learning from home

Learning From Home During COVID-19 Outbreak: Tips & Tricks

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Malaysian schools, at different levels, are now physically closed to help contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. The closure became necessary, not just to slow down the spread, but to also help prevent overloading the hospitals with COVID-19 cases.

For parents who will be working from home during this period, here are some useful tips and tricks to effectively work and take care of your kids.


1. Keep a routine

Even the simplest change in a daily routine can be stressful for everyone. Therefore, it is crucial to discuss with your kids about why everyone will be at home during this time, and what the new routine will look like.

Talk about your work — the time you’ll spend each day working, coffee breaks, etc. Also, discuss their schoolwork with them. Let them know that school will now be conducted via lessons by their teachers, over the internet.


2) Keep activities simple

Keep in mind that online lessons during this time are to help keep them acquainted with school activities and also progress their learning instead of just staying idle or playing all through the MCO period.

It’s a good idea to keep every other activity simple. In a bid to occupy them with other activities (school or non-school related), keeping it less tasking will make them concentrate on the activity, allowing you the time and concentration you need to work.


3) Use the resources available to you

There’s no point in trying to develop a new syllabus for your kids. Leverage on the curriculum and syllabus that the homeschool offers. There are also many resources available on the internet — if you choose to add to your child’s knowledge away from schoolwork.

Trying to develop a new syllabus or study material for your kid may take a lot of time, which may affect your work or other activities in your daily routine. Stick to the already prepared resources the homeschool provides for your kids.


4) Use what’s in your house

During break periods, you can get the photo album out. Talk to the children about yourself growing up, tell them what it was like when you were younger.

They can also help out in the kitchen with what they can do easily. Allow the kids to do the dishes if they’re old enough. Let them clean their room or other areas of the house you’re comfortable with. It gives you time to do one or two work-related activities.


5) Take your child (virtually) to work

You can use this time to show your kids this part of your world. On the days when work activities aren’t intense or tedious, and your kids aren’t involved in any online learning activity, you can allow them into your work area. Show them what you’re doing and explain it to them. You can connect with your child while working.


6) Use media for social connection

Social distancing can, indeed, be isolating. Allow the kids to reach out to their school friends or other families through video chats — especially during free time. You can also use the time to concentrate on your work or follow their suit and check in on your friends and family to ensure they’re doing okay


In a Nutshell

In this time of MCO and social distancing, it is crucial to keep your kids engaged in schooling activities to keep their memory fresh and to ensure that they’re progressing academically.

Homeschools in Selangor, Malaysia, such as Maplewood, ensure that your kids are constantly learning even if they’re away from school while affording you the time you need to concentrate on your job. For more information, feel free to get in touch with us.

Maplewood homeschooling students

What are the Compulsory Subjects When Homeschooling in Malaysia?

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In Malaysia, when you decide to send your child to a homeschool, it doesn’t mean you or the homeschool tutors can choose to educate the kid(s) on random subjects, to the detriment of the core subjects that would turn out to be useful for the child’s future.

Homeschools in Malaysia operates with the IGCSE or O Level syllabus in educating the students. With this syllabus, the student can feel confident in sitting for the IGCSE examinations, knowing he is well-equipped with the required knowledge needed to ace his papers.

Some IGCSE offers over 70 subjects, and students can only write a minimum of 5 subjects and a maximum of 14 subjects — including the core subjects.

Because of this, homeschools must be able to teach the students the core subjects and any other subjects that are congruent with what they intend to study in college. The same is also true for O Level exams in terms of teaching the core subjects and electives.


The Compulsory Subjects When Homeschooling in Malaysia

The compulsory subjects include subjects that the student MUST learn in the homeschool. The core subjects are usually based on the national curriculum and the examination the student intends to write.
Generally, core subjects include Mathematics, English language and Science. The science subjects would depend on the students’ interests in terms of their professional careers.
Science and Art subjects may include Accounting, Business Studies, Economics, Sociology, Arts & Technology, commonly Computer Studies, Information & Communication Technology (ICT), Biology, Physics, Chemistry, and the likes.


Subject Grouping for IGCSE (For general reference only)

Group I

  • English 1st Language
  • Chinese 2nd Language
  • Malay 2nd Language

Group II

  • Economics
  • Geography
  • World History

Group III

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Combine Science
  • Computer Science
  • Coordinated Science

Group IV

  • Cambridge International
  • Mathematics
  • Additional Mathematic

Group V

  • Accounting
  • Business Studies
  • Art and Design
  • Information Technolgy
  • Music
  • Computer Science

Students choose two languages from the first group, one subject from the second, third, fourth and fifth. The seventh subject can be chosen from any of the five groups.


