A guide for Deciding Best International School in Malaysia

GIIS communications team
Oct 8, 2020
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Malaysia is a Southeast Asian country, renowned as the Tiger Cub economy, for its rapidly developing status. This mineral-rich nation with its long coastlines and cultural diversity has been attracting a lot of investment from all over the world, due to its export-driven economic model and abundance of palm oil and natural resources.

It's no wonder then that many expatriates choose Malaysia as their country of domicile for work purposes and move here with their families. There are as many as 90,000 expats from many parts of the world who call Malaysia their home, according to the Department of Immigration. This statistic covers only the professionals working in the country, and there are many others who are doing skills-based jobs. 

That makes Malaysia a melting pot of cultures and home to a diversity of races, traditions and heritage, and the 9th best destination for expatriates to live and work in among 64 nations, according to a study by InterNations in 2019. Expats prefer the country for its  affordability and quality of life, ease of settling in, working life, personal finance, cost of living, and family life.

The pull for expats and their families translates to a rich education sector in Malaysia, which caters to the children of the expat families. Malaysia has many international schools setting up campuses in various parts of the country which are designed to cater to all nationalities, their cultural sensitivities, and internationalism. Many international schools in Malaysia are able to give balanced education to students from a number of different races and ethnicities with the same academic rigour and universal values.  

With English being widely spoken, that is also an added advantage to the education sector in Malaysia, with most public and private schools offering a curriculum in that language. 

The numerous choices in International schools in Malaysia gives parents an advantage to find the best fit and right school for their child. Most tend to turn to the world wide web to research on the right schools, others turn to friends and family for consultations while many prefer to personally visit schools or talk to the admissions counsellors to know more about a particular international school in Malaysia. 

Ultimately, it all boils down to the parent and child’s preferred choices. Hopefully, after reading this blog, people will have some clarity which will eventually make the decision easier on choosing the right international school in Malaysia.

Having a high school close to the residence reduces the traveling involved and makes optimum use of the time as we know how frustrating it can be to get stuck in traffic.

1. Choosing a Favorable Curriculum

International schools in Malaysia provide some of the finest curriculum in the world. There are a variety of choices to pick out from. Depending upon whether the child wants to participate in sports, extra-curricular activities, arts, whether they want to study a particular language or subject. These are some of the crucial deciding factors and should be considered while going through a particular school’s curriculum. 


The British Curriculum i.e. IGCSE is well-known throughout Malaysia, the curriculum provides analytical and creative thinking skills, which is a must in the working world. Due to the popularity of this particular curriculum in Malaysia, there are now a variety of international schools that adopt the British Curriculum. A prominent school supporting the IGCSE curriculum is the Nexus radar.


The IB or International Baccalaureate is quite a popular option for the parents to choose from. IB teachers focus on students not only to ask questions but also to concentrate on problem solving skills of the student. This curriculum ensures that the students in the international school in Malaysia possess the skill to link up one subject of learning to another, which is an important part of the IB programme. The UCSI International School Springhill and the Marlborough College of Malaysia are two institutions which support an IB curriculum. 


The Central Board of Secondary Education or the CBSE is yet another curriculum that is offered by quite a few schools in Malaysia. GIIS is one prominent CBSE school in Malaysia

American, French, Islamic, Japanese curricula are also available throughout the international school in Malaysia, due to their increasing demand.

Each curriculum has its own identity and characteristics, such as teaching or delivery methodology, learning philosophy or objectives, focus or emphasis as well as the type of assessment. It is a tough decision for the parents to make, but it all comes down to what suits the parent and the students well. Every school curriculum comes with its own pros and cons. 

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2. Amenities of an international school

The amenities, services, facilities of the international school in Malaysia should be also taken into consideration. The facilities for canteens and libraries ought to be ideal and well maintained for students. How many grounds do they have to practice sports, how many halls do they have, do they have a swimming pool, and so on. It is also important to know the number of students in each class to avoid crowded classrooms. If there are a higher number of kids than 20, the parents should be aware that the teachers will have a tough time providing personal attention to each student.

3. Credentials

Parents may also want to consider the history of the particular international school in Malaysia and how this may impact the learning. Choose a school that provides solutions to students with special learning requirements. It can also be better if the institution has been around longer. Some already well-established schools practice time-honoured educational traditions, while newer schools may embrace contemporary methods of learning. 

It is also important to know what kind of accreditation the school has, to make sure that your child is in good, and safe hands. This ought to be a major point that you must check. Malaysian Ministry of Education (MOE), and other internationally recognised bodies such as the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) are some of the more popular accreditation that parents look for.

4. Teachers

Another important aspect that should be looked closely at while choosing an international school in Malaysia, is to scrutinize and find out the teacher quality.  Teachers need to have earned advanced and respectable degrees relating to their teaching subjects as they are the ones who mold and mend the life and the future of the students. Make a background check about the attitude of the teachers as well as the other parents in the school. Teachers' body language, their passion and engagement with students also needs to be observed. 

Finally, the primary and most supreme thing to consider is the happiness and the well-being of the kid because it is ultimately their future and education on the line. Identify where the qualities of the school are designed such that the children are embarking on a positive start to their educational journey.

5. Fees breakdown

Fees for international schools are high. Most high end schools cost anything between RM3000 to RM10000 per term. 

The fee structure differs from school to school and grade to grade. So it is advisable for parents to do a thorough research on the school fees and determine the ones that fit in their budget. One of the cheapest international schools is GIIS which offers IGCSE and CBSE education under one roof. 

6. Culturally-vibrant environment

The school counts local and international students from various races and ethnicities in its student body. It means a wholly diverse student population, allowing exposure to other cultures, belief systems, and mindsets that train children from an early age to relate to other races, personalities, and situations. Children understand the global perspective. A balanced teacher, student ratio allows the teaching staff to devote time and attention to every child in class, noting their development and academic needs. It is just one of the many reasons why many parents choose to send their kids to school.  

GIIS communications team

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