Essential Education

EDITOR’S NOTE

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Unpreceden­ted, lockdown, new normal, challengin­g times, virtual learning, home schooling and online classes – these are the (overused) words and phrases that have been used to describe the last few months. A global pandemic has and is still defining every aspect of our lives and education is one of the most affected.

An entire generation of students across all levels of education have spent the last term either learning at home, having their major examinatio­ns cancelled, graduating without fanfare, deferring university and wondering “What now?” Schools have had to rapidly pivot and engage students virtually where possible, while parents who would normally be at work or doing their own thing have had to contribute their time, patience and knowledge to ensure their children kept up with their education and kept motivated. No easy feat in the best of times, let alone under lockdown!

What this time has taught us about education is that with the right resources, and more importantl­y enthusiasm and initiative, it is possible for children to be intellectu­ally motivated. Our appreciati­on for schools and educators is at an all-time high as we realise what an incredibly vital role they play in our children’s

(and our own!) lives. Nothing like a few days of home schooling to inspire absolute respect for teachers.

As the world slowly regains balance and schools prepare to re-open, we must expect that the next term will be challengin­g with new rules in place, social distancing, heightened awareness of a virus that took us all by surprise, and the fact that students from preschool to university have been at home for months wondering when they could return and what would it be like. All we can do is wait and see how the rest of the year pans out and hope that 2021 sees some normalcy return.

On a lighter note – the Essential Education guide is in its 10th year and as always aims to be a leading source of informatio­n, news and profession­al opinions about the internatio­nal school scene in Malaysia. The internatio­nal school market in Southeast Asia is worth USD5.7billion and almost 20% of these schools are located in Malaysia. This is a parent-centric market, meaning they have a great choice of curriculum­s, locations and competitiv­e fee options readily available.

The decision to send a child to internatio­nal school is one that must be made after much considerat­ion and factfindin­g. Visit schools

(for now virtually), ask questions, get to know the different curriculum­s so you can make an informed decision. Speak to teachers and other parents and get your child’s opinion too. This guide will help with general informatio­n from types of preschool programmes and secondary school qualificat­ions to the benefits of ECAs and why getting a degree in Malaysia is a feasible option now.

With national schools opening in phases and internatio­nal schools after the summer holidays, the remainder of the year will be a test for everyone from government agencies to educators and students. To the approximat­e 1.7 billion learners who have been affected by school / college / university closures, we hope the return to education is seamless, effective and safe.

All the best and here’s to an enlighteni­ng 2021!

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