Since 2012, the demand from local parents for international school education has increased resulting in the establishment of more international schools in Malaysia. Most students start their international school education in their primary years while some begin during their secondary school years. Some students begin their international school education from preschool.

International schools in Malaysia offer a variety of international curricula. Here are the popular international curricula offered:



1. International Baccalaureate (IB)

The IB programme encourages academic rigour and emphasises students’ personal development. The IB programme aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who are motivated to succeed.

 The IB programme includes the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP), IB Middle Years Programme (MYP), IB Diploma Programme (DP) and IB Career-related Programme (CP). These programmes aim to develop internationally minded people who recognise their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet to create a better and more peaceful world.


2. Cambridge 

The Cambridge International Curriculum was introduced by Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE), a globally recognised provider of international qualifications. This curriculum shapes an individual’s education from age five to 19 and allows them to focus on subjects based on their strengths and interests. Cambridge International is part of the world-renowned University of Cambridge.

The Cambridge Curriculum consists of four stages and gives students a clear path to educational success. These four stages of the Cambridge Curriculum are Cambridge Primary, Cambridge Lower Secondary, Cambridge IGCSE and Cambridge International AS & A Levels.

The academic progress of a learner is assessed through Checkpoints at the end of Cambridge Primary and Cambridge Lower Secondary. The checkpoints assess a learner’s proficiency and ability in English, Mathematics and Science. 



3. American 

The American Curriculum is a rigorous, standards-based system that aims to educate a learner for a successful future.

There are six accreditation authorities for the American Curriculum, including the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSACS), and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). All subject content must abide by the Common Core State Standards or the AERO Common Core Plus Standards. American international schools can design their curriculum based on standards that are relevant to their host country. These standards provide a guide for teachers to ensure students are moving in the direction to meet benchmarks set for each subject.

The American Curriculum is divided into three stages: Elementary School, Middle School and Hgh School. In Elementry School, students aged 4 to 11 enter Kindergarten to Grade 5. Students aged 11 to 14 progress to Middle School which covers Grade 6 to Grade 8. They then move on to High School until the age of 18 to complete Grades 9 to 12. The core subjects at each level are English language, Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies. In addition, students are exposed to Visual and Performing Arts, Foreign Languages, Physical Education and Technology. 


4. Ontario 

Created by the Ontario Ministry of Education, the Ontario Curriculum is a challenging, world-class curriculum which leads to an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). Ontario is the largest province by population in Canada and has over two million students in five thousand schools. The OSSD is a recognised and respected international credential for entry to universities around the world.

The curriculum starts with Kindergarten which lasts about two years followed by Elementary School which starts from Grade 1 to 8. From Grade 1 to 6, literacy, numeracy and learning skills are built. Subsequently, Grades 7 and 8 will prepare students for High School through active participation and building a foundation in core subjects which are Mathematics, English, Arts and Social Studies. High School, students gain knowledge in many subjects and learn lifelong skills. 


5. British 

Many international schools in Malaysia offer a British-based curriculum that follows the National Curriculum (for England). This curriculum sets out the programme of study and targets for all subjects and is divided into year blocks called Key Stages (KS). Learners are formally assessed at the end of each key stage. The first KS is Early Years for learners ages two to five followed by the primary level called the KS1 (ages 5 to 7) and the KS2 (ages 7 to 11). Secondary levels consist of KS3 (ages 11 to 14) and KS4 (ages 14 to 16). At the pre-university level, learners ages 16 to 18 go through KS5. The various key stages help teachers to have an overview of a learner’s academic progress.

Learners sit for the IGCSE examination at the end of KS4 and A levels at the end of KS5. Both the IGCSE and A levels are recognised worldwide. 


6. Australian 

The Australian Curriculum is a rigorous and holistic programme for students from Foundation to Year 10. The curriculum is rated as a ‘high quality, high equity’ by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). The curriculum is based on the New South Wales (NSW) Curriculum.

The Australian Curriculum aims to mould each learner to be a competent and well-functioning and communicating adult as well as preparing them to take their place in tertiary study or the workplace. In addition, the curriculum revolves around seven general capabilities which are intercultural understanding, literacy, numeracy, ICT capability, critical and creative thinking, personal and social capability and ethical understanding. 


Continue reading:

·         What You Should Look for in an International School

·         5 Types of International Schools in Malaysia

·         Private Learning Centres Offering International Curricula  

·         How to Choose the Right Learning Centre for your Child

·         How to Find the Right School for your Child