1. Overview of Major Curricula Available at International Schools

Overview of Major Curricula Available at International Schools

Published on 01 Mar 2018
Essential Information

International Schools Curricula  

International schools in Malaysia offer a wide variety of English-medium curricula. Here we provide you with an overview of the major curricula that are available - with links to in-depth articles on each - so that you can decide which would be best for your child.



The American Curriculum is a standards-based system that sets high expectations of what students should know and be able to do, and aims to equip students with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and understanding that will enable them to become highly successful and responsible citizens of the global community.

Students who successfully complete the American Curriculum, which runs from Pre-Reception to Grade 12,will receive the American High School Diploma, which is recognized by universities around the world as a valid entry qualification. The American Curriculum also offers students the opportunities to do college-level work during their secondary education through its Advanced Placement (AP) program. Students who wish to gain admission to American universities will take the College Board SAT, the American College Test (ACT), and TOEFL.

Read more about the American Curriculum here.



The British Curriculum (also commonly referred to as the “UK Curriculum”) is a very structured curriculum that is designed to meet the needs of all students, stretching brighter children and supporting those who need it through differentiated teaching and learning activities. The curriculum extends and excites all students, whatever their interests or ability. Through it, teachers are able to identify, celebrate and nurture the talents and intelligences of students.

The British Curriculum clearly defined series of academic and other objectives at every level, known as the Key Stages and attainment at these stages is measured by standardised tests. The education system is divided into early years (ages 3 to 4), primary education (ages 4 to 11) and secondary education (ages 11 to 18) leading most typically to an A Level qualification.

Read more about the British Curriculum here.



The International Baccalaureate Organisation (known as the IBO) offers four high-quality and challenging educational programs for a worldwide community of schools, aiming to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.

The IB Diploma Program (DP) was established in 1968 to provide a challenging and comprehensive educational platform that would enable students to understand and manage the complexities of the modern world and provide them with skills and attitudes for taking responsible action for the future.

Such an education was rooted in the belief that people who are equipped to make a more just and peaceful world need an education that crosses disciplinary, cultural, national and geographical boundaries.

With the introduction of the Middle Years Program (MYP) in 1994 and the Primary Years Program (PYP) in 1997, the IB identified a continuum of international education for students aged 3 to 19.

Read more about the IB Program here.



The Australian curriculum is taught by predominantly Australian teachers who place great emphasis on explicit instruction in learning skills, high-order thinking, problem solving, values education and the general capabilities, behaviors and dispositions that are essential for success and prosperity in a complex, information-rich, globalized world.

The Australian International School Malaysia (AISM) is in a unique position as it is the only international school in Malaysia registered and accredited to deliver a full Australian Curriculum.

At AISM, students start their formal education at the age of 5 and enter Kindergarten. This represents the entry point for 13 years of schooling culminating with the awarding of the Higher School Certificate (HSC) at the end of Year 12 (age 18). This qualification can be used to gain entry into institutions all over the world.

The curriculum is divided into Key Learning Areas (KLAs), six at the primary level and eight at the secondary level.

Read more about the Australian Curriculum here.




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 2,000,000 students in 5,000 schools. The OSSD is a very well-known and respected international credential for entry to universities around the world.

Students who meet the graduation requirements of the Province of Ontario, Canada, Ministry of Education receive the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) and an Ontario Student Transcript outlining the courses taken and the student’s achievement.

In order to receive the OSSD, students are required to successfully complete 30 credits (18 compulsory in English, mathematics, and Canadian history and geography and 12 optional), a literacy test called the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) in Grade 10 and community involvement activities (a minimum of 40 hours).

Read more about the Ontario Curriculum here.



The International Primary Curriculum (IPC) is used extensively at the primary level in international and national schools in 85 countries in the world. Many expatriate and local children in international schools in Southeast Asia will have experienced learning with the IPC where it is a popular choice because of its internationally minded, creative and rigorous approach to learning.

The IPC is the fastest growing curriculum in international schools in South East Asia today. It is currently used in over 79 schools in the region including those in Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. For many schools, it is a curriculum choice that they have found continually successful and so have remained committed to for several years.

Read more about the IPC here.



The International Middle Years Curriculum (IMYC) is a curriculum for 11 to 14 year olds that creates opportunities for students to become confident, independent and engaged learners.

The IMYC is changing the way 11 to 14 year olds learn. It is a curriculum (the older sister of the hugely successful International Primary Curriculum or IPC), specifically designed around the needs of the maturing adolescent brain and, as such, provides challenging, engaging, connected and relevant learning. The IMYC inspires students during a time when many, overwhelmed by the transition from primary to secondary education on top of the changes in their bodies and brains, can become disengaged in their learning.

Read more about the IMYC here.



Cambridge International Examinations is the world’s largest provider of international education programs and qualifications for 5 to 19 year olds. Cambridge is a not-for-profit organization and part of the University of Cambridge, one of the world’s top universities and trusted for excellence in education.

Cambridge understands education. More than 10,000 schools in over 160 countries are part of the Cambridge learning community. Cambridge’s mission is to provide excellence in education, and its vision is that Cambridge learners become confident, responsible, reflective, innovative and engaged.

Understanding learners’ needs around the world means listening carefully to the Cambridge community of schools, and Cambridge is pleased that 98% of Cambridge schools would recommend Cambridge programs to others.

Cambridge works closely with schools in Malaysia to help them deliver the best possible education to students. Within the community of Cambridge schools are international schools, a number of private colleges and MARA Junior Science Colleges, 15 of which are implementing a dual certification program using Cambridge qualifications.

Read more about the CIE here.

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