One of Britain's best co-educational boarding schools has opened its first overseas campus in EduCity@Iskandar with Marlborough College Malaysia.
Marlborough believes education should have an international dimension in order to prepare young students for meaningful participation in a global community, particularly before entering university. With this conviction, Marlborough expands into Asia.
"We chose to come to Southeast Asia because we believe this will be the financial powerhouse of the 21st century," says master Robert Pick.
"We specifically chose Malaysia because we were looking for a large land area and a partner that is interested in education and not solely in financial profit."
Marlborough College Malaysia gives students a chance to experience the school's 168 years of British educational heritage right in Iskandar and at the original Marlborough College in Wiltshire via its campus exchange programme.
Marlborough in Malaysia and in Britain share similar curricula, as the EduCity campus is not a franchise but a genuine extension of its British parent. Both campuses also share its highly qualified faculty, with local and expatriate teachers getting campus exchange opportunities. Half the teachers at Marlborough College Malaysia have taught or studied at the Wiltshire branch.
The Iskandar campus' 36.4-hectare grounds include expansive sports and playing fields not readily found in the region. It features premium boarding houses and arts facilities that create a comfortable and conducive learning environment. It maintains a teacher-student ratio of 1:12 for the preparatory school and 1:8 for the senior school.
With Singapore just across the second causeway or a three-hour flight away, Marlborough gives locals and regional expatriates an attractive alternative to sending students to Britain. The school welcomed about 600 students when it opened its doors last month, more than its expected initial intake of 250 to 300 pupils. Marlborough plans to increase the student population to about 1,300 by 2018.
"We have been thrilled with the reception that we got from within Malaysia and the support that we had from the Malaysian authorities has been fantastic," Pick says.
"We look forward to being a beacon of educational excellence in Southeast Asia."