Education in Malaysia is under the control of Ministry of Education. As education in most of the countries is the responsibility of the Federal Government, Malaysian education system has separate education department in each state and territory to coordinate educational matters in its territory.
The main legislation enacted for the provision of education and for connected matters is Education Act 1996.
The education system is divided into preschool (kindergarten), Primary Education (elementary education), secondary education, post-secondary education and tertiary education.Anyone may obtain education from the multilingual public school system(free education all Malaysians is provided here), or private schools or homeschooling.As per education laws enacted in Malaysia, primary education is compulsory. Standardized tests are common as it is done in many of the Asia-Pacific countries like Singapore, Republic of Korea and Japan.At present in Malaysia,37 private universities,20 private university colleges,9 foreign university branch campuses and 414 private colleges are there.Preschool education:
Though no fixed rule in case of starting a preschool education for a child is provided, the majority would start when the child gets 3 years of age.Preschool education generally lasts for 2 years before a child goes to primary school.
Primary education in Malaysia:
Primary education starts at age seven and lasts for six years.Year 1 to 3 out of 6 years are considered as Level One and year 4 to 6 are treated as Level Two.Academic performance is not taken in to account for promotion to next year.
Almost 95% of Primary Education and Secondary Education in Malaysian Education system is covered by public sector schools. In spite of private schools,50% of tertiary education is covered by public sector schools. The Malaysian Government does not subsidize the Pre-School Education.
The main subjects during primary education phase in Malaysian public schools are Malay Comprehension, English Comprehension, Malay writing, English writing, Science, and Mathematics. Science, Living skills or Local studies will be given more priority in secondary education phase by reducing the classes for subjects more taught during primary education phase. Student business, entrepreneurship, and manipulative skills are taught in Living Skills subject.
The curriculum is almost same for all the national-type schools, Chinese and Tamil schools. Though curriculum is same in all the national-type schools, Chinese is taught in SJK(C) schools while Tamil is taught in SJK(T)schools along with Malay and Mathematics. English subject is not given much priority during primary education as it is introduced only after completion of primary education i.e., in secondary education.
The Primary School Achievement Test (Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah - UPSR)is the first test every student need to attend after completion of primary education phase. In Primary School Achievement Test minimum of 6 subjects, except in case of SJK(C) where Chinese comprehension or SJK(T) where Tamil comprehension as 7th subject, are tested along with 6 other subjects taught in primary education phase.
Secondary education in Malaysia:
National Secondary Schools provide public secondary education in Malaysia.The main medium of instruction in national secondary schools is Malay.English is also made a compulsory subject in all schools.On request of parents of at least fifteen students in the school, Chinese and Tamil languages need to be taught in national secondary school.Some schools may teach other foreign languages like Arabic and Japanese, apart from above said Chinese and Tamil languages.
Secondary education lasts for five years.This five years period is generally referred to as Form 1 to Form 5. Form 1 to Form 3 is considered as Lower Secondary whereas Form 4 and Form 5 are assumed as Upper Secondary.Almost all students completed primary education will get admission to Form 1 except one additional requirement to get a minimum C grade for the Malay subjects in UPSR, if failed, need to attend a year-long transition class, for the students from national-type primary schools.Students are promoted to next year regardless of academic performance as in primary schools.Co-curricular activities are must at the secondary level.All the students must take part in at least 2 activities for all states 3 activities except for Sarawak region.Various co-curricular activities are there at secondary level which may vary from school to school for judging the student based on these areas.Competitions and performances are organized on regular basis.Co-curricular activities are broadly classified under the following categories:1.Uniformed groups, Arts Performing, Clubs and societies, Games, and Sports out of which a student may participate more than 2 co-curricular activities.
Post-Secondary education in Malaysia:
After completion of secondary education, students would get a choice of either studying Form 6 or matriculation(pre-university).The students, accepted for studying in Form 6 will take the Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia or Malaysian Higher School Certificate examination.All students may apply for admission to study matriculation.The matriculation which is run by Ministry of Education is a one or two-year programme. The matriculation certificate is valid for admission to universities in Malaysia.
The University of Malaya, Centre for Foundation Studies in Science offers two programmes for Bumiputera students only.They are 1.The Science Program, which is a one-year course.2.The special preparatory program to enter the Japanese Universities.
Tertiary Education in Malaysia:
It is heavily subsidized by the Malaysian Government.The students who want to aim to enter public universities need to complete an additional 18 months secondary schooling in Form 6 and to get the Malaysian Higher School Certificate before the introduction of matriculation system.The students who completed matriculation, which is a 12-month programme, can enroll in local universities for tertiary education.
The Malaysian Qualification Framework which looks for setting up a unified system of post-secondary qualifications being offered on a national basis in higher education and vocational sectors organizes the classification of the tertiary education system in Malaysia.
No. of public universities is established in Malaysia.In addition to public universities, students have another option of enrolling in private tertiary institutions after finishing of secondary education phase.Private universities are getting a reputation for international quality education and students from various countries from all over the world attend them.Many of the private universities offer courses in cooperation with a foreign institute or university like in Australia, United Kingdom and the United States of America.For more details on Education System in Malaysia pl click here.