Expat Guide

Factors To Consider When Looking For An International And Private School In Malaysia

Published by SchoolAdvisor | Feb 12, 2020

It goes without saying that both international and private schools are a great opportunity for your child to develop in areas such as character growth as well as intellectually. But where should you start on your journey to search for the best school for your child? Our list of factors to consider when looking for international and private schools in Malaysia will hopefully help you.

Child Education Needs

Your Child’s Needs

The first step of looking for a school for your child is to prioritize what your child needs. As a parent, you would want the best education for your child, as it should be. So, you need to identify your child’s strengths and weaknesses.

If your child is athletically talented, then it’s best if you find a school that can help nurture their talent and skills. Is your child creative and enjoy everything to do with arts? Then consider a school with a good arts elective, perhaps? And, of course, if your child requires special needs, you need to look for schools that can fully provide and attend to their needs.

But most importantly, do sit down and discuss with your child about potential schools. Their opinion matters too, especially since they are the ones attending classes and making friends there.


The ‘logistics’ here are things like, the distance between the school and your home or your workplace. If they finish earlier than you, where can they go to in the meantime? Perhaps a relative’s place? Who will pick them up after school? Does the school provide bus services? And what route does the bus take? Please note that the traffic in Malaysia, especially in places in and around Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor can get very busy during school hours, so it is advised that you choose a school where you will be able to pick up your kids or have them get home easily.

School hours are also important details to consider. How early does it begin and what time should you leave your place to get there in time? And what about lunch? Does the school provide healthy lunches or is it better to prepare them yourself? Details like this will help you determine which school is the best and most convenient for your child.

Cost & Fees

For some families, the cost and fees are what determine their pick. For the first year of your child’s enrolment, additional fees are expected along with the yearly fee. Yearly fees also tend to increase with every academic year. Moreover, you also need to prepare some extra cash for the entrance exam during the application process.

So, before enrolling your child to an international or private school, calculate how much you will need to spend on your child’s education per year, and then multiply that with the additional years your child will study there. This will help you determine the affordability of the school for the long-term.



For private schools, the curriculum followed is the National Curriculum (KSSR & KSSM) so if you prefer the local curriculum, opt for private schools. International schools, on the other hand, follows various curriculum depending on each school.

English is the most used instructional language for international schools, but for schools that follow another national curriculum such as the French curriculum oe the German curriculum, the language of instruction will follow the curriculum’s national language. Some international schools also follow the International Baccalaureate (IB).

When deciding on the right curriculum for your child, consider the kind of curriculum your child is learning from (so that you can gauge their adaptability once enrolled), and what are their university opportunities after graduation.

Application Process

The application process for international and private schools will depend on the school you’re interested in. But generally, there is a waiting list and some schools don’t accept new students in the middle of the school year. Hence, do start your research early since waiting lists can take a while.

Do keep in mind that your child will also need to sit for an entrance exam before any confirmation is made. Once your child passes the entrance exam, only then you will receive an official offer letter from the school.

These are some of the important factors that you need to consider before you decide on a school for your children in Malaysia. Research well and do visit your shortlisted schools, to get a better picture of what you can expect.