Parents choose a school to provide the most effective education for their child’s specific needs.
They need to find the right environment that suits their child the most. In Malaysia, the education system consists of four different schools – public, private, international and home-schooling.
To make it easier for parents, here is a rundown of the different kind of schools:
1. Public school
The curriculum in these government-run schools is Malaysian, and the teacher to student ratio is very large averaging 30 to 40 children in a classroom.
Public school students are diverse, consisting of Malays, Chinese, Indians and other ethnic Malaysians. While the main language used is Bahasa Malaysia, English is also taught.
There are two sessions – one in the morning and another in the afternoon. It is free for Malaysians as most of the costs are borne by the government, except for uniforms, stationaries and other school necessities.
This is definitely the cheapest schooling system in Malaysia but it is only open to children of Malaysian citizens.
On the flip side, many who studied in public schools are said to be dissatisfied with the teaching methodology which still follows rote learning. There is also a lack of many facilities and equipment in public schools.
2. Private schools
Private schools are semi–government controlled. Although they follow the same curriculum as public schools, private schools can be quite costly.
They follow guidelines set by the ministry of education but most of these private schools use English as the medium of instruction.
They have smaller classrooms and the teacher-to-student ratio is much smaller. Resources and infrastructure are better and expat children are accepted.
Parents usually have higher expectations from private schools as the fees they pay are quite high. It is not easy to get financial aid from the government and scholarships are hard to come by.
3. International schools
These schools offer international education in an international setting. They are fully independent as they are not government-controlled.
The curricular offered differs from public and private schools and is very diverse including British, American, Australian, Indian, French and Canadian.
What private and international schools have in common is their small classrooms, smaller teacher-to-student ratio and better facilities.
However, the benefits of studying in an international school far outweigh that of private schools as it offers global acceptance, which means easier entry to foreign universities for higher education.
Other benefits include teachers who are the best in the industry and are hired from all around the world.
The nationalities of students in these schools are varied too, with some schools boasting students from up to 67 nations.
Children attending these schools get global exposure from an early age making it easier for them to study and work overseas.
Possibly the only concern with international schools is that they are hugely expensive. But, in all fairness, the cost of these schools is justified by the superior facilities and the quality of education provided.
Another popular choice is home-schooling, especially for parents who have lost faith in the public schooling system but cannot afford a private or international school.
It is legal in Malaysia, but you must apply for school exemption and get approval from the ministry of education beforehand.
There are three types of home-schooling – parents as teachers, families coming together to teach children and home-school learning centres.
The bright side of home-schooling is the flexibility it offers. For example, if your child has the sudden enthusiasm to learn math at night, you can follow their lead and treat it as a part of “school” timing.
The biggest downside to home-schooling is that children miss the opportunity to interact with others which may cause social skill issues in the future.
Lack of facilities and equipment
Lack of facilities like a gym, swimming pool and chemicals, apparatus and other material needed for experiments are hurdles to a good education in home-schooling.
Not to mention the fact that the child would not feel challenged as there is no competition, hence no motivation to push themselves to do better.
In home-schooling where parents are teachers, they must put in their time and patience into educating the children.
Hopefully, the above descriptions will help parents in deciding where to place their children.
It is important to base your decision on all factors such as expense, curriculum, culture, facilities and overall environment of the school.
It is not easy for children to change from one education system to another halfway through as there will be a lot of unnecessary hardships and challenges.
School Advisor provides information on private and international schools, extra-curricular activities as well as other education-related topics in Malaysia.