Nothing is beyond reach, nothing is impossible. This is the promise made to all students at Cempaka International Schools in Malaysia, where competitive rigour is balanced by a supportive learning environment that encourages each individual to pursue their ambitions and realise their full potential.

The educational group uses the innovative “Schoology” learning-management system, which provides a student-centric, collaborative approach. For Dato Freida, founder and director of Cempaka International Schools, this offers a more enriching learning experience while harnessing the latest education methods.

“We, like most educators out there, work with a myriad of different technology tools in our classrooms, such as the Google Education suite, plagiarism trackers, video-conferencing software and multiple sources of educational content,” explains Freida. “Schoology integrates seamlessly with them, helping us effectively create an organised single point of contact for our students.”

Cempaka International Schools was the among the first in South East Asia to fully adopt the Schoology system. “It was important to us to have a technology platform that reflected our pedagogical ideals,” says Freida. “In recent years, the system’s award-winning mobile version mastery-based assessment tools have definitely enhanced the learning experience.”


A varied curriculum

Life is busy and varied for Cempaka students. A typical day incorporates sports, music, academics, technology, mission-based learning, skills in entrepreneurship, learning through discovery and educational field trips. There is also the opportunity to pursue personal interests through after-school clubs and develop community values through service-based projects within the neighbourhood. “Academic excellence should sit alongside, and not in place of, a happy and enjoyable school life,” says Freida. “It should be busy, productive, and above all, meaningful.”

While the entry requirements are stringent, with candidates required to sit assessments in maths, science and English, the key attributes required of new pupils are curiosity, willingness to learn and kindness. “We hope,” says Freida, “that, through the exposure and values gained at school, they leave with a good idea of where their passions lie and the discipline and drive to take them there.”


Best of both worlds

Freida founded Cempaka Schools in 1983, opening the first campus in a rented bungalow to provide the best possible education for her sons. Since then, it has evolved into the Cempaka Group of Schools, with two campuses – one in Kuala Lumpur and one in Selangor. Today, it combines international education standards, influenced by the British and European systems, with the rich cultural diversity and values of its South East Asian location.

While the majority of pupils at the two schools are Malaysian, a mix of other nationalities from the expat community contributes to the cosmopolitan character of student life, which continues long after graduation. “We have a very diverse network of alumni,” says Freida. “They’re spread globally, working in many fields, from the traditional areas such as medicine and law, to specialisms like the performing arts and design. It’s this Old Cempakan network that they’ll continue to connect with long after they leave us.” 

Almost all Cempakans go on to tertiary education, with, on average, 90 per cent gaining admission to top-tier universities, such Russell Group institutions in the UK or Ivy League facilities in the US. “We hope our students look back at their time in Cempaka with fondness,” says Freida, “as a time that was full of possibilities.”