Private Homeschool: Maplewood Academy

Maplewood Academy is a leading homeschool in Puchong, Malaysia. Over the years, the school has produced well-rounded students, including providing quality education that enhances the character and instils leadership qualities that prepare them for the future.

With a combined effort from both the teaching and non-teaching staff, Maplewood Academy aims to continue building children with a hunger for knowledge. We also intend to continue instilling leadership qualities, emotional intelligence, and lifelong learning mindset even after graduating from school.


Subjects Offered in Maplewood Academy

At Maplewood Academy, kids who are ready for homeschooling will spend around 10 and 11 years in school, depending on what happens during the schooling years. At an early age of six, Maplewood Academy admits kids to begin their schooling journey.

Below are the core and elective subjects offered by Maplewood Academy homeschool — for both primary and secondary students.


1) Lower Primary (Year 1 to 3)

Core subjects: English, Science, and Mathematics
Elective subjects: ICT, Geography, and History
Second Languages: Malay and Mandarin


2) Upper Primary (Year 4 to 6)

Core subjects: English, Science, and Mathematics
Elective subjects: ICT, Geography, and History
Second languages: Malay and Mandarin


3) Lower Secondary (Year 7 to 8)

Core subjects: English, Science, and Mathematics
Elective subjects: ICT, Geography
Second Languages: Malay and Mandarin


4) Upper Secondary (Year 9 to 11)

Core subjects: English and Mathematics
Science Elective subjects: Biology, Physics, Chemistry, and Additional Mathematics
Art Electives: Business, Economics, and Accounting
Other Subjects: ICT, Geography, Malay and Mandarin

As you can see, Maplewood Academy caters to the needs of children at different levels of their primary and secondary schooling years. Our school covers all the core and elective subjects, including other extracurricular programs. For more information, get in touch with us.

homeschooling in malaysia vs other countries

How is Homeschooling in Malaysia Different from Other Countries?

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Homeschooling in Malaysia and around the world offers an exciting and successful approach to a child’s learning and has gained a reputation, not just in Malaysia but across the globe.

It was estimated that in 2019, between 90,000 to 130,000 kids were homeschooled in the UK, and homeschooling contributes about 3.4% (over 2 million students) to the education of students in the United States of America.

In Malaysia, more parents are now opting to educate their children via the homeschooling system as an alternative to sending their children to regular schools.

However, there is a vast difference between the homeschooling system in Malaysia and other countries. From location to instructors, the medium of instruction, extra-curricular activities and more.

So, how is homeschooling in Malaysia different from other countries?


Maplewood Home schooling students

1. Learning centres

Unlike other countries, Malaysia has homeschooling centres explicitly built to educate kids. The centres could also be a home that is converted for homeschooling purposes.

The homeschools in Malaysia can take as many students as possible when the right number of instructors are available — to ensure every student receives the attention they need.

In other countries like the UK and the US, homeschooling is more of a family thing where the child is educated at home by his or her parents without the help or assistance of an external tutor.


Maplewood homeschooling kids : kindergarten

2. Enrolment age

In Malaysia, kids at the age of six can be enrolled in a good and affordable homeschool. Starting at such an early age will help the child finish earlier than his or her peers in public schools who have to wait until they’re seven. When a child is sixteen, he or she will be ready to get into any higher institution of their choice.

In other countries, like in the United States of America, homeschooling usually starts at the age of five or in a grade equivalent to at least kindergarten but not higher than 12th grade.



maplewood homeschooling students talking to each other

3. Medium of Instruction

The private homeschools in Malaysia use the English language as a medium of instruction. However, the students are also encouraged to speak the national language.

The subject itself is taught in Malaysian homeschools to ensure the student become more proficient in the language. This can be useful if the kid is aiming to go to a university abroad (especially to an English speaking nation).

The medium of instruction used in the homeschools of other countries would be their national language, which is English for the US and Uk or any other English speaking nation. Other countries could also deploy their national language if their curriculum permits.


Mapplewood Academy class session

4. Teachers

Malaysian homeschools are equipped with qualified teachers who can teach every subject that a child needs to learn at different stages of their education journey. Sometimes, each class can have more than one instructor — the primary instructor and his or her assistant.

