Students from diverse backgrounds will embark on an empowering educational journey, aligned with Soka education’s vision of nurturing humanistic global citizens.
Soka International School Malaysia (SISM) has proudly launched its inaugural academic year in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, ushering in a fresh era of education grounded in humanistic values. Malaysia now hosts the world’s first secondary international school under the renowned Soka education system.
SISM warmly welcomed its pioneering batch of 112 students, aged 11 to 15, who will be part of an international student community that showcases the school’s commitment to creating an inclusive learning environment aimed at nurturing conscientious global citizens. For the 2023/24 academic year, SISM is offering the Cambridge curriculum for Years 7 to 9. The sprawling 10-acre campus, nestled within a picturesque 50-acre green expanse, also boasts boarding facilities.
The entrance ceremony, held at its campus, was graced by distinguished guests including academician Emeritus Professor Tan Sri Dato’ Dr Syed Jalaludin Syed Salim, Pro Chancellor at the Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM); Emeritus Professor Tan Sri Dato’ Dzulkifli Bin Abdul Razak, Rector of the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM); and Professor Dr Mok Soon Chong, Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer of the New Era University College.
The grand event also saw the presence of 800 attendees, encompassing SISM’s board of directors, parents, students, and international visitors. Additionally, representatives from the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), New Era University College, University of Malaya, Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE) and International Baccalaureate Programme Development and Recognition were among those celebrating this significant milestone.
A JOYFUL & NATURE-INSPIRED PHILOSOPHY
At SISM, education revolves around the Soka (Japanese for “value-creating”) philosophy, which celebrates every child’s boundless potential. This belief champions the idea that children can lead lives of contribution, establishing a harmonious balance between personal growth and societal well-being. The end goal is to foster global citizens endowed with wisdom, courage, and compassion.
SISM’s educational approach is anchored on the principles established by Daisaku Ikeda, the founder of the Soka school system. His vision of a humanistic, student-centred education serves as the cornerstone, aiming to shape a society that is peaceful and celebrates the sanctity of life.
Quoting Ikeda, “Education that builds human character is the bridge that connects us to the future and is the very hope of humankind. It is a cradle for global citizens to deepen their bonds of friendship. This new school building surrounded by a rich natural environment where palm leaves glitter in the tropical sunshine, is where students of diverse races and nationalities gather from Malaysia and around the world to study together, encourage one another and bring their creativity to full bloom.”
At SISM, the educational goal centres on empowering and supporting its students. The emphasis is on nurturing present-day happiness, enabling students to discover the joy and purpose in their learning. This paves the way for them to lead value-creating lives while fostering a heightened social consciousness. As a pivotal component of this humanistic, student-centred approach, SISM will integrate Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) into its curriculum.
Students will thrive under the school’s blended learning model, which is multifaceted in its approach:
- Inquiry-Based Learning: Encouraging students to pose pivotal questions, thereby cultivating essential skills.
- Interdisciplinary Learning: Bridging various subjects to provide a holistic educational experience.
- Purpose-Based Learning (PBL): This involves students undertaking projects that address real-world issues, enhancing their critical thinking, communication, and analytical prowess.
- Dialogic Learning: Fostering meaningful dialogues that stimulate critical reflections.
- Mastery-Based Learning: This student-centric method allows individuals and groups to learn at their own pace, tapping into their unique potentials.
SISM’s Chief Executive Officer, Michael Kok Fook On P.K.C., elaborated on the school’s vision further, “The students now studying at SISM are at a significant transition between childhood and adulthood. It is at this stage that they are searching for and developing their self-identity, seeking autonomy, and wanting to have more meaningful connections with their peers. Hence, it is important for educators to support students in this crucial stage of their development, to help develop their sense of purpose for being who they are.”
Addressing how SISM will prepare its students to meet the challenges of globalisation, Principal Dr Wendy Yee Mei Tien remarked, “Our education philosophy represents a transformative paradigm that will foster our students with a greater sense of social consciousness to become engaged global citizens with rich humanity. They will open their minds to possibilities and life with meaning and purpose, creating values in whatever they do in the future as a global citizen under any circumstances. This aligns with the spirit of Soka education, where students not only seek meaning in their own lives but also contribute positively to the well-being of others.