School Guide

What Parents Really Think About Chinese Schools vs International Schools

Published by SchoolAdvisor | Apr 01, 2021

Education mediums are right there waiting to be explored by parents who want to admit their child to quality education. The options are endless. There are schools, centres and even homeschooling. Schools offered in many countries including Malaysia range from public, private and international.

Parents these days are move involved in their children’s education, from choosing the school, to choosing the curriculum suitable for their kids. Parental involvement has been proven by research to have a lasting impact on the child’s development as they will have better learning outcomes.

Felix Lee, executive director of the Education Division of HCK Capital Group Bhd, says that parents should choose a school for their children based on the children’s needs and learning styles.

Chinese-style education is said to be one of the toughest institutions to be in and Chinese schools students are always under pressure to be the best of the best.

It is vital that parents pay close attention to how their children feel towards learning in a school, which brings us to the question: What can parents do if they find their child unable to cope in a Chinese-medium school?

Recently, there has been a spike of interest in international schools to the extent where some parents have even decided to enrol their child even though they are currently enrolled in another school, no matter the cost.

For example, parents are willing to change from Chinese school to an international school because international schools are known to provide holistic education with cultural attunement and cutting edge essentials for their child. Meanwhile, Chinese schools are often exam-oriented and monolinguistic.

SchoolAdvisor has gathered information from parents who have had experience sending their children to both Chinese schools and international schools.

Language as a Barrier

These parents initially send their children to Chinese schools because they want them to learn the language. However, they have noticed a problem in which their children are unable to catch up with the school syllabus due to the language barrier.

Janice Chew said, “When you see our children struggling to understand the information in another language as they try hard not to fail us, as parents, we should give our children a chance to master the subjects rather than investing too much energy on coping with the language.”

These students have a hard time understanding all of the subjects that are taught in Chinese language, which brings us to the next issue:

Spending a Lot on Private Tuitions

In order to make up for the lack of understanding in school, parents have to spend on private tuition sessions for their children. “Private tuition is not cheap,” said Jennifer Kot, a parent who has had experience sending her children to both Chinese school and international school.

Her children would have to attend private lessons almost every day as there are a lot of subjects that need to be covered. Money is not the only issue. Taking up private lessons after school every day can be detrimental to children as they have no time for social activities with family and friends or even for extracurricular activities in order to develop non-academic interests.

Positive Improvement in Children’s Development 

It is a well-known fact that international schools cost a lot as compared to Chinese schools. But parents are more than happy to invest in their children’s education at international schools because they have seen a positive improvement in their children’s development as they move to a new environment. Kot mentioned that her children are remarkably happier with the transition as they have more time to spend outside of school and enjoy their social life.

She also added that she is happy with the school her kids are currently attending, namely Dwi Emas International, as the school serves a balanced education and focuses on continuous assessment rather than homework. Her objective to make sure her kids learn Chinese language is also settled because the school offers compulsory language in both Chinese and Malay.

Discipline in Chinese Schools

Discipline in Chinese schools has always been a hot topic between teachers, parents and students. 20 years ago, parents might have been comfortable with their children getting caned by teachers for not completing their homework.

But it is hard to say the same for parents of this age. They are more aware that the responsibility to shape and discipline their children fall on their shoulders, and not the teachers. “Schools should be a place for the child to learn and have fun,” said Kot.

Parents should not rely on schools to discipline their children. If a child goes to school with the fear of getting caned or scolded, then it will take away their childhood experience which should have been more about exploring new things with friends rather than being concerned about homework round the clock.

Kot made a point that parents should have moved on from the idea that discipline means getting spanked or caned. This old fashion method of discipline will not serve the new generation well as kids these days are more liberating by nature and they are more aware of their rights as a human being.

To wrap up the discussion, the utmost important thing to take into consideration is not whether one school is better than the other, but whether or not parents understand their children enough to know which method of teaching will suit them best.

Of course, you cannot fully know if you do not experience it first. However, if your child complains that he/she is having a hard time coping with school, you should definitely let your guard down and listen to them before you decide if switching school is necessary to fix the problem.

While you are here, check out also:

International Schools in Malaysia Offering Fee Waivers 

International Schools in Malaysia that offer Scholarships 

6 Things You Would Need to Know about International Schools 

5 Things to Consider Before Sending Your Child to an International School

All You Need To Know About International Schools 

Discipline in Chinese Schools: Caning and Strict Timetables? 

Facts or Misconceptions About Chinese Schools

Chinese Schools Syllabus

Looking at the Assessment System in Chinese Schools