VERSO is the Latin word for the left-hand page of an open book. To us, it symbolizes the turning of a new page. As an innovative, progressive, and future-focused international school, our purpose at VERSO is to continually find ways to turn that page.
At VERSO we’re inspired by what the future might bring. The school’s founders, Khun Keeree Kanjanapas and Mr. Howard Liang wanted to establish an international school in Thailand that would give students from around the world the opportunity to fulfill their human potential and build a powerful set of future-ready skills. In their wisdom, they sensed an enormous need for young people to be better prepared for what the future might bring.
The result is VERSO: a world-class international school designed to inspire young people to find their passions, pursue their dreams, and develop the confidence to lead their own journey.
In the pages of history, 2020 will be a year no one will forget. A pandemic that sent shockwaves around the world, revealing the fragile nature of planet Earth and our own vulnerability as humans, has brought global disruption and turmoil to levels we could never have imagined.
It was also the year we opened VERSO.
Ironically, the impact of the global pandemic has highlighted further the importance of preparing young people with the skills and mindsets needed to successfully navigate a highly uncertain future. It’s important to remember that our opening in August 2020 coincided with a frantic lockdown that, overnight, forced schools around the world to move online, regardless if they were ready or not. In a short period of time, almost 70% of the world’s student population was out of school. The hunch that schools needed to rethink, reorganize and redesign had become a reality.
Although we couldn’t predict the pandemic, we did identify an urgent need for schools to become much more adaptive, innovative, and responsive to change. When we looked at the horizon, the signals were clear. Our world was evolving faster than at any other time in human history, yet our educational systems and schools remained unchanged. To make a difference, we had to think differently. That’s when we asked the amazing people at IDEO, the world’s leading design and innovation organization, to help us.
Our groundbreaking work with IDEO, included visits to more than 25 innovative schools in the United States, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Thailand. In the 4 months of intensive travel and research, we learned a lot.
We asked important questions about our context and how we might create a school that is responsive and inspired by Thailand. We embraced the idea of innovation and the importance of finding ways to protect and encourage an evolving and experimenting learning environment. We got curious about the value of international education and how we might help students, parents, and educators to see beyond visible features and make the most meaningful aspects of the school experience tangible. We also explored the idea of ownership and how we could create an expectation that everyone in the school takes part in the education we deliver?
Using a human-centered design process the IDEO designers skillfully synthesized all of this research into prototype models that we tested with families in Bangkok. The insights we gathered from those conversations eventually produced the three simple beliefs that VERSO is built on:
We are an international school that supports learners to develop a strong sense of personal and cultural identity, an ability to actively engage with the world around them, and the confidence to lead their own journey and pursue any path they choose.
VERSO’s origin story is unlike that of any other international school. Our uniqueness lies in our design. This comes from the journey we took with IDEO, but also the vision and belief of our founders who want to ensure Thailand is home to a school recognized as a global leader in educational design and innovation.
This is VERSO.