One of the more reputable schools in the Klang Valley is ISKL, which is ranked the second most expensive international school by us last year. The price is only half the story but the real question is what value are the parents and their children getting?
ISKL is one of the three non-profit, parent-owned schools in the Klang Valley. This means that they do not have shareholders with the motivation to make money. It is the first fully-accredited international school in Kuala Lumpur, and it is one of the two international schools that offer the American-based curriculum, plus it also offers the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum.Whether or not you should send your children to an international school has always been a crucial decision-making topic of discussion among parents. Parents are always willing to pay more to ensure their children are getting a good head start. Previously in iMoney, we have discussed various angles of international schooling from whether it is worth it to send your child to an international school to 10 most expensive international schools in Klang Valley. We then did a sequel to it by taking a closer look at Garden International School and what it offers. As a follow up to that, we will look into what the International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL) has to offer.
So why should a non-profit school matter to students and their parents?
1. Full transparency
Parents often pay exorbitant fees not knowing how much of that actually directly benefits their children. By being a non-profit organisation, there is no conglomerate who owns the school and the school is not seen as a money-making machine. The owners of the school are the Society Members, who are parents, and the money goes back to the students in the form of high quality teachers, facilities and academic programmes.
The Board of Directors consists of parents elected by Society Members, and they provide strategic direction and governance for the school. With no external shareholders, all curriculum, finance, development plans and management segments are transparent to the community members. This governance model reflects that of many of the world’s leading educational institutions.
2. Greater parental involvement
Unlike many other schools where the involvement of the parent starts and stops at the report card, ISKL focuses on involving the parents.
Parents also volunteer through the Parent Teacher Association and Booster Club, supporting the wide variety of after-school activities and other special programmes throughout the year. Parents get to participate in their child’s learning experiences through involvement in classroom activities by volunteering as classroom helpers and field trip chaperones.
This way, parents can see and experience first-hand, their child(ren)’s learning experience in school.
3. Learning beyond classroom
In today’s competitive schooling and also working environment, the next generations are expected to merely churn out good academic results. Big companies today need talent that can do more than just memorise theories and transfer them to exam papers.
Therefore, it is important for parents to ensure their children are immersed in blended learning from as early an age as possible.
At ISKL, financial and talent resources are put into incorporating the School-wide Learning Results (SLRs), a programme that encourages students to think creatively, reason critically, communicate effectively, collaborate constructively, learn enthusiastically and live ethically. With an emphasis on wholesome education, students at ISKL are provided with a myriad of opportunities to participate in an academically rigorous and enriched programme, including curricular and extracurricular activities. ISKL students also reach out to serve others through various programmes, such as the Global Action Program (GAP), Malaysia Week, or Red Hats, the Grade 5 Program of Service.
With students from over 60 countries, ISKL is able to offer the cultural exposure impeccably, without making it forced. Exposing a child to multiple nationalities allows them to understand and embrace different people at a much earlier stage. This prepares them up to be successful, socially responsible global citizens. The exposure a child gets at the school equips them with the skills to adapt and learn in any environment, culture and country.
4. Qualified educators
The famous American author, William Arthur Ward, once said, “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”
This has proven to be true many times in our lives, hence it is important for parents to choose the school that hires the best educators to not just teach, but inspire their children.
With students as their shareholders, all fees collected by ISKL are reinvested not only into curricular and extracurricular activities, but also into choosing the best educators. Its faculty, comprised of highly qualified and experienced professionals from around the world, are fully engaged in the teaching and learning of students. Almost 75% of the faculty hold advanced degrees at Masters and Doctoral levels with the average teaching experience of 15 years.
Lifelong learning is not just instilled in the students, but also practised by the faculties. The school brings internationally renowned experts in pedagogy, curriculum development, teaching and learning to Kuala Lumpur as well as sending its educators around the world to ensure that they are current with international best practices in education.
Keeping up with the new learning methods, ISKL focuses on teaching your child how to think, as opposed to teaching him or her what to think. The classes in ISKL are also small with only 12 to 24 students per class, therefore providing more personalised attention to your child to ensure the teaching methods used are suitable for each child.
5. Top notch facilities
One of the most obvious factors to consider when choosing the right international school for your child are the facilities offered. Since all the fees and donations collected from parents are invested back into the school, you can be rest assured that the facilities are some of the best you’ll find.
However, this is not a unique selling point for ISKL, as most international schools offer excellent facilities. What differentiates ISKL from the rest is perhaps the use of their facilities, with comprehensive co- and extra-curricular offerings in an innovative learning environment. Spaces are thoughtfully created to ensure the best opportunities for student learning, growth and development.Facilities not put to good use will just be facilities, that will not have a lasting effect on the lives of the children.
The school is planning to open a new, purpose built facility along Jalan Ampang Hilir which will combine the latest in technology, the finest spaces for performance, athletics and teaching. It will bring both its elementary and middle/high schools back to one united campus which is being designed for a GBI (Green Building Index) Platinum rating.
Exposure to a variety of cultures can be extremely enriching for a child, as it allows students to grow up into emotionally mature, well-rounded individuals with a better understanding and sensitivity of the world around them.
Learning goes beyond textbooks and classrooms. Research supports that children who participate in extra-curricular activities are less likely to experience behavioural problems and also show improvements in focus and drive. These help children to better develop confidence in problem-solving skills and critical thinking.
As one of the most established international schools in Malaysia, ISKL offers all of the above, and more. The experience that a student gets by learning from and alongside people of different cultures, nationalities, and backgrounds, is priceless.
Children can discover and explore new talent and skills, proving that it is not just their curriculum that contributes to their development as individuals. That is why perhaps the international approach to education is the way forward in providing the real competitive advantage in your child’s life ahead.