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Establishment of an International School

Establishment of an International School

Establishing an international school in Malaysia involves a comprehensive process that encompasses various aspects, from conceptualizing the school's vision and mission to ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the process effectively:

1. Conceptualize and Plan:

a. Define the School's Vision and Mission: Clearly articulate the school's core values, educational philosophy, and aspirations for its students.

b. Identify Target Audience: Determine the specific student population the school aims to serve, considering factors such as age, nationality, and language proficiency.

c. Develop a Curriculum Framework: Choose a well-recognized international curriculum, such as the Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) or the International Baccalaureate (IB), to provide a structured and globally recognized education.

2. Legal and Regulatory Compliance:

a. Register with the Ministry of Education (MOE): Obtain the necessary licenses and permits from the MOE to operate as a private school in Malaysia.

b. Comply with Local Regulations: Adhere to all applicable laws and regulations governing education, including safety standards, fire regulations, and employment practices.

c. Secure Visas for Expat Teachers: If employing expatriate teachers, ensure they obtain the necessary work visas and fulfill all immigration requirements.

3. Establish Infrastructure and Facilities:

a. Secure a Suitable Location: Identify a strategically located site that can accommodate the school's facilities and provides a safe and conducive learning environment.

b. Design and Construct School Premises: Engage qualified architects and engineers to design and construct school buildings that meet educational standards and safety regulations.

c. Equip with Modern Facilities: Provide well-equipped classrooms, science labs, computer labs, libraries, sports facilities, and other essential amenities to support the chosen curriculum.

4. Recruit Qualified Faculty and Staff:

a. Hire Experienced Teachers: Recruit qualified and experienced teachers who hold relevant degrees and certifications in their respective subjects.

b. Secure Administrative Support: Employ qualified administrative staff to manage school operations, finances, and student records effectively.

c. Promote a Collaborative Culture: Foster a positive and supportive work environment that encourages collaboration among teachers and staff.

5. Marketing and Admissions:

a. Develop a Marketing Strategy: Create a comprehensive marketing plan to reach the target audience and promote the school's unique offerings.

b. Establish Admissions Criteria: Set clear and transparent admissions criteria that align with the school's academic standards and student profile.

c. Conduct Admissions Process: Organize open houses, orientation sessions, and placement tests to evaluate prospective students and ensure a suitable fit.

6. Ongoing Management and Evaluation:

a. Establish Effective Governance: Form a strong school board with expertise in education, finance, and management to oversee the school's operations.

b. Implement Continuous Improvement: Regularly evaluate and refine the school's curriculum, teaching methods, and administrative processes to maintain high standards.

c. Foster Community Engagement: Build strong relationships with parents, alumni, and the local community to create a supportive and collaborative school environment.

By following these steps and adhering to the safety guidelines, you can establish a successful international school in Malaysia that provides a high-quality education to its students and contributes positively to the local community.

Ministry of Education Private Education Guidelines

International School

An educational institution that adopts a recognized international curriculum, with English as the primary language of instruction. These schools cater to a diverse student body, typically comprising both local and international students, fostering an enriching multicultural learning environment.

Registration of Institution

Section 79 of the Education Act 1996 (Act 550) provides that every educational institution must be registered.

Each institution must first be registered by the Registrar of Educational Institutions and Teachers of the respective State Education Department before it can operate the institution or carry out promotional or advertising activities.

The establishment can only be registered after obtaining a Certificate of Fitness or a Certificate of Complete Compliance (CF/CCC) or an Approval to Occupy the Building (OP). In addition to this, the institution must have the support of the following three (3) agencies, namely the Local Authority/Council, the Fire and Rescue Department and the Health Department for the completed premise or building.

Subsection 84(d) of the Education Act 1996 (Act 550) provides that:

The Registrar General may refuse to register an educational institution if he is of the opinion that adequate educational facilities already exist in the area where the new institution is proposed to be established.

1. Ownership/Company

A company incorporated locally in Malaysia. Registered with Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM)

[Please attach CCM Form 24 and Form 49]

2. Capital/Equity

The minimum paid-up capital is RM1 million.

[Please attach a copy of Form 24 issued by CCM]

(Under the liberalization of independent trade in the field of educational services, the proportion of foreign equity can reach up to 100%)

In terms of membership, at least one (1) member of the company’s board of directors shall consist of Malaysians.

3. Location, Land, Premise and Facilities

Own or lease.

Land size shall be at least five (5) acres.

The use of location/land/premises is subject to approval by the relevant local authorities.

Temporary operations are not allowed in temporary premises such as shops, residences or bungalows.

The surrounding area should be conducive to educational activities.

Special rooms such as science laboratories, music rooms, art rooms, Muslim prayer rooms or prayer rooms should be established.

There should be courts and grounds for recreational activities and games.

The capacity of the building or school shall be suitable to accommodate at least 1,000 students.

[Attach location map and floor plan of proposed building]


Strategic and compelling locations are those with many expats or located in new economic development corridors.

4. Curriculum

Adopt foreign courses with English as the medium of instruction; and obtain the approval of the Registrar General or comply with the conditions prescribed therein.

