Children enter school as question marks and leave as periods. ~Neil Postman
School holidays are in its second week, and at last I have the chance to end my procrastination. 🙂
In the space of 6 months, much has happened. Most of it was centered on my daughter and both of us getting adjusted to primary school life (travelling, homework, extra-curricular classes, exams, etc..). As you all know, last year I spent some time doing some research on international schools and received numerous views and comments on the topic. Thanks a lot for your feedback. Good to know that there are so many parents out there that share the same concern for their children’s education.
After months of reviewing schools and looking at various curriculums, Madhi and I finally decided to send our daughter to a private school in Klang. You might be wondering why a private school as I was mainly focused in looking for an international school. Let me explain.
In December, we were still undecided about the choice of school. After much discussion with not an end in sight and with the new year approaching, we decided to send her to a national-type school first. Yup, not the best of plans, but we were just too fickle for our own good. At the back of our minds, we were thinking why not send her to a government school..after all we studied in one before and turned out alright. So did many of my friends and family.
Now, I do not want to dismiss all national-type schools. There are some very good government schools with good infrastructure and they produce excellent students but they are far and few between and one needs to apply much earlier to get a spot. The mistake I made was not doing due diligence similar to when I was checking for international schools. I did not check on current happenings in Malaysian education system, review the list of government schools with high performance and Cluster schools (view list) before applying online or even visit the schools. Instead, I applied to the primary school I was most familiar with..the sister school of the secondary school I studied in many years ago.
My daughter started school like all other Standard 1 students in January but transferred out in March. The government school my daughter attended was not bad. But it was not good, either. The good: wonderful and caring teachers. My daughter’s class teacher was a very lovely lady who was passionate about teaching. The bad: sadly to say, the school was in dire need of major repairs and security was average which really concerned me. Another thing that sticked out like a sore thumb was the small number of Chinese students in Standard 1 for that year (only four students out of roughly 150 students). I asked a few teachers and talked to some parents and they all said that Chinese students’ registration to this school have been dwindling in recent years. Not much of racial integration in a national-type school. But then again, this is just my experience with one school. Not too sure if it’s the same elsewhere.
During this time, we found out about DLP (Dual Language Program), a program under the purview of Ministry of Education (MOE). DLP was first announced at the Budget 2016 whereby Mathematics and Science would be taught in English this year for selected schools. The program is aimed at improving the teaching and learning of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) subjects. DLP was offered in 2016 to Standard 1, Standard 4 and Form 1 students.
This was great news to me as it was an opportunity for my daughter to learn Mathematics and Science in English and the even better news was, if she is in the DLP program, she will continue to remain so till Form 5 (fingers crossed MOE does not change their minds!). Unfortunately, in the list, there were no government primary schools in Klang under the DLP program.
It never crossed my mind to check private schools as I thought of private schools as a waste of money because they offer the same Malaysian syllabus with international school fees. I was wrong. A cousin of mine recommended a private school in Klang and when we visited the school, we found out that the school had received the approval to teach Mathematics and Science in English. A bonus was they also taught two additional Mathematics and Science subjects as per the Singapore syllabus and that too, in English. We registered our daughter almost immediately.
My daughter has been in this school for 3 months now. The teachers here are very dedicated and office staff are friendly and supportive. Each class has around 20 students with more attention on students’ learning and there is a healthy mix of all races which promotes better interaction. The best part of all: my daughter loves going to school. What more can a parent want than to see their child excited and ready to go to school everyday like as if it’s their first day.. 🙂
I will provide a list of private schools in my upcoming posts similar to what I did on international schools, but in the meantime, do share your thoughts and comments about Malaysian schools and the education system. I would love to hear from you.