My daughter is turning 7 next year, and my hubby and I are on the hunt for the most suitable school for her. There are many schools to choose from; Malay, Chinese and Tamil medium government schools, private schools and international schools but we decided to look for an “ideal” international school for my daughter who will be turning 7 next year. Ideal in terms of location, curriculum, facilities and the main factor, budget. $$$
You might be thinking, if budget is so important, why choose an international school, why not a government school or Tamil/Chinese medium school that are almost free or charge a minimum amount? I have listed a few points why I’m opting out of those schools:
a) Kids in SRK, SJK (T)/(C) go for many, many tuitions and other enrichment classes such as art, music and religious classes after school. I feel its not very healthy because family interaction becomes limited.
b) The kids have a ton of homework to do given from school and tuition, and I hear Chinese-medium schools gives out the most amount of homework. When I was young, I hated homework, I don’t wish to burden my kids with so much. I would prefer that school work is done in school so that they would be able to do other stuff (not homework-related) when they are back home.
c) Everyone would agree with this point: The Malaysian education system is not that great and with the constant flip-flopping policy between Bahasa Malaysia and English, the ones suffering are the kids.
According to Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) survey conducted in 2012 on 15 year old students, Malaysia was ranked 39 out of 44 countries in creative problem solving. Who was first? Singapore. Damn..
To rub salt to an open wound, World Bank senior economist for Malaysia, Dr Frederico Gil Sander mentioned that the poor quality of Malaysia’s education system was more worrying than the debt level of its households!
Private schools in Malaysia follow the Malaysian curriculum but are more expensive because of the teaching and facilities offered within the schools itself. Generally the students sit for the Malaysian public examinations.
Which brings me to International schools. I did a bit of research on International schools and the various types of curriculum. There are foreign national curriculums such as British, Canadian, American, Japanese, Indian, German, etc and internationally recognised curriculum such as IGCSE and IB. After doing some reading, I have shortlisted the 2 curriculums:
a) International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) – Somewhat similar to our Malaysian Form 5 SPM examinations and Singapore’s O-Levels, this is an International curriculum developed by Cambridge International Examinations. It is exam-based and used by most international schools in Malaysia. This qualification is recognised by universities and employers around the world. Basically this curriculum develops students critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which would be much needed when they move on to their A Levels or Cambridge Pre-U.
– As this examination is for the 16 year olds, at primary level, your child would need to follow the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) or other foreign national curriculums before sitting for the IGCSE.
b) International Baccalaureate (IB) – I am very partial to IB because of their framework. In the IB website http://www.ibo.org/en/section-benefits/why-the-ib-is-different/
this line particularly stands out:
The International Baccalaureate® (IB) aims to do more than other curricula by developing inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who are motivated to succeed.
The curriculum starts from Primary Years Programme (age 3-12), Middle Years Programme (age 11-16) and Diploma Programme (age 16-19).
In the Primary Years, the learning is planned based on six transdisciplinary themes:
- Who we are
- Where we are in place and time
- How we express ourselves
- How the world works
- How we organise ourselves
- Sharing the planet
I compiled a list of International schools in the Klang Valley with the curriculum, number of students and fee as of year 2015/2016. I did leave out some schools that were not to my requirement and added one school that is in Port Dickson because it is an IB school.
My next step is shortlisting the schools I like and within my budget and visiting them personally with my husband and daughter to get a feel of the school. I will write about those schools in my blog. Never know it might benefit someone later on. 😉
School visits will take a few more months until we have narrowed down to the final one.
I will let you know once I have chosen “The One”, till then, to those of you who are in the same boat as I, good luck in finding a school for your child. 🙂