Choice of curriculums: There is a range of curriculums to choose from including Australian, American, British, Canadian, French and Singaporean. This will depend on what you want for your child and inevitably on where they will go for university or what course they pursue.
State-of-the-art facilities: One of the biggest draws of international schools is their facilities – from modern science labs and auditoriums to great sports resources and well-equipped classrooms. These are upgraded and expanded accordingly as student numbers increase and pedagogy advances.
Small class size and individual attention: This is a major advantage as it means that a child will get the attention they need and will learn better due to less distractions. The average class size is between 15 and 25 students.
Extracurricular activities (ECAs) / school trips: Afterschool activities are an integral part of international school life. From sports of all levels and performing arts to learning life skills or practising a new language, ECAs ensure students develop interests outside the classroom, socialise, learn about teamwork and engage in community activities.
Parent involvement and communication: The level of communication between a school and parents is important. International schools offer parents the chance to get involved in school social events like seasonal fairs, sports days, class parties and the PTA (parent teacher association). There is also consistent communication to ensure everyone knows what is going on and if there is a problem in school that needs dealing with.
Safety and security: This has become a top priority for schools and parents and does not just involve having security guards and high fences. Today, this aspect covers everything from coping with outside threats and xenophobia to online safety and bullying.
Staff qualifications: A major portion of the fees paid goes towards educator and administration staff salaries. Teachers are hired based on their teaching specialties, educational background and experience teaching abroad. Key stage or department heads commonly possess a master’s degree and principals are hired based on their abilities to open a new school, make it an academic success, improve grades and expand student numbers.
Additional help and counselling: Part of a school’s responsibility is ensuring students are never left behind academically and socially. International schools have specific student counsellors for the primary and secondary levels, higher education counsellors to offer university and career guidance, and in some schools learning support for students with mild learning difficulties.
University placement: One of the main goals for parents to send their children to an international school is to prepare them for studying abroad. Most Malaysian students in these schools will opt for universities in Australia, Canada, UK, US, Singapore, or twinning programmes locally. Having cultivated relationships with universities and colleges, these schools hold university fairs and higher education conferences, and offer career and course guidance to sixth form (Year 12 and 13) students. Parent participation is welcome, and schools assist with applications on an individual basis.
Personal development: Ultimately the most important aspect of choosing a school is ensuring your child is happy, learning and progressing in a positive manner. There are many factors involved in personal development including learning life skills, being prepared for the future, having a global outlook, and being mindful of different cultures and people – all of which can be achieved with an international school education.