|Ministry of Education|
|Minister of Education||Mahdzir Khalid|
|National education budget (2018)|
|Budget||MYR61.6 billion (USD16 billion)1|
|Total||95% (all 15 yrs and above)|
|Male||95% total, 98% 15–24 yrs|
|Female||95% total, 98% 15–24 yrs|
|Total||5,407,865 with 405,716 teachers (ratio 13:1), incl. 163,746 pre-school|
|Primary||2,899,228 (survival rate to last primary grade, Grade 6 is 99%)|
|Secondary||2,344,891 (66% male & 72% female students move up to Secondary 1 from Primary 6)|
|1"Budget 2014", NST|
Education in Malaysia is overseen by the Ministry of Education (Kementerian Pendidikan). Although education is the responsibility of the Federal Government, each state and federal territory has an Education Department to co-ordinate educational matters in its territory. The main legislation governing education is the Education Act 1996.
The education system is divided into preschool education, primary education, secondary education, post-secondary education and tertiary education. Education may be obtained from the multilingualpublic school system, which provides free education for all Malaysians, or private schools, or through homeschooling. By law, primary education is compulsory. As in many Asia-Pacific countries such as the Republic of Korea, Singapore and Japan, standardised tests are a common feature. Currently, there are 43 universities, 31 private university colleges, 9 foreign university branch campuses and 414 private colleges in Malaysia.
Sekolah Pondok (literally, Hut school), Madrasah and other Islamic schools were the earliest forms of schooling available in Malaysia. Early works of Malay literature such as Hikayat Abdullah mention these schools indicating they pre-date the current secular model of education.
Secular schools in Malaysia were largely an innovation of the British colonial government. Many of the earliest schools in Malaysia were founded in the Straits Settlements of Penang, Malacca, and Singapore. The oldest English-language school in Malaya is the Penang Free School, founded in 1816, followed by Malacca High School, St. Xavier's Institution, King Edward VII School (Taiping) and Anglo Chinese School, Klang. Many English-language schools are considered quite prestigious.
British historian Richard O. Winstedt worked to improve the education of the Malays and was instrumental in establishing Sultan Idris Training College with the purpose of producing Malay teachers. Richard James Wilkinson helped established the Malay College Kuala Kangsar in 1905 which aimed to educate the Malay elite.
Initially, the British colonial government did not provide for any Malay-language secondary schools, forcing those who had studied in Malay during primary school to adjust to an English-language education. Many Malays failed to pursue additional education due to this issue. Despite complaints about this policy, the British Director of Education stated:
It would be contrary to the considered policy of government to afford to a community, the great majority of whose members find congenial livelihood and independence in agricultural pursuits, more extended facilities for the learning of English which would be likely to have the effect of inducing them to abandon those pursuits.
Malay representatives in the Federal Council as well as the Legislative Council of Singapore responded vehemently, with one calling the British policy "a policy that trains the Malay boy how not to get employment" by excluding the Malays from learning in the "bread-earning language of Malaya". He remarked:
In the fewest possible words, the Malay boy is told 'You have been trained to remain at the bottom, and there you must always remain!' Why, I ask, waste so much money to attain this end when without any vernacular school, and without any special effort, the Malay boy could himself accomplish this feat?
To remedy this problem, the British established the Malay College Kuala Kangsar. However, it was mainly intended as a way to educate low-level civil servants and not as a means to opening the doors of commerce to the Malays – the school was never intended to prepare students for entrance to higher institutions of education.
Missionaries of Christian denominations, such as the Roman Catholic Josephian order and the Lasallian Brothers, Marist Brothers, Seventh-day Adventists, Anglicans, and Methodists started a series of mission schools which provided primary and secondary education in the English language. Most of these were single-sex schools. Although nowadays they have fully assimilated into the Malay-medium national school system and most admit students regardless of gender and background (some single-sex schools remain), many of the schools still bear their original names, such as the ones with the names of saints or words such as "Catholic", "Convent", "Advent" and "Methodist".
During the British colonial period, large numbers of immigrants from China and India arrived in Malaya. The Chinese and Indian communities eventually established their vernacular schools with school curricula and teachers from China and India respectively.