The homeschools in other countries usually have one instructor, which is either the mother or father or both. However, when a parent isn’t proficient in a particular topic or subject, they can use the help of another relative who understands the subject.


maplewood extra co-curriculum activity

5. Extracurricular activities and IGCSE

IGCSE homeschools in Malaysia often follow both national and international curricula, such as the IGCSE and Cambridge primary education. These programs are an added advantage for children who want to study abroad. Moreover, the kids get involved with extra-curricular activities that help them achieve a well-rounded education.

Homeschools, especially in America, do not follow the IGCSE curriculum when educating their kids at home. They have a unique curriculum they follow or use the national curriculum. However, they also get their kids involved in extra-curricular activities such as soccer, piano lessons, or travels.


In a Nutshell

The homeschooling system in Malaysia is different from other countries, as it mostly depends on what the education board of each nation or the homeschool management proposes. The system has continued to gain momentum and popularity amongst families across the country, as home-schooled students display their success, both academically and socially. For more information, please feel free to get in touch with us.

Mapplewood Academy class session

Why More Parents Prefer to Send Their Kids to an IGCSE Homeschool?

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These days parents in Malaysia are choosing to send their children to an IGCSE homeschool. This doesn’t come as a surprise — as kids who are homeschooled receive more personal attention and generally tend to perform better.

In fact, IGCSE homeschools in Malaysia offer many benefits that give your kid an edge over the kids in public schools.

Homeschooling is the education received in learning centres different from the formal setting. The kids are usually taught by qualified private teachers or tutors. Homeschooling allows the teachers to better shape the children’s learning experience.

Even though the homeschools stick to the government regulations in their respective states, tutors can still tailor the homeschool environment to meet the needs of individual students by using specific methods of teaching that are most suitable for the kids.

Apart from the fact that kids who are homeschooled usually perform better, another reason why more parents are choosing IGCSE homeschools is that they might be dissatisfied with the traditional public schools believing that the school does not offer the kids a conducive learning environment.


homeschooling studies

Other reasons parents prefer IGCSE homeschools in Malaysia include:

– The safety of their kids as well as the positive influence of other kids on their own. This is because the kids are closely watched by the teachers, so that bad behavior will not be tolerated.

– The size of the class is just right — enough for each kid to get individualized attention and instruction from the tutor.

– The rich curriculum (including the IGCSE curriculum) and teaching methodology used in homeschools.

– Gifted kids, as well as children with special needs, are welcomed and adequately cared for.

– The learning environment is created to suit the needs of individual kids.

– Parents also prefer homeschoolers because it allows them to have an active role in their kids’ education, thereby creating a closer bond with the kids.

– Homeschools allow the parents to accommodate their work or travel schedules.


Tutors spend extra time helping their children develop any unique talents they possess, including musical, athletic, etc.

Furthermore, the IGCSE homeschools in Malaysia provides classes for students who are preparing for the IGCSE examinations. The classes are taught using the IGCSE syllabus and are taught in English.

This is provided through a platform that is very useful for the students as they engage in active learning and a rich curriculum that helps them to learn more effectively.

Homeschooling gives the kids the confidence they need to sit for the IGCSE examination because they are taught using the IGCSE syllabus and are allowed to learn at their pace until they fully understand a subject.

Therefore, if you expect your kid to sit for the IGCSE examination, homeschooling in Malaysia is the best option for your child to get proper guidance from qualified and experienced tutors.


What You Need to Know about IGCSE Malaysia

teaching homeschool students

1. Two examination boards offer IGCSE

Pearson Edexcel and Cambridge Assessment International Education offer the IGCSE. But, the Cambridge version is commonly provided in Malaysia.


2. Over 70 IGCSE subjects are offered

International schools can select from over 70 IGCSE subjects and offer them in any combination to their students. The students have to take a minimum of five subjects in addition to mandatory subjects.


3. Examinations are administered twice a year

The IGCSE examinations are written twice a year — May and October.


4. IGCSE Malay is now available as a subject

The Cambridge Assessment International Education has added IGCSE First Language Malay to their list of subjects.


Finally, if you decide that sending your kids to homeschool is the best choice, ensure that you do your research to find out everything you need to know about the school. For more information, please feel free to get in touch with our helpful counsellors via our website.

Curriculum for Malaysian Public Schools Vs. IGCSE Private School

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In Malaysia, the Ministry of Education has the sole responsibility of providing education at the pre-tertiary level of education, which includes pre-school, primary, secondary, and post-secondary levels.

Apart from the ministry’s responsibilities of regulating the operations of all public and private-funded schools and homeschools in Malaysia, they have put in place a comprehensive schooling system from pre-school to secondary education.

