Malaysia has emerged as a leading Southeast Asian destination in terms of the number of students enrolled in premium, English-medium international schools, according to news reports.
The expat community in Malaysia has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few decades. People from all over the world including the UK, Canada, Australia, and the US, as well as other parts of Asia, are settling down here with their families. Furthermore, many of them are choosing to educate their children within the country.
As a result expats actually outnumber the local students by a fairly large margin in some schools. Given the current scenario, further growth is inevitable. This in turn has lead to a huge demand for good international schools across the country.
According to the latest report published by ISC Research (ISC), as of quarter 1 of this year, Malaysia has 71,589 students enrolled in various international schools nationwide.
This is the highest in the region, followed by Thailand with 64,928 students and Singapore with 63,789. Indonesia and Vietnam make up the top five with 57,402 and 40,0003 students, respectively.
Across the Southeast Asian region, student enrollment in international schools has gone up by 33.9 per cent in the last four years.
The data was released by ISC Research, the world’s leading authority on market intelligence on international schools, ahead of the forthcoming International Private Schools Education Forum (IPSEF) conference which will be taking place on March 22-24, 2017 at the InterContinental Hotel Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.
In terms of the number of international schools, Indonesia is tops among Southeast Asian countries with 190 premium, English-medium international schools, followed by Thailand with 181 and Malaysia with 170 international schools. Completing the top five are Cambodia with 114 international schools followed by Vietnam with 111.
IPSEF co-founder Rhona Greenhill, citing data from the ISC report, says East Asia has seen growth from 828 international schools in 2013 to 1,125 international schools this year, an increase of 32 per cent, while Southeast Asia has recorded a 39 per cent growth in the number of international schools from 725 to 1008 over the same period.
Why are international schools gaining popularity quickly?
Parents are beginning to recognize the importance of an English-medium education for their children to be able to compete in the global market. According to the Association of International Malaysian Schools chairman Andrew Dalton, 65 percent of the jobs that our children will be doing in future aren’t even created just yet and so, schools must train children to think and solve problems to take on these new jobs. International schools have a rigorous curriculum that trains brilliant young minds to think outside the box, the kind of skill needed to fulfill future job demands.
There is a high demand for the National Curriculum of England among the local and expat student population in Malaysia. Most parents too prefer to have their children study the British style of education. Almost 50% of the international schools therefore offer the British curriculum. For more information on this, click here. At the same time, it is possible for students to choose from the curricula of various countries here.
The top educational institutions in this region differentiate themselves from their competitors through accreditation by at least one major, globally-recognized accreditation entities. This gives the students and their parents the assurance that the school is meeting a high standard of quality.
Moreover, all the top international schools across the world are now becoming a part of at least one well-reputed, global association, like the Council of British International Schools (COBIS) and Association for the Advancement of International Education (AAIE).
List of top schools
*the schools are listed in no particular order