While healthy parenting is crucial for your children’s development, the education they receive also shapes the characters they will become in adulthood. Having them attend the right school is thus the best thing you can do as a parent.
Now, enter high-performing schools. They offer the best educational materials and environments that can help your young ones to become well-rounded individuals.
“But wait, what’s a high-performing school?”
Schools in Malaysia are formally recognised by the Ministry of Education (MoE) as high-performing — or “berprestasi tinggi” in Bahasa Malaysia — when they have the right combination of ethos, character, and identity that fosters students to excel in all aspects of education.
Recognising high-performing schools is part and parcel of Malaysia’s ongoing Government Transformation Programme (GTP).
These schools offer multi-faceted curricular and extra-curricular activities, to help children develop globally competitive professional skills.
By now, you may be wondering if private or international schools with expensive fees are the ONLY options that guarantee your children’s excellence.
Well, we're here to tell you that couldn’t be further than the truth! To understand this, let’s first deconstruct the “public or private” debate.
Public schools versus private schools
Public schools in Malaysia are primary or secondary learning institutions that children can attend, at almost no cost! The Malaysian government funds them on both state and national levels.
Private schools, meanwhile, are exactly what their name says: Privately owned and managed by non-government, non-state individual bodies. Enrolling your children requires you to pay for tuition fees (that are often very expensive) personally.
Now, what about international schools? The terms “private schools” and “international schools” are often interchanged, but in reality, they mean different things. Therefore, international schools follow the curricular setups and standard examinations of other countries.
Now that we’ve clarified the definitions, it’s much easier to see that a school’s credibility and approaches to teaching have little to do with their fee structures or the national policies they follow — and more to do with the efficiency and excellence with which they operate.
“So... which school should my kids attend?”
Your choice ultimately depends on your children’s natural abilities and skill-based inclinations.
It’s essential to take note of the factors that affect your ability to provide the support they need, such as your household income, your current or desired address, and your lifestyle choices as a family. But rest assured: Excellence does not have to be expensive!
Of course, if a private or international school is the better option for your kids, and you can afford it, then you can enrol them in one. (For this, we have just the guide for you!)
But if affordability is a significant factor for you, then not to worry! Below are some of the best public high-performing schools in Malaysia that prove you can still provide your children with an outstanding education, without depleting your financial resources.
1) SMK Aminuddin Baki, Jalan Kampung Pandan, Ampang
Established in 1958, Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Aminuddin Baki (or SABKL for short) is one of the oldest schools in Malaysia. The secondary school is a cluster school, a term used to refer to centres of excellence that focus on music, science, sports, and languages, among other niche areas.
SABKL can hold up to approximately 1,200 students from Form 1 to Form 5 at a given time. Members of the school’s alumni refer to themselves as SABians, a feat that demonstrates the school’s sense of timeless pedagogical unity.
Meanwhile, its strategic location in Kuala Lumpur proves it to be incredibly accessible to all students living within and outside of the city centre.
2) Alam Shah Science Secondary School, Jalan Yaacob Latif, Bandar Tun Razak
With “Creative, Innovative, Productive” as its motto, you can bet on your children’s future at Alam Shah Science Secondary School (ASiS).
Its existence serves as a follow-up to the original Sultan Alam Shah School (SAS); the latter was introduced in 1963 as an outcome of the Razak Report.
Several months after its 40th anniversary, SAS was then relocated to Putrajaya; the complex in which the school previously stood is now ASiS’s very premise.
If your child demonstrates a flair for science and leadership skills, then you should consider enrolling them in ASiS.
The recognised high-performing school is known for its focus on the niche areas of Science & Innovation, English Debate, and Internationalisation Programme. Unsurprisingly, it has also produced a legion of exceptional graduates over the years!
3) SK Taman Tun Dr Ismail 1, Jalan Aminuddin Baki, Taman Tun Dr Ismail
Those of you who are looking to settle anywhere within Damansara will be delighted to know that Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Tun Dr Ismail 1 is a high-performing school.
Besides facilitating academic excellence, the school also provides stellar extra-curricular activities.
Their fencing and bowling teams, for one, have made a name for themselves thanks to their victory in various state-level competitions.
So, if your kids are the type to complement their academic goals with athletic inclinations, this is the school for them.