A child’s education starts at pre-school at the age of four, and then he/she moves onto the first year of the 6-year compulsory primary education when the child reaches the age of seven.

From primary school, the child moves onto secondary school. At this level, most schools are government or government-aided schools.

However, many private schools in Selangor and homeschools in Malaysia are springing up to not only meet the demand of more affluent parents but to offer a better and more focused education to children by offering a richer curriculum.



Curriculum for Malaysian Schools

The National Curriculum provides a list of subjects for all levels of schooling. The subjects are categorised as follows:

  1. Core subjects: They are subjects that must be learned by school pupils in the government and private schools in Malaysia.
  2. Compulsory subjects: They are subjects other than the core subjects that must be learned by school pupils in government schools.
  3. Additional subjects: They are subjects taught following the Educational Act in government schools.
  4. Elective subjects: They are subjects other than the compulsory and core subjects that are chosen by pupils in the government school according to their interest, talent, ability, and potential.


malaysian preschool


Preschool Curriculum

In Malaysia, kindergartens adopt the National Pre-school Curriculum (NPC) set by the Ministry of Education. The curriculum enables pre-school children to acquire the required communication, personality development, social, and other positive skills that will make them prepared for primary school.



Malaysian primary school

Primary School Curriculum

The national curriculum for primary schools in Malaysia is known as Kurikulum Bersepadu Sekolah Rendah (KBSR). The primary education phase is separated into two parts – Phase I (Standard 1 to 3) and Phase II (Standard 4 to 6).

The first phase focuses on acquiring an active reading, writing, and arithmetic skills, while the second phase focuses on the mastery of the above skills and also to build a strong foundation in content and basic science.

The six years of primary schooling focuses on the development of personality, attitude, values, study skills, and thinking skills as well as the acquisition of knowledge and pre-vocational education.



Secondary school in malaysiaSecondary School Curriculum

The secondary level of education focuses on the general development of students. It is also known as Kurikulum Bersepadu Sekolah Menengah (KBSM).

It aims to develop a broader base of intellectual capacity, self-confidence, and skills in the students, to cope with new areas of knowledge and technological knowledge, and teach values based on the National Philosophy of Education. The main goal is to develop a strong foundation for life-long education.

In public secondary schools, the medium of instruction is Bahasa Melayu, while the English Language is taught as a second language.


IGCSE for Malaysian Public Schools

Although students in public schools can sit for IGCSE, they are far less equipped for the exams due to many factors — from inexperienced teachers to unfavorable learning environments, overcrowded classrooms and poor student-teacher ratio.



IGCSE Private School Curriculum

Private schools in Malaysia are also expected to use the National Curriculum for primary and secondary education. The Malaysian curriculum for schools includes the Primary School Standard Curriculum or Kurikulum Standard Sekolah Rendah and the Secondary Schools Standard Curriculum or Kurikulum Standard Sekolah Menengah.

These curriculums were enacted to ensure that students are taught the relevant knowledge, skills, and values needed in the 21st century.

Malaysian private schools offer a wide range of elective subjects, general co- and extracurricular activities, facilities for learning, sports, IT and the arts — much more than public schools. Many have longer study hours and smaller classes, and more attention is given to the students.

Maplewood Home schooling students

For example, the private schools in Selangor, Malaysia even provide regular reports for parents and place greater emphasis on the English language, using it as the primary medium of instruction, although these schools follow the Malaysian national curriculum.

Also, students who are enrolled in homeschools in Malaysia are better equipped to sit for the IGCSE because the private homeschools tend to model the school’s syllabus according to IGCSE standard, even though they operate under the jurisdiction of the Malaysian Education Board.

At the end of their schooling years, IGCSE private homeschools produce competitive students in later studies as well as in the workforce.

Because of the compulsory project work, experienced teachers, productive extra-curricular activities, and other educational programs included in the curriculum, private homeschools help the students to adapt better to university or college curriculum.

Maplewood Academy primary students are discussing

5 Things To Consider Before Enrolling Your Child For Primary School

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Before now, what was obtainable was that Malaysian parents would enrol their kids in a public primary school that was closest to them — and then allow the Malaysian schooling system to educate the kids according to the syllabus.

Today, this isn’t the case anymore. Since the Malaysian education board removed the quota for enrolment of Malaysian students, parents can now choose to either enrol their children in a public or private school in Malaysia.

