A Parent’s Perspective: Why Are International Curriculums Getting More Relevant

Nuha, Tutopiya

International schools provide an international curriculum or a curriculum that differs from one’s home country’s national curriculum, particularly for children aged 3 to 18. These schools frequently follow the National Curriculum of England or an American educational style. According to statistics, there are currently 9,605 English-medium international schools around the world, representing a 6.3 percent increase over the last five years. This total growth of schools can be seen in four markets, not to mention the UAE, China, Saudi Arabia, India, and Malaysia.

According to ISC Research data from January 2020, there are 287 international schools in Malaysia teaching a total of 107,100 children in English or bilingual, providing expatriate and local families with more educational options than ever before. In just six years, the number of international schools has increased by 43 percent in Malaysia, which had 96 schools at the time. New international schools are mostly being built in the Klang Valley and Putrajaya areas these days.

International schools in Malaysia are gaining popularity

Ever since the admission quota for local students was lifted in 2012, and by 2013, Malaysian students have made up the majority of the student body at the country’s international schools, followed by the growing number of residing expat families. According to ISC Research’s December 2019 Market Intelligence Report on International Schools in Malaysia, 45 percent of children at the country’s luxury international schools are Malaysian, with other major nationalities including British, South Korean, Chinese, American, Australian, and Indian expatriates.

Furthermore, Malaysian children make up 65 percent of total enrolment in Malaysia’s international schools, that are viewed as mid-market according to their school fees, with other popular nationalities including South Korean, Indian, and Chinese.

However, there are still a lot of considerations to take into account when choosing your child’s school. There needs to be a thorough decision-making process in place that ensures your child is placed in the environment that best suits them. Therefore, if you are choosing an international school, you need to consider many factor before making any decision.

What matters most to parents selecting an international school?

Selecting an international school is a challenge due to multiple factors, not limited to budget, location, and other constraints, but is becoming a preference for many parents in Malaysia. The reasons are multifold, but usually stem around the quality of education, as well as the opportunities it presents for their children.

The international curriculum offered by many international schools are often globally recognised and tend to have a higher standard of learning.  Parents often voiced dissatisfaction due to the sub-par standard of the country’s public schools as Malaysian students rank below the global average for reading, mathematics and science. By enrolling in an international school, it does provide a competitive advantage for their children compared to those who go through the local education system. 

Another factor that makes international schools an appealing choice is the opportunity for their children to learn in English. The majority of parents believe that it is critical and beneficial for their children to learn in English, alongside children from other countries. This is often helped by the fact that many schools hire foreign teachers with international skills and knowledge.

Parents also look towards the culture and the attitude of the education institute when it comes to their children’s overall experience. Being immersed in a culture that promotes learning and adaptability can be very beneficial to a child’s future. Updated pedagogies that take into account new research and data are often a hallmark of good international schools and should definitely be a factor in your choice.

Whether you choose international or local schools for your children’s education, is up to each parent. The best outcome and the only outcome that matters is that your child gets the best education possible that sets them on the path towards a bright future.

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