Example: Adopt the British, American, Australian or Canadian curriculum. [If you use the British IGCSE course, you need to obtain a letter of support from the Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) representative in Malaysia. ]


I. Priority will be given to establishing branches of overseas brand international schools.

2. The school must obtain accreditation from an internationally recognized agency within three (3) years from the date of operation.

5. Members of the Board of Governors (BOG)

Should consist of at least five (5) persons. (This includes the Chairman, who also needs to be registered)

The principal is automatically selected as secretary.

Those who represent Aboriginal Aboriginal interests must be part of the BOG membership.

6. Intake of International Students

Prior approval from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA) and support and endorsement from the Ministry of Education (MOE) are required.

7. Intake of Local / Malaysian Students

Entry into international schools for Malaysian students is currently open without any restrictions.

However, international schools are required to implement the teaching of the following subjects for Malaysian students:

I. Bahasa Melayu

2.Islamic education/moral education

3. Malaysian History

8. Head Teacher / Principal

Must hold professional qualifications and have experience in education administration.

Either Malaysian or non-citizen teachers with relevant experience in the field of education can be appointed as head teachers/principals.

A "Teaching License" must be obtained.

The principal must be present at the school at all times to manage the administrative affairs of the school. A designated principal may not serve as principal of more than one school at the same time.

9. Foreign Teaching Personnel

A letter of support from the Ministry of Education is required to obtain an Employment Pass from the Malaysian Immigration Department (MID).

Must hold academic and professional qualifications and have a service contract with the relevant school.

A "Teaching License" must be obtained.

10. Teachers

Local teachers with relevant academic and professional qualifications in education are encouraged.

A "teaching license" is required.

11. Ratio of Class : Student

1:25 (a classroom can accommodate up to 25 students)

12. School Fees

The fees charged should be relevant and reasonable to the location and educational facilities provided by the school.

Schools cannot collect development or construction funds as part of their fees.

Any increase in fees shall be subject to the prior approval of the Registrar General; provided that it may only be sought after three (3) years from the last approval and only an increase not exceeding 30% will be allowed.

13. Instrument of Governance

Each institution shall have a governing instrument agreed and approved by the Registrar General.

14. Market Research/ Study

Market research is required before establishing a school to determine market feasibility, particularly the following aspects:

I. The number of foreign children who require international education in that particular field;

2. Children of local people in the area need international education;

3. Current student enrollment in schools serving the area;

4. Comparison of proposed fees with other international schools in the area or nearby.

Application Form

Please apply using Form BPS 1.


Only applications that are completed and deemed viable will be required to make a presentation regarding school establishment to the Ministry of Education’s Private Education Institutions Establishment Committee (PEI).

Letter of Approval for Establishment

The letter of approval to establish a school is valid for two (2) years only.

Any changes in ownership or venue/location during this period are strictly prohibited.

How Bestar can Help

Bestar can assist in establishing an international school in Malaysia by providing comprehensive accounting and financial services tailored to the specific needs of educational institutions. Here's how they can make your school's financial journey smoother and more efficient:

  1. Establishing a legal entity for your school in Malaysia

  2. Obtaining the necessary licenses and permits from the Malaysian Ministry of Education

  3. Financial Management and Reporting: Bestar can help establish and maintain a robust financial management system for your school, ensuring accurate record-keeping, budgeting, and financial reporting. We can assist in preparing financial statements, such as balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements, providing valuable insights into the school's financial health.

  4. Tax Compliance and Planning: Navigating the complexities of Malaysian tax laws can be challenging for educational institutions. Bestar's experienced tax consultants can guide your school through tax registration, tax return filing, and tax planning strategies to ensure compliance and optimize tax liabilities.

  5. Payroll Management: Bestar can streamline your school's payroll processes, handling salary calculations, deductions, and tax withholdings for both local and international employees. We can also assist with payroll compliance, ensuring adherence to Malaysian labor laws and regulations.

  6. Grant and Funding Management: Educational institutions often rely on grants, donations, and other forms of funding. Bestar can help manage these funds effectively, ensuring proper allocation, tracking, and reporting to maintain transparency and accountability.

  7. Financial Audits and Reviews: Bestar can conduct regular financial audits or reviews to provide an independent assessment of your school's financial health and identify any potential risks or areas for improvement.

  8. Financial Planning and Forecasting: Bestar can assist in developing financial plans and forecasts to support your school's long-term strategic goals. They can help project future revenue, expenses, and cash flow, enabling informed decision-making and financial sustainability.

  9. Accounting Software Implementation: Bestar can recommend and implement suitable accounting software tailored to the specific needs of educational institutions. We can provide training and support to ensure your staff can effectively manage the software and maintain accurate financial records.

By partnering with Bestar, you can entrust your school's financial matters to experienced professionals who understand the unique challenges and requirements of international schools in Malaysia. We can help you navigate the complexities of financial management, tax compliance, and funding while ensuring transparency, accountability, and long-term financial stability for your institution.

Contact Bestar today!

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