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Choosing The Right International School

by on 08/05/2017 3052

This article was last updated in July 2021.

After weighing out the pros and cons of the different types of schools available, you have finally decided to send your child to an international school. But now you are faced with another big decision; which school? Here are some things to look out for when trying to decide on an international school. 


Each school will have their own choice of curriculum, which could be English or American based. Some examples of different curriculum include:-

  • Cambridge IGCSE Programme
  • International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP)
  • International Primary Curriculum (IPC)
  • British National Curriculum
  • English National Curriculum

Teacher certification 

Are the teachers certified? Certain programmes such as the IB programmes require the teachers to attend special trainings to ensure they are qualified to teach. Check in with the school and find out as much as you can about the teaching staff.

School philosophy

All schools will have their own special philosophy which could be an emphasis on something such as discipline or a subject like art, language or mathematics and science. Before enrolling your child, ensure that these values and philosophies are things that you want your child to be associated with.


Location is definitely something which you should pay attention to, unless you are considering a school with boarding facilities. Take note of the distance of the school from your home – think about how your child will commute to and from school as well as to his extracurricular activities.

Student-teacher ratio

When looking for a school, try to find one which fulfils this criterion as a smaller student-teacher ratio means your child gets more undivided attention from the teacher. 

School size

International schools in Malaysia can vary in size and a school can host anywhere from 100 to over 2,000 students. A school with more students can result in a bigger average class and this will indirectly affect the student-teacher ratio as well.

Extracurricular activities

With the rising importance of extracurricular activities as part of your child’s education, you should check out what kind of activities that the school offers and also how active the children are. International schools tend to offer more unique extracurricular activities ranging from fencing and drums to creative clay art, inventors club and more. Having more distinctive extracurricular activities could help your child stand out more among others when applying for college or even jobs. 


Compared to public schools, international institutions will definitely offer better facilities which can include a library, cafeteria, swimming pool, basketball court, science laboratories, auditorium, field, theatre and more. 


Cost is also a very big concern as school fees can cost from less than RM5,000 to over RM100,000 annually. There is no point in going for an expensive school just to have to withdraw your child and switch to another school when you can’t afford it anymore. Changing schools could affect your child in many ways as she has to readjust all over again. 

School history

Take the school’s history into consideration also – it could be an established institution with a long history or a newcomer with only several years under its belt. Do not judge a book by its cover; do your research, find out the school’s achievements and compare them with your other options. 

Your child’s choice

Last but not least, even though you are the one who will be making the final decision, it is important that you involve your child in the decision-making process by getting his input on the school. After all, he will be the one spending most of his time in that particular school.

Overall, the best advice when it comes to deciding on a school is to visit the different establishments and find out all you can about these schools. The objective in school selection is to find the best possible match between the needs of the child and the education provided by the school as each child has a unique set of social needs, interest and learning abilities. Remember to take into account all of the points highlighted in this article, but most importantly, listen to your child’s input because at the end of the day it is about giving him or her the best.

Before deciding on a school, do:

  • Find out more about the school. The Internet makes things easier as you can easily find reviews online.
  • Ask for recommendations from friends and family; they would not recommend a school if it is not up to standards.
  • Bring your child to the school and let her see and feel the overall environment and vibe of the place.
  • Ask plenty of questions about everything from class size to extracurricular activities.
  • If possible, sit in on one of the classes with your child and observe. This gives you and your child a chance to get a better feel of how things are.


With the current trend towards technology, you should also ensure that the school you choose for your child provides IT facilities such as a wireless access around the campus and laptops.

References :

This article is taken from SmartKids World Vo. 6