In the 1950s, there were four initial proposals for developing the national education system: the Barnes Report (favoured by the Malays), Ordinance Report (modification of the Barnes Report), the Fenn-Wu Report (favoured by the Chinese and Indians), and the Razak Report (a compromise between the two reports). The Barnes proposal was implemented through the 1952 Education Ordinance amidst Chinese protests. In 1956, the Razak Report was adopted by the Malayan government as the education framework for independent Malaya. The Razak Report called for a national school system consisting of Malay-, English-, Chinese- and Tamil-medium schools at the primary level, and Malay- and English-medium schools at the secondary schools, with a uniform national curriculum regardless of the medium of instruction. Malay-medium schools would be known as "national", while other languages schools would be known as "national-type".
In the early years of independence, existing Chinese, Tamil and mission schools accepted government funding and were allowed to retain their medium of instructions on the condition that they adopt the national curriculum. Chinese secondary schools were given the options of accepting government funding and change into English national-type schools or remain Chinese and private without government funding. Most of the schools accepted the change, although a few rejected the offer and came to be known as Chinese Independent High Schools. Shortly after the change, some of the national-type schools reestablished their Chinese independent high school branches.
In the 1970s, in accordance to the national language policy, the government began to change English-medium primary and secondary national-type schools into Malay-medium national schools. The language change was made gradually starting from the first year in primary school, then the second year in the following year and so on. The change was completed by the end of 1982.
In 1996, the Education Act of 1996 was passed to amend the Education Ordinance of 1956 and the Education Act of 1961.
In 2004, the Ministry of Education was split into two; the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Higher Education. The latter handles matters regarding tertiary education. After a brief merging of the two departments, they again split in 2015. They are still split as of 2018.
The school year is divided into two semesters. The first begins in early January and ends in late May; the second begins in early June and ends in November. Ages may vary. After Pentaksiran Tingkatan Tiga (PT3) is introduced, student who failed their PT3 examination may proceed to form 4. This is contrary to the previous system, where those who fail the Lower Secondary Examination (PMR) must retake the examination before proceeding to form 4.
There is no fixed rules on when a child needs to start preschool education but majority would start when the child turns 3 years old. Schooling can begin earlier, from 3–6, in kindergarten. Preschool education usually lasts for 2 years, before they proceed to primary school at age 7. There is no formal preschool curriculum except a formal mandatory training and certification for principals and teachers before they may operate a preschool. The training covers lessons on child psychology, teaching methodologies, and other related curricula on childcare and development. Preschool education is not compulsory.
Preschool education is mainly provided by private for-profit preschools, though some are run by the government or religious groups. Some primary schools have attached preschool sections. Attendance in a preschool programme is not universal; while people living in urban areas are generally able to send their children to private kindergartens, few do in rural areas. Registered preschools are subjected to zoning regulations and must comply to other regulations such as health screening, fire hazard assessment and educational guidelines. Many preschools are located in high density residential areas, where normal residential units compliant to regulations are converted into the schools.
Primary education in Malaysia begins at age seven and lasts for six years, referred to as Year (Tahun) 1 to 6 (also known as Standard (Darjah) 1 to 6). Year 1 to Year 3 are classified as Level One (Tahap Satu) while Year 4 to Year 6 are considered as Level Two (Tahap Dua). Students are promoted to the next year regardless of their academic performance.
From 1996 until 2007, the Penilaian Tahap Satu (PTS) or the Level One Evaluation was administered to Year 3 students. Excellence in this test allowed students to skip Year 4 and attend Year 5 instead. However, the test was removed from 2008 onwards due to concerns that parents and teachers were unduly pressuring students to pass the exam.
Before progressing to secondary education, Year 6 pupils sit for the Primary School Achievement Test (Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah, UPSR). The subjects tested are Malay comprehension, Malay writing, English comprehension, English writing, Science and Mathematics. In addition to the six subjects, Chinese comprehension and written Chinese are compulsory in Chinese schools, while Tamil comprehension and written Tamil are compulsory in Tamil schools.
School types and medium of instruction
See also: Tamil primary schools in Malaysia
Public primary schools are divided into two categories based on the medium of instruction:
- Malay-medium National Schools (Sekolah Kebangsaan, SK)
- non-Malay-medium National-type Schools (Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan, SJK), also known as "vernacular schools", further divided into
- National-type School (Chinese) (Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (Cina), SJK(C)), Mandarin-medium and simplified Chinese writing
- National-type School (Tamil) (Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (Tamil), SJK (T)), Tamil-medium
All schools admit students regardless of racial and language background.
Malay and English are compulsory subjects in all schools. All schools use the same syllabus for non-language subjects regardless of the medium of instruction. The teaching of the Chinese language is compulsory in SJK(C), and Tamil language is compulsory in SJK(T). Additionally, a National School must provide the teaching of Chinese or Tamil language, as well as indigenous languages wherever practical, if the parents of at least 15 pupils in the school request that the particular language to be taught.
