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Pros And Cons For Sending Your Child To International School In Malaysia

Pros And Cons For Sending Your Child To International School In Malaysia

As with all decisions we make in life, there are two sides of a coin, hence requiring us to look at all sides before settling on an informed decision. When it comes to making a decision on whether or not to send your child to an international school in Malaysia, do consider the pros and cons, from the macro and micro views.

Here are some pros and cons to going to international school in Malaysia.



The curriculum used by international schools differ from those adopted by public schools. They tend to offer a wider range of subjects, and include a variety of arts and humanities studies as well, whereas public schools tend to focus more on the science stream subjects.

All subjects (except language subjects) are fully taught in English, and this helps students have a better grasp of this universal language. Students in international schools are also required to take on a foreign language as a subject which is a plus point and an extra feather in their cap in future years.

Teaching methods for these curriculum in international schools also encourage students to be more interactive and engaged, as students need to be able to learn to think on their own rather than plainly memorise facts from various subject matters.

Class Size

International schools’s classroom size is kept to a small number of about 20 per class. This gives the teachers more room to have individual focus on each student. Moreover, some international schools will also assign a teaching assistant to some classes, so there are two teachers to a class. This is helpful for students who require more attention and help, and they will certainly have more personalised attention.


The cost of attending international school is undoubtably high compared to attending public school. There are many costs involved other than the term fees that need to be paid. Other costs involved are the purchase of required books (which can cost a lot more than locally published school curriculum books) and school uniforms, for example.

International schools also tend to have many more events that require students’ participation and most times involve them to have thematic dress-ups. Parents need to be prepared to spend some money to buy or rent costumes in order to adhere to the dress codes and be part of the events.

There are also excursion fees which are usually more expensive compared to public school’s outings. Opt-in annual class trips also cost a fair bit, but these are optional. However, more often than not, the students will want to go along to be a part of it. So it’s something to consider when saying no to your child could be difficult.

Character And Personal Development

The methodologies adopted by international schools in educating students usually take on a more hands-on approach and encourage students to learn to think for themselves. These schools view values and character development as a priority, and provide a more well-rounded approach to education in encouraging students to learn critical and solution-based thinking.

Students are also encouraged to express themselves openly, and have a more diverse mindset. They are encouraged to raise questions, and to be problem-solvers too.

Peer Pressure

There tends to be more peer pressure in international schools, as many students come from more affluent families and each has their own family’s lifestyle. Some students may feel the need to have the same things as others to gain a sense of belonging or simply want to fit into the same social circle.

This is something that needs to be carefully addressed, as children tend to be easily influenced by their peers. It is important for them to be in a social environment where they feel they are equals and not falling behind their friends.

Not being able to match up to their friends may cause them to feel a lower sense of self-esteem, and result in them shying away or act out with untoward behaviours as a way to let off their frustrations.

It is therefore important to select a school that has strong support for students’ well-being and a foundation that nurtures the building of friendships and relationships with others. Repton, for example, as an excellent pastoral care programme, where students are given academic as well as personal guidance by a team of experienced teachers and other staff of the school.

It is invaluable for a school to offer such support system, from helping students cope with stress to building better relationships, feeling more fulfilled and leading a happy life. In the area of cultivating friendships and building camaraderie, Repton also has a good support system that lies in its Houses programme. Students come together to form teams and take part in friendly competitions against other teams, and in the process enlarge their social network and learn how to be a team player as well as take on leadership where needed.

As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child. A school is one of the places where a child spends most of his or her time, thus picking the right school with the right programmes to help its students grow even in challenging environments is an important consideration.

Quality Of Teachers And Teaching Methods

International schools give more room to teachers to think and draw up their lesson plans more creatively. They usually do not only rely on books to teach, but may use props and more interactive methods to teach that gets better engagement from students.

Also, as mentioned earlier, each class size is smaller, thus enabling teachers in international schools to have a better grasp of each student’s level of performance, and do the necessary to assist those who need additional help.

Teachers in international schools also tend to have better communication with parents, utilising the student communication books as one of the official channels to do so.

Extra-Curriculum Activities And Exposure

Many international schools provide the avenue for all kinds of extra-curricular activities for students to pick up and hone their skills in many areas. On this end, however, public schools provide more opportunities and exposure by sending their students for inter-school, inter-district, inter-state, and national level competitions of various fields like sports or debates and choral speaking. Many international schools’ students usually do not participate in these.

Well Equipped Facilities

With better funding and budget, international schools have better and some even have state-of-the-art facilities in school for students to enjoy. All these facilities are usually part of the school experience as a whole to give students better out-of-classroom opportunities to discover and grow their interests and strength in their areas of talent.

Some international schools provide these facilities as part of the fees, whilst some may require additional fees.

Entrance Exam

To attend international schools in Malaysia, students need to be assessed or interviewed, sometimes along with parents, before they are accepted and offered a place in the school of their choice. Some also require an entrance exam to assess the proficiency of the student to fit in with the school’s standards and values. Thus, it is not as straight forward as gaining entry and acceptance into a public school.

On top of that, if the student is not accepted by the school applied to, some of the costs involved during the process of registration will not be refunded. The pressure to get into a school is therefore quite high on the student in order to get through successfully on the first try.

Weigh The Pros And Cons According To Your Needs

The above pros and cons are generic in nature, and some families may have different considerations when it comes to choosing the right school. Hence, it is important to include your family’s values, needs, affordability level, expectations, etc., when choosing the right school from the start. Changing schools can be an expensive and disruptive exercise for not just parents but also the child. Talk it through thoroughly as a family, and also include your child in this decision as this will be a big part of their life.