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Our country strategy

The countries we choose and the students we choose

Pestalozzi students 2016-2018

Choosing prospective students for the Pestalozzi-UWC scholarship is an enjoyable but important part of the work we do. Before the students touch down in the UK, and reach UWC Atlantic, a lot of work is done behind the scenes.

The rigorous recruitment process involves in-depth research into specific countries, the formation of robust partnerships with organisations in each country, and the assessment of the students themselves.

How do we choose our students?

Every year, members of our Student Programme team travel to our student countries to find prospective Pestalozzi students aged between 16-19 years-old. Whilst in the partner countries, they conduct one-to-one interviews, which are a big part of the selection process. On top of the interviews students also have to sit exams in English, maths and science before they are considered for a coveted Pestalozzi scholarship.

The selection process also takes into consideration a number of factors including the student’s age, academic ability and potential, financial situation, social circumstances and the most important consideration is their commitment to making a positive difference to the lives of people in their home communities.

Below are the five considerations when looking at perspective Pestalozzi students:

  1. Students from the country must be capable of scoring 5.5 (with 5.5 in Writing) on the IELTS Academic Paper. 
  2. We look specifically at students who lack the opportunity to complete the final two years of secondary school (A Level or equivalent) and we also focus on countries with low rates of student progression into tertiary education.
  3. Students from the country must have a level of education sufficient to cope with the demands of an A-Level course or an Enhanced A-Level course.
  4. Students from the country will ideally add to the ethnic and cultural diversity of the community in the UK
  5. The country must be able to provide partners who meet the Pestalozzi partnership criteria.

Which are our student countries?

We currently select students from Belize, Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Nepal, the Tibetan communities in exile, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Below is a brief outline of each:


The flag of Belize

Area: 22.966
Population: 367,000
Education—Primary: 109/114 Female/Male
Education—Secondary: 82/78 Female/Male
Education—Tertiary: 30/18 Female/Male

Map of Belize


Flag of Bhutan

Area: 38,394
Population: 784,000
Education—Primary: 103/101 Female/Male
Education—Secondary: 87/81 Female/Male
Education—Tertiary: 9/13 Female/Male

Map of Bhutan


Flag of India

Area: 3,287,263
Population: 1326,802,000
Education—Primary: 117/105 Female/Male
Education—Secondary: 69/67 Female/Male
Education—Tertiary: 23/25 Female/Male

Map of India


Flag of Indonesia

Area: 1,910,931
Population: 260,581,000
Education—Primary: 105/107 Female/Male
Education—Secondary: 82/83 Female/Male
Education—Tertiary: 33/29 Female/Male

Map of Indonesia


Flag of Nepal

Area: 147,181
Population: 28,851,000
Education—Primary: 140/130 Female/Male
Education—Secondary: 69/65 Female/Male
Education—Tertiary: 15/18 Female/Male

Map of Nepal


Map of Tibet

Area: 1,200,000
Population: 3,200,000
Education: N/A


Pestalozzi has welcomed Tibetan refugees to the village since 1963, working with our main long established partner, the Department of Education at the Central Tibetan Administration based in Dharamsala. 


Flag of Uganda

Area: 241,550
Population: 40,323,000
Education—Primary: 104/103 Female/Male
Education—Secondary: N/A

Map of Uganda

Pestalozzi welcomed our first Uganda student in 2011. 


Flag of Zambia

Area: 752,612
Population: 16,717,000
Education—Primary: 109/65 Female/Male
Education—Secondary: 109/65 Female/Male
Education—Tertiary: 109/65 Female/Male

Map of Zambia

Pestalozzi welcomed our first Zambian students to the village in 1988. 


Flag of Zimbabwe

Area: 390,757
Population: 15,967,000
Education—Primary: 99/100 Female/Male
Education—Secondary: 45/48 Female/Male
Education—Tertiary: 5/6 Female/Male

Map of Zimbabwe

Pestalozzi welcomed four Zimbabwean students as part of the first intake of IB students in 1997. 

Pestalozzi students

For further information regarding all the information above please contact Mags Alexander at

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Inspiring young people to make a difference in the world.