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The Not-for-Profit Difference!

by | Mar 13, 2023

With the rapid growth in the number of for-profit international schools in Malaysia, Julia Love, Admissions Director, at the International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL) reminds parents to check whether the school they are considering is ‘not-for-profit’ or ‘for profit’.

 

Not-for-profit – these three simple words can make a huge difference to the educational experience for both students and families.

Julia Love, who leads the admissions team at the International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL), says, “Many families don’t fully appreciate the benefits of a not-for-profit school until their child is enrolled. Selecting a school is a major investment, so parents must fully understand the difference between the two models.

For-profit schools are generally owned by an individual or a private company that may also own and operate a chain of different school brands under their corporate umbrella. They are generally in the business of education to make a profit for the owner or shareholder.

Not-for-profit schools typically exist purely for the benefit of the students and to fulfil the school’s mission. This is certainly the case at ISKL, which, since it was first established as a not-for-profit school in 1965, is governed by a parent-elected Board of Directors and reinvests all revenue from tuition fees back into its students and school.

ISKL’s not-for-profit status means there are no competing agendas about where funds are directed –  quite simply, revenue is used to recruit and retain the best international educators and create the best possible learning environment for our students.”

Ms. Tracy Caton, ISKL’s PTA President agrees: “When we joined ISKL we didn’t anticipate the impact that being at a not-for-profit school would have on the experience – not just for our kids but also our family. Our children previously attended for-profit schools and we noticed the difference– from the opportunities for parental involvement to transparency around how the school is governed.”

The governance of a not-for-profit school is also different from a privately owned school. ISKL is governed by a Board of Directors comprising up to 14 parent representatives. According to ISKL’s Board Chair and parent, Mr. Toshi Saito, this delivers an enormous benefit to the school and its community.

“All ISKL board members are volunteers and become board members because they wanted to work for the benefit of ISKL. However, this is where our similarities end – we are unabashedly diverse, with different cultures, nationalities, personalities, and areas of expertise represented,” said Toshi.

Julia concludes: “Prospective parents ask us, is one model better than the other? Our advice is to consider both options in the context of a whole range of criteria including the schools’ vision and mission, curriculum options, learning support, co-curricular activities, school and class sizes, facilities, transport, and parental involvement.

“At ISKL, we passionately believe those three words – not-for-profit – make a world of difference to our students. We encourage families to consider the merits of both options to find the best fit school for their child and the right fit community for their family.”

“All ISKL board members are volunteers and become board members because they wanted to work for the benefit of ISKL. However, this is where our similarities end – we are unabashedly diverse, with different cultures, nationalities, personalities, and areas of expertise represented.”

ISKL’s Board Chair and parent, Mr. Toshi Saito

About ISKL ISKL offers a range of high-quality, transdisciplinary pathways that enable every learner to choose the curriculum best suited to their abilities, interests, and aspirations. In 2020-2021 two new innovative High School options, PRAXIS 2030 (Grade 9) and the Pursuits Program (Grade 11 and 12), were added to the curriculum. Both focus on enhancing student agency and self-directed learning.

In Grade 11, students can choose to undertake the full two-year International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP), or combine individual IB, Advanced Placement (AP), and High School Diploma courses via the ISKL Pursuits Program to create a customized program that meets the specific individual needs of each student.

As the longest-running World IB School in Malaysia, ISKL has seen more than 1,700 students graduate with an IB Diploma over the past 30 years, representing a 97% pass rate. This flexibility creates further education opportunities, with ISKL students receiving acceptances from leading universities worldwide. 

ISKL is accredited internationally through the Council of International Schools (CIS) and in the United States through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). ISKL has a strong focus on service and sustainability across its divisions and is a member of the Eco-Schools organization and the Green Schools Alliance.