In making this decision, as a parent, there are some crucial factors to consider if you want to get the best education for your kids. So, here are five things to consider before enrolling your child for a primary school in Malaysia.


1. Commencement and completion of IGCSE Malaysia or its equivalent on time

There are some private schools or homeschools in Malaysia that take kids into primary one or its equivalent at the age of six. What this means for your kid is that he/she will be ahead of their peers in public schools by one year since public or government schools only take kids into primary one at the age of seven.

This advantage also has a long-term impact on your kid’s education. Your kid will be done with IGCSE Malaysia or its equivalent at the age of sixteen, and then they can move on to higher education immediately. They may also be eligible to sit for IGCSE in Malaysia before their peers in national schools are ready.

Your kids may find so much ease in learning in a private primary school in Malaysia, if they went to preschool and have basic knowledge in reading, mathematics, and the alphabet.


2. Medium of instruction

National school teachers in Malaysia use Bahasa Malaysia (Malaysian language) as a means to communicate with the students and the English Language as a second language. Depending on the aspirations you have for your kids, for example, if you intend to send your kid abroad (especially in an English-speaking nation) after secondary school, then enrolling your kid in a homeschool is a good choice.

This is because the standards of the English Language in homeschools are higher than Malaysian national schools. Therefore, if your child studies in a homeschool primary and secondary school, there will be no need to get additional qualifications like the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) for admission into universities or colleges abroad.


enrolling to IGCSE primary school

3. Number of students per class and the importance of personal attention in the classroom

It’s nothing new that in Malaysian national schools, the classes are usually overcrowded, and the teachers may not have the time to give every child the attention they need. Knowing that every kid is different and some may be faster in learning and others, slower. Also, every kid has different areas in which they excel.

Your kid must get personal attention in class for subjects or topics he/she doesn’t understand. When they get enough attention in those problematic areas, they’re likely to succeed than when they are ignored like in the public schools.

The minimum number of students per class at a homeschool in Malaysia is between 5 to 10, and 10 to 15 maximum. It allows the teacher to know every kid personally and to know their areas of strength and areas that need improvement. This way, your kid can be much better prepared for his/her secondary examinations, IGCSE Malaysia.


4. Balancing academics and non-academic components of learning

Schooling isn’t all about academic activities. Kids who aren’t academically inclined may excel in non-academic areas. You should consider checking if a primary school has rich non-academic (extra-curricular) activities to ensure that your kid will have a balanced education in the academic and non-academic aspects as well.

You will find such an environment in private schools in Selangor, Malaysia, using the Malaysian curriculum for learning or homeschooling in Malaysia. Some extracurricular activities you may find include music, sports, arts, etc.


5. The need for private tuition outside the classroom

It is a prevalent practice in Malaysia for parents (who send their kids to national or government schools) to pay for additional classes or extra-curricular activities outside the formal setting (a.k.a. Private tuition classes). The intent is usually to help the child cope with the school subjects or augment what was taught in class.

Parents also pay for extra-curricular activities like music, sports, etc. These additional classes can cost up to RM500/month, which means RM6,000/year, which brings additional expenses for the parents.

Most private schools in Puchong or homeschools offer this extra support as part of its curriculum, and you may not need to pay as high as RM500/month for the added support your child needs.

Are you a parent considering sending your kid to a private school in Malaysia? If you have more questions, please feel free to get in touch with our helpful and friendly staff on our website.

Mapplewood Academy cooking class

7 Misconceptions about Homeschooling in Malaysia

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In the past, homeschooling simply meant tutoring your own kids at home by yourself, or hiring one or more private tutors to come over and do the job for you.

This often limits your kids as they’re only impacted based on your own limited knowledge or that of the private tutor. Even today, this is still the widely known meaning and practice of homeschooling but I’ll shock you; homeschooling in Malaysia goes way beyond this!

Most people have wrong notions as to what a homeschool Malaysia entails, and the purpose of this blog post is to clear the air on this.

Here are 7 misconceptions about Homeschooling in Malaysia:

1. Homeschool Malaysia is done at home

This is so not true. Although this is the normal practice among other countries of the world, it is not so in Malaysia. Homeschooling in Malaysia — such as the home school in Selangor — carry out their academic activities in a spacious building or rented office units.

In a homeschool Malaysia, the kids are taught normal school subjects in a designated place by well learned teachers, while giving each child optimum attention. This is because there are less number of children been handled by a tutor, as compared to what you find in public schools.

For instance, the ratio of teacher to student in a homeschool in Selangor is often 1:15, which is a better ratio than the 1:30 you find in public schools.

