Dili International School developed organically to accommodate the needs of the East Timorese and expatriate community in the immediate post referendum development period.
With a four-year assignment to Timor Leste in the early 2000s and a need to educate their own three children, Carmel Bates and Tony Haritos started Dili International School from their home in Kampong Alor in July 2002. In February 2003 they had taken out a lease for a larger building in Pantai Kelapa and all grades of Primary School were made available. In May a preschool and playgroup class were offered. In January 2006 as a consequence of many requests for Secondary schooling, the Secondary Distance Education Support program was started.
The civil unrest or Crisis of 2006, saw a decline in families in Timor-Leste either voluntarily or at the urging of their employers. DIS responded to the crisis by closing early for the holiday break and reopened having lost no student contact time.
The Preschool and Playgroup was moved to a location at the end of the school street at the end of 2006 and a Community Preschool for local Timorese children and the children of our Timorese staff members was also started. Known as' Fini Moris'.
The continued high level security warnings imposed by different agencies in the post conflict period made it difficult for DIS to recruit staff and it was not until January 2008 that DIS was able to have a full complement of qualified teaching staff again.
This heralded a time of renewal and consolidation. The school further developed its identity and infrastructure, policies and procedures were formalized for best practice in teaching and learning.
At the start of the 2010 school year DIS introduced face to face learning for Secondary students to replace the Distance Education programs for students in years 7-10 and application of interest as a school was made with the International Baccalaureate to introduce the IB Middle Years program. In 2012 DIS was authorized by the International Baccalaureate to offer the IB Middle Years Programme and in 2014 it was authorized to offer the IB Primary Years Programme.
In April of 2013 DIS, through its association with Haileybury College in Melbourne Australia DIS was accredited by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Association (Australia) to offer the Victorian Certificate of Education which gives the school an internationally recognized high school leaving certificate.
DIS is authorised by the Timor-Leste Ministry of Education and is used by the ministry as an exemplar of best practice providing opportunities for training of Timorese Teachers and administrators as well as other collaborative opportunities to assist with the development of the Timorese Education system.