Choosing the Ideal International School for Your Child

International schools have seen a rise in local student intakes in recent years. As well as the Malaysian government’s step in removing the 40% quota on local allotment in international schools in its efforts to turn the country into an education hub, this influx can also be attributed to the small class sizes, highly qualified and experienced teachers, and tailored learning for students with specific needs that are more readily available at international schools. There are many more standout features offered at international schools, but how can you know that you’re getting your money’s worth - and the best for your child? Here are a few points to consider:

Evaluate the Curriculum

First and foremost, it is imperative to look into the specific curriculum provided by your potential international school. Besides the International Baccalaureate diploma program, usual offerings include national American, English, Australian or Canadian curricula, with the first two being the more popular options in the country. The American curriculum is best known for its flexibility in promoting individual choices and cultivating independent creative thinkers, while the UK education system’s highly structured and specialized curriculum promotes discipline and diligence.

Importantly, base your curriculum of choice on what your child was taught before and the university they are targeting. Then, seek out essential indicators such as class structure, subjects offered and teaching approach to identify if they match your ideal education needs.

Meet the Academics

Albert Einstein once said, “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” Thus, the role of an educator cannot be played down. His or her experience, philosophy and ethos will highly influence your child’s outcome and it is important that you are able to converse with and take a closer look at the conduct of academics and staff.

Furthermore, most international schools boast a team of international academics. If cultivating a global perspective for your child is important to you, the diverse line-up poses huge benefits for him or her in terms of experience and global outlook.

Survey the Environment

To ensure that your child’s stomping ground for the next few years will be safe and conducive, arrange for a tour of the campus. Comfortable and well-equipped classrooms, laboratories and libraries cater towards students’ learning. Take note of the sports and recreational facilities as well, as your child should be equipped for healthy and balanced lifestyles.

Moreover, is it a friendly, vibrant, or supportive environment? This is especially important if your child will be utilizing boarding facilities and livability is a concern.

Speak to Current Students & Parents

Undoubtedly, one of the best ways to gain more information is from experienced parents and current students of the international school. They will be able to give you their honest opinion on the pros and cons of the school. Ask around your network of friends to see if there are any parents you can connect with. If you are unable to do so, try going online to Facebook groups. It’s important to gather multiple opinions to build a fair assessment.

Do Your Values Match?

When evaluating a school, observe how it is described, especially in terms of culture. This helps to show you its core values and guiding philosophy, which in turn will shape your child as he or she grows.

Investigate the school’s mission and vision. What kind of environment does it strive for? What type of student does it seek to produce? These are perhaps the most important questions you need to ask when finding a school that matches how you want your child to be. Most importantly, find out how these schools plan to achieve their goals for their students and make them the leaders of tomorrow.