good schools across a wide tuition fee spectrum.
If there is one area of focus that they all subscribe to - its competency-based learning, where students progress in class at their own pace and depth.
At Inspirasi our curricula will vary depending on the country we are in and the local regulatory requirements. But not our approach. Inspirasi schools focus on mastery where clear learning outcomes for each child is defined based on their ability. We provide our learners with the feedback they will need to progress.
Our curricula will be project-based and our students will be doing projects all year round. These projects will be aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Goals (UNSDGs) where our students will acquire knowledge, and apply them to solve real-life problems in their own communities. The project-based approach also focusses on developing research, analytical skills, collaboration, and presentation skills.
Because Inspirasi is a network of schools across borders, our students will be involved in projects with Inspirasi students in other countries. Besides making international friends and networks, this will help with their holistic development as they will be exposed to different cultures. In many ways each Insiprasi school is an international-national school.
STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics) will sit central in our school program in guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking.
The rigour of our program will continue to look to academic success as we appreciate that this plays a role in their phase of their educational journey and choice of universities. Sports and the Creative Arts will complement the overall program. Every student will also learn to play chess.
In the early years, we will draw from the Singapore education system to ensure the fundamentals are set right, after all Singapore is constantly rated as number one in worlds PISA rankings by OECD. You cannot code if you cannot do math, nor can you present or share an opinion if you cannot write properly or have no interest to read. So our focus will always be on the foundations of literacy and numeracy.
As our students progress to the middle and high school, there will be a continued focus on their academic performance. Students will also be learning about organisational skills and time awareness. Our Program will help them understand how to negotiate around conflicts, and they will learn to self-advocate. Our Program will look to cultivate individual passion while helping our students make safe and ethical choices.
Both formative and summative assessments will play a role in helping our students progress. Parent engagement will play a key role as we believe parents are partners in the learning journey of our students.
Technology will play a key role in enabling teaching and learning.
The average gamer plays for about 6 hours of video games every week. The debate as to whether video games are good or bad has been going on for a long time and will continue.
In Inspirasi, we offer an alternative to video games; Chess.
The history of chess can be traced back nearly 1500 years. Siegbert Tarrasch a German chess player once said “Many have become chess masters, no one has become the master of chess.” Made popular by players like Bobby Fisher, Garry Kasporav and very recently Magnus Carlsen and the Netflix series, the Queens Gambit, Chess is a game of strategy, patience and logic.
All Inspirasi students will learn to play chess through our comprehensive, structured and modular programme designed by world class chess players.
Research has shown the chess increases brain activity and can help improve a player’ IQ. It is a game that teaches and improves the student’s analytical and problem solving skills as players are always thinking two or three moves in advance. It is a game of patience and strategy where players look at their own vulnerable positions, making sacrifices with the aim of cornering the opponent. Every move is a unique step and requires a sense of creativity. It helps improve memory as players need to memorise sequences and the logic behind those many strategies. Research even suggests that chess can improve reading skills of the student as the cognitive processes for both activities are similar.
"P" – Place
Some technology pundits were predicting the demise of face-to-face learning in K-12 schools, only to be replaced by online teaching and learning. Well, Covid19 should now put that debate to rest.
Our schools are not going to go away. Our children need interaction. They need friends. They need outdoor play. They need safe areas to socialise.
During the pandemic, our team in Inspirasi huddled and re-examined work and learning environments in our schools as well as others across the globe. We saw how communities became more health conscious than ever before. Therefore in our schools we always advocate stringent health and safety policies in our daily activities.
Facility management in Inspirasi schools is not just about painting walls and replacing tiles. It is about building our expertise around health and hygiene. Our schools work with independent safety auditors to ensure good health and safety standards.
We have all now seen the vulnerability of our environment. Inspirasi school designs levitate to eco-friendly concepts as we understand the role of our infra-structure in helping accelerate carbon-foot print reduction. Recycling is emphasised. Each time we open a new school, we look at efficiency around our features and operations that will support the United National Sustainable Goals (UNSDGs).
A school building reflects the school’s culture and brand, and therefore we insist Inspirasi’s position on the environment must be physically evident and not just reflected in words on our website or brochures.
When we establish an Inspirasi school, our team looks to the careful design of space to ensure sterile and unused areas are activated to reduce densities. These are turned into pleasant, green areas that will prevent over-crowding and allow the students to spread out and just to hang out. These spaces are also carefully composed for ease of movement promoting meaningful connection and collaboration without crowding. We aim for every Inspirasi school to be accredited with local green building councils.
A lot of thinking in an Inspirasi school design goes into the need to reunite communities fragmented and scarred by social distancing through colour, appropriate lighting and expanse.
Inspirasi schools are unequivocally aimed to promote the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of our students and teachers as they interact.
"P" - Our Processes and Awards
The Founder of our Schools also established the award-winning SIS Group of Schools, which is in a strategic partnership with the International Finance Corporation (World Bank Group).
The unique eco-system that allows for Vertical Collaboration across all the SIS schools saw the Group being awarded the Global award by the Financial Times and the World Bank for the Transformational work in education.
In 2021, SIS was named by Capital Finance as the “Best Educational Institution in SE Asia” for the impact the Group has brought to the communities where our schools are established.
Our schools mirror these best practises and processes.
These international networks and close partnerships with international organisations provide us with vast opportunities to tap on education consultants and schools across the world for sharing and collaboration purposes. Our relationships with the Ministries of Education in the country we establish our schools allow for informed updates on changes to curriculum and practices. Our good relationships with local and international universities provide us with opportunities to show case the talent of our graduates.
Our internal systems and processes are the main drivers for the creation and implementation of the unique culture of collaboration between all our schools. This includes regular meetings between our educators from different schools to share learning points and best practices and having access to a shared central repository of teaching materials and teaching methods guidelines.
Our comprehensive feedback systems allow us to gather feedback from principals, teachers, students and parents for improvements all year round. Comprehensive on-boarding and induction programmes for our educators to blend into the Group’s pedagogy and culture.
Wherever our schools are established, we form partnerships with the communities and local governments because we believe in the strength of public-private partnerships.
We share our ideas and best practises with other local public and private schools, and we learn from them. We do various kinds of projects with these schools. We help train their teachers as well.
Our schools look to hire from local communities. These include local vendors, contractors, suppliers, non-teaching staff as well as teaching staff.
We are network with international organisations and local governments to understand their vision and goals. We align our schools with the world-class strategies of these organisations.
The Inspirasi Teacher
Inspirasi schools will hire the best teachers with the right attitudes and attributes
Every Inspirasi teacher will be an EFFECTOR.