In January 2003, a mixed medium of instruction was introduced so that students would learn Science and Mathematics in English. Due to pressure from the Chinese community, SJK(C) teach Science and Mathematics in both English and Chinese. However, the government reversed the policy of teaching Science and Mathematics in English in July 2009, and previous languages of instruction will be reintroduced in stages from 2012.
By degree of government funding, National Schools are government-owned and operated, while National-type Schools are mostly government-aided, though some are government-owned. In government-aided National-type Schools, the government is responsible for funding the school operations, teachers' training and salary, and setting the school curriculum, while the school buildings and assets belong to the local ethnic communities, which elect a board of directors for each school to safeguard the school properties. Between 1995 and 2000, the Seventh Malaysia Plan allocation for primary education development allocated 96.5% to National Schools which had 75% of total enrolment. Chinese National-type Schools (21% enrolment) received 2.4% of the allocation while Tamil National-type Schools (3.6% enrolment) received 1% of the allocation.
Previously, there were also other types of National-type Schools. The English National-type Schools were assimilated to become National Schools as a result of decolonisation. Others, such as those for the Punjabi language were closed due to the dwindling number of students. The role of promoting the Punjabi language and culture is currently fulfilled by Gurdwaras (Sikh temples) based organisations.
The division of public education at the primary level into National and National-type Schools has been criticised for allegedly creating racial polarisation at an early age. To address the problem, attempts have been made to establish Sekolah Wawasan ("vision schools"). Under the concept, three schools (typically one SK, one SJK(C) and one SJK(T)) would share the same school compound and facilities while maintaining different school administrations, ostensibly to encourage closer interaction. However, this was met with objections from most of the Chinese and Indian communities as they believe this will restrict the use of their mother tongue in schools.
Public secondary education in Malaysia is provided by National Secondary Schools (Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan, SMK). National Secondary Schools use Malay as the main medium of instruction because Malay language is the National language of Malaysia while English is a compulsory subject in all schools. Since 2003, Science and Mathematics had been taught in English, however in 2009 the government decided to revert to use Malay starting in year 2012.
As in primary schools, a National Secondary School must provide teaching of Chinese and Tamil languages, as well as indigenous languages wherever practical, on request of parents of at least 15 pupils in the school. In addition, foreign languages such as Arabic or Japanese may be taught at certain schools.
Secondary education lasts for five years, referred to as Form (Tingkatan) 1 to 5. Form 1 to Form 3 are known as Lower Secondary (Menengah Rendah), while Form 4 and 5 are known as Upper Secondary (Menengah Atas). Most students who had completed primary education are admitted to Form 1. Students from national-type primary schools have the additional requirement to obtain a minimum C grade for the Malay subjects in UPSR, failing which they will have to attend a year-long transition class, commonly called "Remove" (Kelas/Tingkatan Peralihan), before proceeding to Form 1. As in primary schools, students are promoted to the next year regardless of their academic performance.
Co-curricular activities are compulsory at the secondary level, where all students must participate in at least 2 activities for most states, and 3 activities for the Sarawak region. There are many co-curricular activities offered at the secondary level, varying at each school and each student is judged based in these areas. Competitions and performances are regularly organised. Co-curricular activities are often categorised under the following: Uniformed Groups, Performing Arts, Clubs & Societies, Sports & Games. Student may also participate in more than 2 co-curricular activities.
At the end of Form 3, the Pentaksiran Tingkatan 3 (PT3) or Lower Secondary Evaluation is taken by students. Based on PT3 results and choice, they will be given three streamed to choose, (1)Academic Stream (Science/Art), Technical and Vocational Stream, and Religious Stream. The Academic stream is generally more desirable. Students are allowed to shift to the Arts stream from the Science stream, but rarely vice versa. In 2013, government announced to replace Lower Certificate of Education (LCE) evaluation system with new evaluation, PBSMR (Penilaian Berasaskan Sekolah Menengah Rendah) or Lower Secondary School Based Assessment. PBSMR system, future are to assess proficiency of student in the four core subjects – Bahasa Melayu, English and Science and Mathematics.