Maplewood Academy primary students

2. Homeschools in Malaysia have their own syllabus and therefore the students are not recognized academically.

This is also not true. Homeschool Malaysia (such as the home school in Selangor) follow the same IGCSE syllabus as many private schools in Malaysia.

For this reason, homeschooling in Malaysia is often referred to as IGCSE homeschooling. This syllabus prepares the students for the IGCSE exams and the certificate is acceptable worldwide.


3. Homeschool Malaysia do not engage in extra-curricular activities such as physical education.

This is another misconception people have towards homeschooling in Malaysia. Most home schools in Selangor have parks or swimming clubs close to their buildings where they go for extra curricular activities at least once a week.


4. Expensive and unaffordable

Not really. All IGCSE approved curriculum will be presented to your child in a sparsely populated class, giving the teacher enough time and energy to attend to your child in the best possible way.

IGCE homeschooling is actually not so expensive as compared to the quality of education it offers. In fact there are home schools in Selangor that offers high quality education at an affordable price.

Mapplewood Academy class session

5. Homeschool Malaysia is for abnormal kids

This is just another misconception among the lot. Homeschools in Malaysia do not in any way benefit only slow learning or abnormal children.

In fact, homeschool Malaysia which I have said handles IGCSE curriculum like every other normal private schools, highly benefits smart kids.

Due to its flexibility and shorter academic years, smart homeschool students can finish their O Level faster than other public school students.


6. Homeschool students must take about 10 subjects in the secondary examinations.

This is just as wrong as others. Whereas this is the case with normal public schools, IGCSE homeschooling students usually take 5 subjects (or more if preferred by the student), and this helps them to be more focused.

Maplewood Academy female teacher

7. Homeschool teachers are unqualified.

Wrong yet again! As a matter of fact, having a teaching diploma is a criteria for employment in a homeschool Malaysia, for example the homeschool in Selangor. This is so that the teachers will be competent enough to impart massively to the students.



A lot of parents are now enrolling their kids into homeschools because of the high quality education, flexibility and focus it provides the child with.

Are you one of the many who have wrong notions about homeschooling in Malaysia? Talk to our friendly and professional staff to find out more. Please feel free to get in touch with us.

Maplewood Home schooling students

Everything you need to know about IGCSE in Malaysia

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As you already know, the IGCSE programme is offered by many private homeschools and international schools in Malaysia. The IGCSE is the international equivalent of the GCSE examinations in the UK.

The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) is internationally recognized and offers many opportunities for students who want to study locally or overseas.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about IGCSE in Malaysia.


1. IGCSE is Offered by Two Examination Boards

The two examination boards who offer IGCSE are Pearson and Cambridge Assessment International Education. However, the latter is commonly offered in Malaysia.

IGCSE was first introduced by the Cambridge Examination Board in 1985, which is equivalent to O level. Cambridge Assessment International Education prepares and marks all exam papers in the UK.


Maplewood diverse subjects2. IGCSE Offers Over 70 Subjects

Schools (including homeschooling centres and private schools) in Malaysia have the option to select from over 70 subjects and offer them in any combination to the students. The students have to take a minimum of five subjects plus mandatory subjects.

The Cambridge IGCSE focuses on the application of knowledge, critical thinking, adaptability, excellent English Language skills, and cultural awareness.



3. IGCSE is Preceded by British or Cambridge Curriculum

Students of Malaysia who are enrolled in private homeschooling centres or international schools which offer the Cambridge International Curriculum will sit for the IGCSE examinations in their final year of secondary school.

The IGCSE preparations are done during Cambridge Upper Secondary in the Cambridge International Curriculum. The students are usually between the ages of 14 to 16 years old.


4. IGCSE Examinations are Written Twice a Year

In Malaysia, the IGCSE examinations are written twice a year, in May and October. Students sit for the exams in private examination centres or international schools.

The results are usually issued in August and January. The subjects are graded from A to G – the highest grade is A.


Leaning IGCSE Malay5. A new Subject is Included – IGCSE Malay!

Cambridge Assessment International Education announced the addition of IGCSE First Language, Malay, to the list of subjects in 2018. International schools will start offering the subject in September 2019.

The first examination for IGCSE First Language, Malay, is expected to be carried out in June 2021. Before this inclusion, Cambridge IGCSE only offered the Malay Foreign Language to students with no foundation in the language.

It is also important to know that the IGCSE First Language, Malay, is not equivalent to Bahasa Melayu at SPM level.


