Malaysia has 71,589 students enrolled in private schools as of March 2017, making us the highest country in the South East Asian region to fork out thousands of dollars for non-tertiary education. Is it worth it? What if it is a school that teaches children to approach things from the mindset of an entrepreneur and start their own businesses while in school?

Dwi Emas International School is the 1st Entrepreneurial School in Malaysia. It has also been touted to be the school that has successfully integrated Finnish education principles into the Asian context.

Here's what makes Dwi Emas International School in Shah Alam one of the best international schools in Malaysia.

The 1st Entrepreneurial School in Malaysia

Located in Section 14 Shah Alam, the campus is brand spanking new, with a salt-water (instead of corrosive chlorine) indoor swimming pool. There are also futsal, netball, and dodgeball courts. The school’s large compound is more than capable to host its primary, secondary and A Level students. What's amazing is that the annual fees for students is 60% lower than other big and popular international schools. The bigger question is: what does it mean to be an Entrepreneurial School in Malaysia? 

Financial Education

Financial Education is the backbone of the school's Entrepreneurial Programme. From Year 1, students are taught the entrepreneurial mindset, that is skills and characteristics exhibited by successful entrepreneurs. This includes things like spotting and acting on opportunities, resourcefulness, and creating win-win scenarios. This happens from Primary all the way to A Level, which gives them an edge over other kids their age. Whether or not they ultimately start their own enterprises or work for an employer, the school teaches them how to create value for society via good business practices from a young age. It is certainly a refresher from the norm!

East Meets West: The Finnish Connection

So, how does Finland come into all this? Finland is highly regarded as having the best education system in the world, and one of the reasons why Dwi Emas International School has drawn the interest of organisations and parents abroad, particularly Hong Kong, is that parties have noticed that the school has managed to harmoniously marry Asian values with principles of the Finnish education system. Though the school did not consciously adopt the Finnish style of teaching, its own 30-year-old ACE EdVenture (the school’s holding Group) approach to education bears many similarities. This unique offering is the reason why Hong Kong parents in Aug 2017 brought 7 of their children to Shah Alam to experience the school first-hand for 2 weeks. The parents have since nicknamed the school “the Happy School”. In fact, Hong Kong newspaper HK01 has just published one parent’s write-up on the experience.

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A Fun & Encouraging Learning Environment

One standout of the school is that subjects are made fun, which is in line with Finland’s emphasis on the importance of play. For instance, students head to the water theme park for Additional Mathematics lessons, and they do hip-hop dance for Physics. This injection of creative activities for highly academic subjects allows students to engage with the topics and see them come to life. At the same time, students are well prepared for examinations, and it shows in the school’s IGCSE & A Level results. Throughout the year, students are also assessed via coursework and presentations, which builds students’ public-speaking, collaborative and creative skills.

Proven Track Record

Image: Secondary students of Dwi Emas International School pitch their business ideas at the end of a half-day Business Challenge organised by MaGIC.

Despite the fact that the school has only been in operation for two years, Dwi Emas International School is already walking the talk. Shailaja, an 8 year old in Year 3 (the equivalent of Standard 3), runs her own tea company that she started when she was 7. She supplies tea to a cafe in Bali and her products are available online. Another Year 10 (the equivalent of Form 4) student, Myra, built and manages a clothing line which uses part of its profits to help children going through cancer. The conscientiousness of the students is amazing to see and, frankly, humbling to those of us at least twice their age.

International Education Standards

Image: Students of Dwi Emas International School at the Asian Battleground Auditions at Paradigm Mall.

One of the concerns that many people have with an entrepreneurial-focused curriculum was the sacrifices to the arts and sciences. Dwi Emas International School thankfully also places great importance on the sciences and arts. Students choose electives in either Art & Design, Drama, Dance (hip hop is very popular at the school), sports and a few other options to round up their studies. The school uses IPC at Primary, and offers Cambridge IGCSE and Cambridge A Level at the secondary and pre-university levels. All this is delivered in the ACE EdVenture (the school’s parent company) signature style of education, which is gaining the international attention. The school is listed under Cambridge Strategies' 2017 publication, Innovation 800, as a Best Practice Pioneer in Education. If that’s not a pretty great international endorsement, we don’t know what is!

All in all, Dwi Emas International School is an impressive school that is bound to redefine and set new standards in Malaysian and global education. Find out more about Dwi Emas International School here: Also, do check out our special feature on its sister-school, Sri Emas International School.