Dr. Simon Watson Takes the Helm at Kolej Tunku Jaafar

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KTJ in Mantin, Negri Sembilan State, is a top tier, top ranked international school which offers a rich holistic learning experience. As one of South East Asia’s premier international boarding schools, only a first rate educator would be selected to be its new Principal and Dr. Simon Watson is just that.

Dr. Watson has distinguished academic credentials having graduated from the University of Warwick and then taking a PhD in Mathematics from the University of Bristol. An experienced international academic he has taught in the UK, the Czech Republic, New Zealand and was the Secondary Principal of Copenhagen International School, Denmark. He was appointed Principal for KTJ in May 2011.

Recently we spoke about his new position. He is the father of four young daughters ages 2-11 years and his wife plans to be active herself on the sprawling and vibrant KTJ campus.

The Expat asked Dr. Watson what aspects make a successful international boarding school.

“High academic standards are an essential component of a great school. KTJ achieves these, not least due to the expertise and dedication of the highly qualified staff. In addition, I am delighted by the wide range of activities and student clubs which provides students with the opportunity to develop interest which will stay with them for life. Music and drama are well-supported and available to all; sport is strongly represented and the students are encouraged to reach very high standards of skill and teamwork, all of which combined result in a successful international boarding school,” he states.

“We have recently opened an outstanding state of the art auditorium with 680 seats thereby reinforcing the importance the school places on the arts and drama as well as guest speakers and community events”, he enthuses.

There are about twenty different nationalities represented in the current student body the vast majority of whom are boarding students. Dr. Watson explains that “KTJ offers a great experience to youngsters whose horizons cannot avoid being broadened in such a diverse multi – cultural environment. We promote an international outlook which will have a lasting benefit to the students. The commitment to pastoral care and academic progress by the highly experienced boarding staff ensures that all students are supported and encouraged throughout their time here.”

Dr. Watson tells us he was extremely impressed when he first saw the campus.

“This campus is not only set in a beautiful environment here in Mantin, but was carefully planned since its inception in 1991 for with expansion and growth in the years to come. Great foresight was shown when several members of the royal family in Negri Sembilan decided to establish a centre of educational excellence to promote international cultural awareness and multi ethnic diversity for young people. They would do this by creating a vibrant and comprehensive setting for students of different nationalities to live, learn, play and interact together. Twenty years on, their vision has been applauded by alumni, parents and educators all over the world.

Says Dr. Watson, “The curriculum is designed to maximise choices for students whilst ensuring a thorough grounding in the core sciences and arts subjects. We also prepare them for the challenges of the entrepreneurial world through social sciences subjects. I believe a major factor in KTJ’s ongoing success is our low student-staff ratio and small class sizes meaning that teachers have the time to help individual students whether for academic or pastoral reasons. This creates a conducive environment for learning as well as a stronger bond between student and teacher. I believe this is the major reason that KTJ students appear as more confident of themselves in various competitions as well as in their interactions with others.”


“The objective of KTJ is to help prepare young people to develop into self aware, loyal and personable adults capable of high achievement, he continues. “But we also prepare them for the information age which will be a special focus of mine. I will accelerate the pace of integrating interactive learning platforms throughout the campus as well as utilising social media. By 2012, a Virtual Learning Environment will be available to our students, parents and faculty.”

Dr. Watson tells us he is already charmed by the kindness and warmth of Malaysians as well as being very keen to do some sightseeing throughout the country.

We wish him the very best.

This article was written by Marybeth Ramey ([email protected])
Source: The Expat October 2011 
This article has been edited for
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