At the end of Form 5, students are required to take the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) or Malaysian Certificate of Education examination, before graduating from secondary school. The SPM was based on the old British 'School Certificate' examination before it became General Certificate of Education 'O' Levels examination, which became the GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education). As of 2006, students are given a GCE 'O' Level grade for their English paper in addition to the normal English SPM paper. (Previously, this was reported on result slips as a separate result labelled 1119, which meant students received two grades for their English papers.) This separate grade is given based on the marks of the essay-writing component of the English paper. The essay section of the English paper is remarked under the supervision of officials from the British 'O' Levels examination. Although not part of their final certificates, the 'O' Level grade is included on their results slip.
Shortly after the release of the 2005 SPM results in March 2006, the Education Ministry announced it was considering reforming the SPM system due to what was perceived as over-emphasis on As. Local educators appeared responsive to the suggestion, with one professor at the University of Malaya deploring university students who could not write letters, debate, or understand footnoting. He complained that "They don't understand what I am saying. ... I cannot communicate with them." He claimed that "Before 1957 (the year of independence), school heroes were not those with 8As or 9As, they were the great debaters, those good in drama, in sport, and those leading the Scouts and Girl Guides." A former Education Director-General, Murad Mohd Noor, agreed, saying that "The rat race now begins at Standard 6 with the UPSR, with the competition resulting in parents forcing their children to attend private tuition." He also expressed dismay at the prevalence of students taking 15 or 16 subjects for the SPM, calling it "unnecessary".
A subset of the public secondary schools are known as National-type Secondary Schools (Sekolah Menengah Jenis Kebangsaan, SMJK). At Malayan Independence (1957), it was decided that secondary education would be provided in Malay-medium National Secondary Schools and English-medium National-type Secondary Schools. Fee paying, English-medium schools owned and administered by missionaries/religious bodies were offered government aid provided that they adopted the national curriculum. Secondary schools using other languages as medium of instruction, most of them Chinese schools, were offered government aid on the condition that they convert into English-medium schools. In the 1970s, as the government began to abolish English-medium education in public schools, all National-type Secondary School were gradually converted into Malay-medium schools. The term "National-type Secondary School" is not present in the Education Act of 1996, which blurred the distinction between SMK and SMJK. However, Chinese educational groups are unwelcoming of the new development and continue to push for the distinction to be made between the 78 formerly Chinese-medium schools and other secondary schools. The schools continue to have "SMJK" on the school signboards and boards of directors continue to manage the school properties, as opposed to schools that are directly managed by the government. Most former Chinese-medium SMJK continue to have a majority Chinese student and teacher population, usually only accept students from Chinese-medium primary schools, have Chinese language as a compulsory subject and have bilingual (Malay and Chinese) school announcements.
Other types of government or government-aided secondary schools include Religious Secondary School (Sekolah Menengah Agama), Technical Schools (Sekolah Menengah Teknik), Fully Residential Schools and MARA Junior Science College (Maktab Rendah Sains MARA).
Within the national public school system are a few magnet type/charter public high schools. Admissions are very selective, reserved for students who demonstrate outstanding academic achievement and potential at the elementary level, Year/Standard 1 through 6. These schools are either full-time day or boarding schools ('asrama penuh'). Examples of these schools are Malacca High School, Royal Military College (Malaysia) and Penang Free SchMalaysian Education Subjectool.
Residential schools or Sekolah Berasrama Penuh are also known as Science Schools. These schools used to cater mainly for Malay elites but have since expanded as schools for nurturing Malays who are outstanding academically or those displaying talents in sports and leadership. The schools are modelled after British Boarding School.
Malaysian Primary school Subject
From standard 1 to standard 3 students do not take major exams and learn the basic fundamentals of each subject. In standard 4 learning becomes more intensive with the core subjects for major exams being Malay language, English language, Mathematics and Science.
From standard 1 to standard 3 learn: Malaysian language, English Language, Mathematics (Malay), Science (Malay), Islamic Education (Muslim), Moral Education (Non Muslim), Art, Music, Gym class and Civics.
Other Subjects: Mandarin Language, Tamil language, Semitic languages (Arabs) and Jawi alphabet.
From standard 4 to standard 6(UPSR) learn:
Big Exam Subject: Malaysian language, English language, Mathematics (Malay), Science (Malay),
Normal Subject:Islamic Education (Muslim), Moral (Non Muslim), Art, Music, Civic, Physical education, Technology Education and Local education.
Others Big Exam Subject:Mandarin Language,and Tamil language.
Others Normal Subject:Arabian language and Jawi alphabet.
Malaysian Lower Secondary Subject
The lower secondary education serves to prepare students for more advanced subjects in upper secondary. The curriculum is mostly fixed with few optional subjects.
