International Education in Johor Bahru
International schools in Malaysia’s Johor Bahru are becoming increasingly popular among expats. This isn’t just because of the city’s diverse mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian cultures; or because it’s rapidly growing; or because it’s the financial centre of the Johor region. More important than all of these factors is Johor Bahru’s close proximity to another expat favourite - Singapore.
Johor Bahru offers something unique; the ability to live in Singapore but attend school across the border at a lower cost. Or vice versa; live, work and attend school in JB while easily enjoying all that Singapore has to offer.
Commuting across the border is common practice; just pack your passport, hop on an express bus (or a school bus which many international schools provide) and you’re good to go. However because it’s so normal and everyone does it, be prepared to queue if you’re travelling across during rush hour.
If commutes and queues aren’t desirable for you, several international schools in Johor Bahru offer boarding facilities. Boarding will of course add to the yearly fees you pay, but the facilities are excellent. Sports grounds and extra curricular programs are standard, and staff usually make a great effort to get children fully involved in school life.
It’s not just the facilities in Johor Bahru’s international schools that are excellent. The standards of education are equal to Singapore’s or any other major Asian city’s international schools.
In Malaysia the Private Education Department (PED) under the Ministry of Education sets the regulations for international schools. They are famously stringent and strict about violations. Any school that’s not up to scratch will be fined, and any school in serious breach of the regulations will face disciplinary action.
In the past decade the demographics of a typical international school in Johor Bahru has changed a lot. In 2012, the Malaysian government removed a regulation that capped the number of local students attending international schools at 40% of the student population. Now, it’s not uncommon for international schools to have at least 50% local students.
Malaysia is also aiming to become a high-income country and is striving to attract highly-skilled expats. This is increasing demand for international schools even further. A couple well-established international school franchises that exist in other countries can be found in Johor Bahru.
The most popular curricula offered in JB’s international schools are the International Baccalaureate, British and American. To cater for the large numbers of local students, many international schools also teach the Malaysian and Singaporean curricula too. It’s also commonplace to have many additional languages available, usually including Malay and Mandarin at the least.
Below, we have compiled our top 5 international schools in Johor Bahru. However, there are another 14 schools to choose from in the city. You can find the best international school for your child by personalising your results. Just fill in your search criteria, and we will calculate a personal score for every international school in Johor Bahru based on your requirements.