6. The IGCSE Curriculum Focus Areas

The approach to teaching the IGCSE subjects is to introduce the students to a variety of subjects and encourage them to make a connection between each subject.

IGCSE Malaysia concentrates on developing the student’s understanding, skill, and knowledge in the areas below:

  • Subject content
  • Intellectual inquiry
  • The flexibility and responsiveness to change
  • Working and communicating in English
  • Influencing outcomes
  • Cultural awareness


7. IGCSE and Home Schooling

The IGCSE curriculum is fast becoming an increasingly popular choice for homeschools due to its high-quality syllabus. Choosing IGCSE as a homeschool curriculum gives a homeschooled student an advantage over the regular student. There are many IGCSE homeschooling centres all over Malaysia.

The child is able to sit for the examination at any time, whenever they are ready for the exam in any British Councils located in Malaysia or any registered Cambridge Schools that accepts private candidates.


HomeschoolingIn a Nutshell

For Malaysian students, IGCSE Homeschooling is one of the options for them to immerse themselves in a different kind of syllabus – the IGCSE Cambridge syllabus.

If you have more questions regarding IGCSE, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with us. Our friendly teaching staff will be more than happy to guide you along.

official SPM certificate cover

IGCSE vs. SPM: The differences between both

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In Malaysia, IGCSE and SPM are popular examination terms among students and teachers alike. While IGCSE is Cambridge certified, SPM is the national examination for form 5 students (year 11 equivalent) in Malaysia.

Both are equivalent qualifications albeit quite a number of stark differences between the two.

What Does IGCSE Stand for?

IGCSE an acronym for ‘International General Certificate of Secondary Education’. Let’s look at some traits peculiar to IGCSE.

  • IGCSE Malaysia is taken by students aged between 14-16 or 15-17 depending on primary 1 entry age.
  • The examination is internationally recognized and rated highly by reputable universities and companies all over the world.
  • It is flexible; allowing students to choose from over 70 subjects.

When students finish this course, they take an assessment. The assessment consists of a practical and coursework along with written and oral examination.


What Does SPM Stand for?

The Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia, or more popularly known as ‘SPM’, is a national examination for all form 5 students who follow the education pathway of Malaysian government schools.

Taken after 11 years of schooling, SPM is one of the pathways to tertiary education. The examination is recognized in many countries, although all examination papers (except the English paper) are written in Bahasa Malaysia.


The differences between both

In fact, both examinations differ when it comes to subjects, grading system, duration and recognition. Let’s find out.

1. Subjects

When it comes to subjects, IGCSE offers students more flexibility as compared to SPM. For example, there is no compulsory subjects for anyone wishing to sit for IGCSE.

On the contrary, in SPM, students have to sit for and pass Bahasa Malaysia and Sejarah (History) in order to get their certificate. Moreover, Pendidikan Islam is compulsory for Muslims while Pendidikan Moral is compulsory for non-Muslims.

For IGCSE, students choose their own subjects based on their interest.


2. Grading System

SPM examination grading system

The results of SPM examination will determine if a student qualifies for further studies after secondary school, such as matriculation, foundation, certificate or diploma programmes (with specialization).

The grades are: A+, A, A-, B+, B, C+, C, D, E and G.

Students who intend to further their education at public universities must convert their grades into a merit point calculation system.


IGCSE examination grading system

The grades are: A*, A, B, C, D, E, F or G.

It’s important to bear in mind that performance which is below the standard of the lowest grade is ungraded and denoted by a ‘U’. Moreover, grades are not awarded based on a quota system.

Unlike SPM, which requires a passing in Bahasa Malaysia and History for students to be awarded a certificate, candidates of IGCSE will be awarded a certificate stating the subjects and corresponding grades obtained.

New IGCSE Grading Structure

Cambridge IGCSE Grading Structure

3. Duration

With IGCSE, fast-learning students are allowed to sit for the examination earlier and finish high school as early as 16 years old.

With SPM, all students must follow the syllabus set for each year and proceed from form 1 to form 5 accordingly. Students sit for SPM when they complete 11 years of education.



4. Recognition

Both IGCSE and SPM are examinations of equivalent level. Both are widely recognized, although Cambridge IGCSE is best known as the world’s most popular international qualification for secondary education.

Both qualifications can get you into good colleges, pre-university programmes, diploma programmes etc, depending on your grades. However, if your plan is to enter a public university or join a Matrikulasi, SPM is the way to go.

