Student Info & Guide

A General Guide to Establishing an International School

by on January 14, 2022 | International School Education in Malaysia

A General Guide to Establishing an International School -

International school is a school that uses a foreign curriculum and English as medium of instruction; and accepts students who are Malaysian citizens and non-citizens. It is allowed to set up with the conditions that the establishment follows the provision of laws and rules of Ministry of Education Malaysia.

1. Owner/Company

  • The owner of the school must be a company incorporated in Malaysia and registered with Registry of Companies, also known as Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia (SSM)

2. Capital/Equity/BOD

  • Minimum paid-up capital is RM100,000.00 and the proposed new amount will be RM1 million. Under the liberalization of education, from 31 March 2012, foreign equity of up to 100% is allowed.
  • The Board of Directors of the Company must consist of at least one Malaysian citizen

3. Location, Land, Premises and Facilities

  • The land can be privately-owned, rented or leased, with a land area of at least 5 acres
  • The use of the land/premises for school purposes is subject to the support and approval of local authorities
  • The school is not allowed to temporary operate at temporary premises at a shop, private residence or bungalow
  • The environment must be conducive for educational activities
  • Special rooms such as science labs, music room, art room, prayer room, etc. must be provided
  • A field or courts for recreational activities and games must be provided

[Note: The premises must be in a strategic location which potentially consists of a large expatriate community or within a new economic development corridor]

4. Curriculum

  • Uses a foreign curriculum where the language of instruction is English and approved by the Registrar General. Example: British, American, Australian or Canadian curricula
    [Schools intending to teach the British Curriculum (IGCSE) require a recommendation letter from the CIE representative of Malaysia]


  1. the establishment of overseas branches of well-known international schools is preferred
  2. Schools must obtain accreditation from international accreditation boards within three years of operation

5. Board of Governors (BOG)

  • Minimum of five (including the Chairman and he/she needs to register with Ministry)
  • The principal will automatically be appointed as the secretary
  • There must be a representative for the interest of bumiputera among the members of the board of governors

6. Recruiting International Students

  • Prior approval to recruit international students must be obtained from the Ministry of Home Affairs, with the support/recognition of the Ministry of Education (MOE)

7. Recruiting Malaysian Students

  • According to Professional Circular No. 1/2012: Implementation of the Malaysian Student Admission to International Schools Policy, effective July 1, 2012 - the admission quota of Malaysian students to international schools is abolished
  • However, international schools are required to carry out the teaching and learning of the following subjects for Malaysian students:
    1. Bahasa Melayu
    2. Islamic Studies / Moral Education
    3. Malaysian History

8. Principal

  • Must have professional qualifications and experience in the administration of educational affairs
  • Teachers (citizens and non-citizens) who are experienced in the field of education are allowed to be appointed as principal
  • Must have a teaching permit
  • A principal must work on-site at the school to manage the administration of the school. A principal is not allowed to manage more than one school

9. Foreign Instructors

  • Must obtain a letter of support from MOE in order to obtain a Employment Pass issued by the Immigration Department of Malaysia
  • Must have a teaching contract with an international school
  • Must have a teaching permit

10. Teachers

  • Schools are encouraged to employ local teachers who have professional academic qualifications in education
  • Must possess a teaching permit

11. Class Ratio

  • One teacher to 25 students (1:25)

12. Tuition Fees

  • Fees charged should commensurate with the location and learning facilities provided
  • The development / building fees cannot be charged to the students
  • Any increment in fees must obtain the prior approval of the Registrar General with the condition that the last approval was given three years ago, and the increase is at a maximum rate of 30 percent

13. Instrument of Government

  • Every institution must have an instrument of government that is agreed and approved by the Registrar General

14. Market Research

  • Have done a market research on the needs concerning the establishment of the school, particularly:
    1. the number of expatriate children who need education at an international school in the given area
    2. the need for international education for local children in the given area
    3. the existing enrolment of students studying at schools in those areas
    4. a comparison of fees charged by international schools in surrounding areas

15. Submission of Application

  • To establish an international school, the applicant need to use Form BPS 1 to apply to the Private Education Division, Ministry of Education

16. Presentation

  • Only complete application which is worth for consideration will be asked to conduct a presentation on the school 's application to the Ministry’s Private Educational Institution Establishment Committee

17. Letter of Approval

  • For successful applicant, the approval letter for the establishment of the international school will be issued. It is valid for a period of two (2) years only. This approval is not transferable, and its premises or location cannot be changed during this period

18. Registration of Institution/School

  • Section 79 of the Education Act 1996 (Act 550) states that every educational institution/school shall be registered
  • Every institution needs to be registered in advance by the Registrar of School and Teachers, of the State Education Department before the institution can operate and carry out promotional and advertising activities
  • The registration will only be granted if the institution has obtained CF/CCC or permission to occupy the building (OP) as well as the approval of three agencies, namely, the local authority, the fire and rescue department, and the health department to ascertain the suitability, safety and health of the premises
  • Subsection 84 (d) of the Education Act 1996 (Act 550) states that: the Registrar General may refuse to register an educational institution if he is not satisfied with the adequacy of existing educational facilities, in the area where the educational institution is proposed to be opened

19. Information and Data

  • Every international school management must provide data and information to the Registrar General concerning its students, teachers or any other relevant information, from time to time or when necessary

20. Other Sections of the Education Act to Comply

  • Subsection 86 (1) of the Education Act 1996 (Act 550) states that: No person shall be allowed to promote a particular educational institution either through advertisement, prospectus, brochure or otherwise, unless the said educational institution has been registered, or has been issued a temporary registration certificate under subsection 81 (1)
  • Subsection 132 (2) (g) of the Education Act 1996 (Act 550) states that: A person acting as a management or employee of an educational institution that is not registered under this Act is guilty of an offense and shall, on conviction, be fined not exceeding thirty ringgit or jailed for not more than two years, or both


  • Schools of Malaysia Directory (4th edition 2013-14), published by Challenger Concept
    (Note: This article is adapted from the Bahagian Pendidikan Swasta website and translated from Bahasa Malaysia)

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