Dili International School developed organically to accommodate the needs of the East Timorese and expatriate community in the immediate 'post-independence' developmental period.
Working in Timor Leste in the early 2000s and with 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 leased a large building in Pantai Kelapa, with all grades of Primary School now available. Preschool and playgroup classes were soon added. 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 by closing early for the holiday break and soon reopened, having lost no student contact-time.
Preschool and Playgroup was moved to a nearby location 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' in Tetun, or 'Growing Seed'.
The continued high-level security warnings imposed by different agencies in the post-conflict period meant recruitment of staff was difficult, and it was not until January 2008 that DIS regained its full complement of qualified teaching staff.
This heralded a period of renewal and consolidation, with the school further developing its identity, with infrastructure, policies and procedures further formalised.
DIS introduced face to face learning for Secondary students in early 2010, to replace the Distance Education programs for students in years 7-10. Following a rigorous process, the International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years program was authorised in 2012. The Primary School also undertook a similar rigorous process leading to DIS' authorisation to offer the IB Primary Years Programme in 2014.
In April 2013 DIS, through its association with Haileybury College in Melbourne Australia, was accredited by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Association (Australia) to offer the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) which provided the school with an internationally-recognised university entrance certificate.
DIS is recognised 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.