On the other hand, if your goal is to enter a local private university/college, or even overseas, IGCSE is your best choice.


4 Asian students discussingTakeaway

Today, more and more students have opted to sit for IGCSE. In 2018, the country has recorded over 8,000 IGCSE examination candidates.

Should you/your children go for IGCSE or SPM? To find out the education pathway that best suits your children, it is crucial to refer to various resources, speak to parents, teachers and students with experience.

If you have more doubts, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with us at https://www.maplewood.com.my/contact-us/

Mother homeschooling kids

Homeschooling Vs. Public Schooling in Malaysia

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Are you contemplating which schooling system is better for your child, between homeschooling (or private school) and public schooling?

This blog post will open your eyes to see which system is the best for your kids.

So, what are the differences between Homeschooling and Public schooling in Malaysia?


1. The Learning Institution


In Malaysia, we have so many homeschooling centres across the country. These centres could be in a big house, such as a bungalow or a separate building, built for the sole purpose of educating children.

Homeschools in Malaysia cater for about 40 – 100 students or less, making it convenient for each student to get more personal attention.

In this homeschooling system, every student learns at their own pace, since everybody doesn’t have the same mental capacity of understanding. These centres often follow both national and international curricula such as the IGCSE and Cambridge primary education.

Homeschools encourage physical education for the students. PE classes are usually held at a nearby park or football field.

Malaysian public school student

Public School

Public schools in Malaysia are usually in classrooms and are usually attended by 30 – 45 students per class.

In the public schools, due to the number of students in a class, students get less attention, unlike the private home school centres, where special attention is given to any child who doesn’t understand what is being taught in class.

The curriculum is predetermined by the government and must be strictly followed by the teachers and taught to every student, not minding if the student is weak in those subjects.

Because the classrooms are usually congested, the environment can be hot, thereby preventing proper circulation of air, which is unhealthy for a child.

Although PE activities are encouraged, the activities are generalized. It doesn’t matter if a child is not interested in a particular sporting activity, he must participate in that activity.


2. Enrollment Age and Years Spent in School


The number of years students spend in primary and secondary schools in Malaysia is between 9 and 11 years, depending on the situation.

Children who have attained the age of 6 years old can start their homeschooling journey.

What this means is that their education journey begins at a very early age and it finishes early too; finishing faster than their peers.

At age 16, a child who was homeschooled is already set to enter into any tertiary institution of his or her choice.

Public School

In public schools, children begin their formal education journey at the age of 7, which means they finish high school at the age of 17, assuming they passed all their subjects.

For instance, in a case where a student fails the compulsory Bahasa Malaysia (Malay Language) in their final exams, they will be required to stay back for an extra year in high school.

During this extra year, they will be in a special class where they will be taught to improve in the national language. This can be a huge delay in the student’s educational advancement.


3. Medium Of Instruction

Children being homeschooled


In private homeschools, the English language is the medium of instruction; though students are also encouraged to speak the national language (Bahasa Malaysia).

It is good for students to speak the national language, but English is a widely used language and homeschools in Malaysia use the English language as a medium of instruction, and the subject itself is taught in homeschools, making the students proficient in English Language.

With this, a student can confidently interact with people in English speaking countries, especially, if he or she chooses to further their education abroad.

Public Schools

The Malay language is the medium of instruction in most public schools. It is good for the students to interact in Bahasa Malaysia; but students need to be able to speak the worldwide language (English language).

Unfortunately, not all public schools have the capacity to ensure that students leave school being fluent in English.

This might be due to the fact that some teachers don’t interact with students with the language, or the subject is not taught or taken seriously.


4. Student-Teacher Ratio


In homeschools, the number of students per class is usually small, making it easy for teachers to attend to the learning needs of each individual student.

In private homeschools, more attention and support is given to the students on a one-on-one basis. Some private schools even have assistant teachers helping out the headteacher.

Students are free to ask as many questions as they can until they understand a topic or subject. This is an advantage because, in public schools, teachers might not have enough time to explain one thing to a particular student.

Malaysian Public school classroom

Public Schools

The student-teacher ratio in public schools are usually high; making the class congested. This makes the attention span of the students low, because the students are easily distracted.


In a Nutshell

It’s no denying that all parents want the best for their children especially when it comes to education. One of the reasons homeschooling is becoming more and more popular in Malaysia is because of the belief that not all students are the same.

In fact, students learn in different pace and have different attention span. Due to low student-teacher ratio, students studying in homeschools in Malaysia will get more personal attention and the privilege to study at their own pace.

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