By Mei Kuan
Seri Botani International School (SBIS), an educational arm established in 2019 under the prestigious TAIKO Group of Companies, is committed to maintaining a high standard of international education to meet the needs of both the local and expatriate communities in Malaysia.
Located in Bandar Seri Botani of Ipoh, the 10-acre campus began operations in January 2020 with its first batch of students. With a maximum capacity of 1,000 students, its current enrollment is at 231.
Running on the vision, “A Holistic Education for Life”, SBIS offers internationally-recognised UK Cambridge International Programmes catering to early years, primary and secondary levels.
Yau Sook Fun, the Principal of SBIS shared with Ipoh Echo some of the aspects that set the school apart from the rest in Ipoh.
“We have a low student-teacher ratio with most classes having between 12 and 20 students. Experienced teachers are employed with 32% having a Masters degree and another 20% having embarked on one. All our teachers undergo the Cambridge course for the subject(s) they teach. More than half of our teachers have also completed the Google Certified Teacher training. Plus, all our teachers are adept at conducting online lessons with their repertoire of online apps,” she explained.
“To cater to local needs, our Mandarin department is among the strongest in town with our Advanced level on par with UEC standards. Headed by Dr Wong Wah Yin, our Mandarin department also offers the HSK (Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi) syllabus,” she continued.
Equally unique is the teaching of life skills in special workrooms such as the Woodwork Room, the Sewing Room and the Cookery Room: “Our teaching methodology focuses on engaging students and providing them with ample opportunities to hone their speaking and presentation skills.”
According to her, character-building is of utmost importance as the school is committed to nurturing noble values such as perseverance and respect among students.
There are state-of-the-art facilities galore. For instance, a 25-meter swimming pool, tennis courts, covered basketball court, ample green field, sick bay, library, book shop, cafeteria, early years playroom, and air-conditioned classrooms among others.
“With most of our facilities in place, we are now working on a second ICT lab, a second Art Room and a fourth science lab for Biology. We are also expanding the library to accommodate more students. A self-access corner with laptops will allow students to do research after school. We look forward to building a multi-purpose hall in 2023,” she expressed.
Yau highlighted that SBIS is the only international school in Ipoh to have a purpose-built Boarding House on campus that offers full boarding facilities: “At the moment, we have eight boarders from Cameron Highlands.”
The CCTV-monitored, separate male and female blocks feature fully-furnished bedrooms, a gym room, laundry room, guest corner with weekend programmes, WiFi connectivity, 24-hour gated and guarded security and more.
Adapting to the new norms, additional safety measures are in place to protect the safety of staff and students on top of the Standard Operating Procedures.
“We have 99% vaccinated staff. Staff who return to school for duty have to carry out a Covid self-test every 2 weeks. We also advocate wearing double masks and a face shield if needed. There are strict gatekeeping procedures with thermal scanners and two sets of QR codes, one for staff and another for visitors,” she pointed out.
“As directed by the Ministry of Education, we are implementing remote learning. Any student who does not turn up for an online class is contacted and the parents informed. Some receive counselling from our qualified School Counselor. Additional after-school sessions are held for those falling behind. Perak, being in Phase 2, is allowed to bring back EY (Early Years) and Year 11 for face-to- face lessons on October 4,” the amiable principal added.
Although the new academic year starts in September, the school has been accepting new students throughout the year: “Another surge is expected in January from government schools which end their school year in December. This group of students who join us one term late will be given additional English, Science and Maths lessons to help them catch up.”
To learn more, check out Seri Botani International School’s website (https://www.sbis.edu.my/). One can also reach the school at 05 2262020 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. SBIS is located at 2 Dataran Botani 1A, Bandar Seri Botani, 31350 Ipoh.