With international schools here continuing to grow in both number and quality, companies considering a base in Southeast East have no better option than Greater Kuala Lumpur when it comes ensuring their employees’ families have access to quality international education.
Knowledge serves as a bridge between countries and cultures. Often times, nations may not have good diplomatic relationships between each other; people of different religious faiths and backgrounds may not understand one another; individuals speaking different languages doesn’t necessarily make them effective communicators. International education offers a global perspective, eventually enhancing our views, shaping how we see the world beyond our boundaries and well beyond our imagination.
Whether it’s transnational education or online learning, international education creates cross-cultural understanding between all, and the availability of quality education is a key consideration for families and companies who are contemplating an overseas move. Malaysia is at the forefront of international education in the region and in many respects, in the broader whole of Asia. The number of quality international schools at all levels from preschool to tertiary and university has grown tremendously in recent years. This in turn makes Malaysia in general, and Greater KL in particular – where many of these schools are located – an even more appealing destination for multinationals seeking to relocate or establish a base in Southeast Asia.
International schools meet four criteria to some degree. They have a curriculum that differs from that of the host country, they serve the educational needs of an expat community living in a host country, they have a student population that is international and inclusive of local students, and they have modified their curriculum to make the most of the international setting and emphasize the host country’s customs. As a multicultural Malaysia perhaps enjoys an inherent advantage in the realm of international education, and is taking advantage of that edge to become a highly regarded centre of international education in Asia.
According to the latest data from ISC Research (part of The International School Consultancy Group, ISC) which has been researching the worldwide international school market for over 25 years, there are currently over 130 English-medium international schools in Malaysia. This includes preschools, primary, secondary, and schools that teach all grades K-12. Combined, they are presently teaching a total of some 53,000 students and employing over 5,400 full-time staff, mostly expatriate, fully qualified teachers from English-speaking countries including the UK, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and the US. For a global company seeking to move its personnel overseas, the importance of the availability of quality international education cannot be overstated.
Unsurprisingly, Greater Kuala Lumpur has the largest number of international schools in Malaysia, and these schools offer quality education following all major English-speaking curricula, including British, American, Australian, and Canadian. Moreover, in the last five years, ISC reports that student enrolment in Malaysia’s international schools has grown by 84% and the number of staff has increased by 94%. This growth is expected to continue for several years to come, and ISC predicts that all of Malaysia’s international schools – including new schools – will see increased enrolment of both expatriate and local students in the coming years.
One recent development supported by the Malaysian government and attracting global attention are educational hubs. These are expansive learning campuses housing a range of schools and universities, designed to provide highquality, internationally oriented education for students of all ages, including tertiary education.
The new Kuala Lumpur Education City (KLEC) is one example of this. The hub has attracted some prestigious schools including the UK’s Epsom College. This is the first overseas campus for Epsom College which will have capacity for 900 students aged 11 to 18 in a, predominantly boarding, senior school. It will eventually have an additional 500 students in its prep school, which is currently being built on a separate site. The school is following the example of several other independent British schools, and still more are expected to follow suit, making Greater KL an even more appealing destination for expats with children.
Source: The Expat magazine November 2014
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