The private and international education landscape in Malaysia has changed over the last decade with parents now having more options for an international school education for their children. Every year, the list of international schools in Malaysia grows longer. There are currently over 150 international schools in Malaysia with a number of new schools slated to open in 2019 and 2020. Each of these international schools is independently run and differ from one another in terms of background, curricula, ethos, learning environment and tuition fees.

5 Types of International Schools in Malaysia

Here are five main types of international schools that are available in Malaysia today.


1. Established International Schools for Expatriate Children

International schools were initially established to meet the educational needs of children of expatriates working in Malaysia or in the region. These schools were considered international because they used curricula different from that in use in public schools in the country and have a diverse school community. There were few Malaysian children enrolled in these schools in the early days as permission from the Ministry of Education was required then.

Examples: Alice Smith School, Dalat International School, Garden International School, The International School of Penang (Uplands) and The International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL)


2. Purpose-built New Schools

Many purpose-built international schools were established to meet the growing demand for international education in the country following the lifting of the quota of local student enrolment in international schools. There are mega property developers such as the Sunway Group Malaysia that have set up international schools in Selangor and Johor. Furthermore, a number of international schools were also established by education groups such as Taylor’s Education Group, HELP International Corporation, GEMS Education and Kingsley EduGroup. 

Examples: HELP International School, Kingsley International School, Sunway International School and Taylor’s International School


3. British Boarding Schools

A number of British boarding schools have established branches in Malaysia. Many of these boarding schools have the option of day boarding, flexi-boarding and full-boarding to cater to each student’s needs. British boarding schools are known for their focus on academic excellence, top-notch school facilities and emphasis on extracurricular activities. A British boarding school education aims to create independent students who are prepared to tackle the challenges of university life.

Examples: Epsom College in Malaysia, King Henry VIII College, Kolej Tuanku Ja’afar and Marlborough College Malaysia 


4. English-medium Private Schools

The growing demand for international education by local parents encouraged a number of private schools to add an international curriculum option to their syllabus. Some private schools have also ceased offering the national curriculum altogether, focusing only on the international curriculum. The British curriculum and Cambridge curriculum leading up to the IGCSE examinations are commonly offered at these schools. 

Examples: Acmar Schools, Asia Pacific Schools, R.E.A.L Schools and Rafflesia International & Private Schools


5. Mission Schools

There are also a few mission schools in the country that have expanded into international education. Mission schools have a rich history in Malaysia as a result of British colonialism and are known for providing quality education. The most common mission schools are Convent schools, La Salle schools and Methodist Schools. 

Examples of schools: St. John’s International School, St. Joseph’s Institution International School Malaysia and Wesley Methodist School (International)

There is a wide range of international schools in Malaysia today. Some schools charge higher fees while others are more affordable. The ratio of local to expatriate teaching staff also varies from school to school. In addition, these schools differ in terms of facilities offered – some schools are only equipped with basic facilities while others have more extensive facilities. Some schools provide more options to students in terms of extracurricular activities, while others have a limited number of options.

Therefore, parents are encouraged to do their research early and thoroughly before deciding on an international school for their child. As schools differ widely, it is important to visit schools and attend Open Days to get a more comprehensive picture of what a school has to offer. 

There are plenty of good international schools in Malaysia but it’s important to find a school that suits your needs as well as your child’s. To find the best international school in Malaysia for your child, use the powerful School Finder and School Comparison tool today!