As a mom, one of the most difficult things to find out over the phone in Malaysia are the prices for certain kindergartens, preschools, playschools and daycares.  Most of the nice people on the other end of the line will ask you to come in and have a sit-down meeting, face-to-face and Little Human Scholars is no exception.  Often the reason being is that hearing the price over the phone and seeing the facilities firsthand are two totally different things.

For many parents, while they do want to give their child the best education possible, often price is an issue.  After all, we do have other bills to pay!  When I was looking for schools for my daughter, price was one of the main issues at the time.  I ended up settling for one of the cheaper schools that I had heard good things about.  But as my daughter started school, I came to realise that it wasn’t really in alignment with what I wanted for my child.  That doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a great school; it just meant that it wasn’t what we particularly wanted.

So in an effort to support all parents in Petaling Jaya or Kuala Lumpur, I have compiled a small what-you-need-to-know article about the differences between government schools, private schools and international schools in terms of curriculum, what you can expect and their respective pricing.

A Generalisation of the Pricing of Schools in Petaling Jaya

Government Schools:  Government schools are free, with a small nominal fee usually for materials.  Of course, you will have to purchase your child’s own uniform and some school supplies.  Some government schools require a small registration fee as well.  Some of the government schools in Petaling Jaya are same sex only, but there are a few that are mixed gender.

Additionally, government schools usually start taking children at the primary one level, or about age 7 years old.  So if you are looking for a government playschool or preschool for your toddler or preschooler, you may not be able to find it under this genre.

Age: 7 and up

Price: Low


Private Schools:  Private schools are required to use the National Curriculum for primary and secondary education.  Private schools offer more than the subjects found at government schools and also include extra-curricular activities, additional facilities for learning, added sports/physical courses, and additional courses in art.

Some private schools provide programmes for children and babies (such as a nursery programme) and other private schools start children at the primary one stage.  While private schools do follow the Malaysian National Curriculum, their emphasis is usually on English.

Age:  Nursery Level and up (nursery level being a few months old)

Price:  Moderate (RM9,000 to RM28,000 per year)

For a list of the prices for private schools, please click here.


International Schools:  International Schools in Malaysia utilise a more international curriculum mainly using English as the medium.  Most international schools offer a curriculum for children from preschool all the way up to O’ and A’ levels.  Additionally, their curriculum and extra-curricular activities are extremely diverse, they offer superior amenities, smaller classes for a better teacher-to-student ratio and often alternate education designed to prepare students for the ‘real world.’

International schools tend to be more holistic in their approach to education; the schools also recognises and applauds diversity and individuality in each student while supporting each child to reach and fulfill their potential.

Age:  Age 5 and up (kindergarten to year 12 and 13)

Price:  Moderate to High (RM10,000 to RM100,000 per year)

For a list of the prices for International Schools, please click here.


In summary, if pricing isn’t an issue, and you would like to offer more for your child, then International school may be the thing for you.  However, there are people who, though price isn’t an issue, decide to still send their children to a government sekolah due to their values and beliefs.

If pricing is a bit of an issue for you, but you are not comfortable with the government schools available, then possibly the best value for money is a private school, though there are some International schools in the same price range as a private school.

Wishing you an effortless journey in finding the perfect school for your child!

Jana Moreno