Not sure if you should completely omit the idea of international schools in Kuala Lumpur? Well, you’re a good parent for adding more valuable information to your research.
1) SMK (P) Sri Aman, Seksyen 14, Petaling Jaya
Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (P) Sri Aman is considered one of the most eminent all-girls schools in the Klang Valley.
The school came to be in 1971 following Seksyen 14’s rapid development as a housing area and its consequent increase in population (including teenage girls).
Today, it ranks among Malaysia’s top 100 schools, on top of being a well-known ‘Cluster School of Excellence’.
2) SK Raja Muda (Integrasi), Seksyen 4, Shah Alam
If you live anywhere in or around Shah Alam, then you’re in luck. Turns out, the excellence that Sekolah Kebangsaan Raja Muda (Integrasi) promises is just within your vicinity.
The Malaysian government officially recognises this primary school as one of the best learning institutions the country has to offer. It received recognition as a high-performing school in 2016.
3) SK Putrajaya Presint 18 (1), Presint 18, Putrajaya (near Putra Lake)
You cannot expect your family life to take root in the most political city in Malaysia without also ensuring that your kids can access the best education in town.
Enter Sekolah Kebangsaan Putrajaya Presint 18 (1). As its name suggests, the school sits in Putrajaya’s esteemed 18th precinct and is among the city’s earliest schools.
It received official recognition from the Ministry of Education in 2016 and has since been a high-performing school.
1) Kolej Tunku Kurshiah, Bandar Enstek (near Kuala Lumpur International Airport 1)
Located at the heart of Negeri Sembilan, Kolej Tunku Kurshiah is Malaysia’s first boarding school for girls and remains a contender in the country’s list of top elite schools.
It was founded in 1947. Admission into this secondary school is strictly by merit vouched by an excellent USPR (Primary School Advancement Test) result along with proof of co-curricular excellence.
2) King George V School, Jalan Zaaba, Seremban (near Seremban Railway Station)
King George V School (KGV) is among Seremban’s best options for a dignified learning experience. The cluster school is known to prioritise merit above all else.
Case in point: Admission into the secondary school requires approval from the state education department of Negeri Sembilan. We wouldn't expect any less from a school whose motto is “I Come, I See, I Conquer”.
As far as its accessibility goes, the school sits on Jalan Zaaba, also known as one of the most recognised roads in Seremban.
Its distance to surrounding parks and shops are walkable, which makes it a convenient cornerstone of your family’s day-to-day routines.
1) SMK Sains Tun Syed Sheh Shahabudin, Bukit Mertajam
The great thing about settling down in Penang is that your children are guaranteed access to more than a few high-performing schools.
Ranking top of the list is Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Sains Tun Syed Sheh Shahabudin, a prestigious public school that caters to boys and girls with outstanding track records. Enrol your children here if they have a discernible flair for scientific explorations.
2) SMK (P) St. George, Georgetown
The history of Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan St. George (or St. George’s All-Girls School) dates back to 1884 when Mrs Biggs, wife of British missionary Rev. Louis Coutier Biggs, started conducting informal classes in this side of Penang.
Shortly after, the school was named after Saint George, the patron saint of England. The next century saw the learning institution gradually transforming into Penang’s most eminent all-girls secondary school.
Today, it is particularly revered for its exemplary ‘Cluster School of Excellence’ system and high-performing achievements.
Additional factors to consider
Believe it or not, Malaysian education proves to be incredibly rewarding when it is delivered the right way and in environments conducive to emotional intelligence.
While private and international schools also provide incredible learning experiences, their fees can be costly.
So if you feel that your money is better funnelled into other areas of child-rearing, then you should consider public high-performing schools.
Enrollment in any of these schools bears little costs, which means you would only have to spend on school books and nominal fees here and there.
On top of that, the curricular and extra-curricular structures of public schools are automatically in line with national policies regulating Malaysian education.
As a result, you can get insights into your children’s academic lives as quickly as watching the news. Another great thing about these public schools?
Their teachers often come with higher levels of teaching experience and credibility. As required by government policies, they often attend nationally streamlined training courses that verify their skills and teaching methods.
With so many benefits to these public high-performing schools, there’s no doubt in our minds: your children’s future lives are looking super bright.
Wait… what if your children require special attention? Again, we’ve got you covered. Just check out our guide to the best autism schools in Malaysia today.