At the end of lower secondary education, all students sit for the Form 3 Evaluation.
Main subjects:Malaysian language, English language, Mathematics (Malay), Science (Malay), Islamic Education (Muslim), Geography, History, Design and Technology Education.
Supplementary Subject:Civic, Art, Moral (non Muslim) and Physical education.
Malaysian Secondary High School Subject
From Form 4 to Form 5 (SPM)
After the lower secondary examination, also known as the Form 3 Evaluation (PT3), students enter one of two main streams in upper secondary education, science or arts, in addition to a compulsory list of core subjects. The list below details the subjects offered in the core subjects and each stream.
Malaysian language, English language, Mathematics (Malay), Science* (Malay), Islamic Education (Muslim) and History.
^* : Only taken by art stream students as a replacement to the natural science subjects.
Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Additional Mathematics (an extension of Mathematics).
Further information: Art stream
Economy, Accounting, Business, Art, Tasawwur Islam (Muslim), Computer science, Sports science, Literature (English), Literature (Malay), Geography and more.
Civics and Physical education.
Technical and Vocational:
Post-secondary education(Pre University)
See also: List of post-secondary institutions in Malaysia
After the SPM, students from public secondary school would have a choice of either studying Form 6 or the matriculation (pre-university). If they are accepted to continue studying in Form 6, they will also take the Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (which is usually abbreviated as STPM) or Malaysian Higher School Certificate examination (its British equivalent is the General Certificate of EducationA Level examination or internationally, the Higher School Certificate). STPM is regulated by the Malaysian Examinations Council. Although it is generally taken by those desiring to attend public universities in Malaysia, it is internationally recognised and may also be used, though rarely required, to enter private local universities for undergraduate courses.
Additionally all students may apply for admission to matriculation. However, unlike STPM, the matriculation certificate is only valid for universities in Malaysia. This matriculation is a one or two-year programme run by the Ministry of Education. Previously, it was a one-year programme, but beginning 2006, 30% of all matriculation students were offered two-year programmes.
Not all applicants for matriculation are admitted and the selection criteria are not publicly declared, which has led to speculation that any criteria existing may not be adhered to. A race-based quota is applied on the admission process, with 90% of the places being reserved for the Bumiputeras, and the other 10% for the non-Bumiputeras.
Having been introduced after the abolishment of a racial-quota-based admission into universities, the matriculation programme continues the role of its predecessor, albeit in modified form. The matriculation programme adopts a semester basis examination (two semesters in a year). Similarly, STPM involves three-term examinations (one final examination every term), two resit examinations at the end of the final term (if desired by students), as well as coursework depending on each subject (except for General Studies where coursework is mandatory) covering all one and a half years' syllabus.
The Centre for Foundation Studies in Science, University of Malaya, offers two programmes only for Bumiputera students : i) The Science Program, a one-year course under the Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Higher Education. After completing the program, the students are placed into various science-based courses in local universities through the meritocracy system. ii) The Special Preparatory Program to Enter the Japanese Universities, a two-year intensive programme under the Look East Policy Division of the Public Service Department of Malaysia in co-operation with the Japanese Government.
Some students undertake their pre-university studies in private colleges. They may opt for programmes such as the British A Level programme, the Canadian matriculation programme or the equivalent of other national systems – namely the Australian NSW Board of Studies Higher School Certificate and the American High School Diploma with AP subjects. More recently, the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme is becoming more popular as a pre-university option.
The Government has claimed that admission to universities are purely meritocracy based and do not have plans to change the system.
See also: List of universities in Malaysia and Academic ranks in Malaysia
Tertiary education is heavily subsidised by the government.
Before the introduction of the matriculation system, students aiming to enter public universities had to complete an additional 18 months of secondary schooling in Form 6 and sit the Malaysian Higher School Certificate (Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia, STPM); equivalent to the British Advanced or A Level.
Since the introduction of the matriculation programme as an alternative to STPM in 1999, students who completed the 12-month programme in matriculation colleges (kolej matrikulasi in Malay) can enrol in local universities. However, in the matriculation system, only 10% of the places are open to non-Bumiputra students. Excellence in these examinations does not guarantee a place in a public university. The selection criteria are largely opaque as no strictly enforced defined guidelines exist.
The classification of tertiary education in Malaysia is organised upon the Malaysian Qualifications Framework (MQF) which seeks to set up a unified system of post secondary qualifications offered on a national basis in the vocational and higher education sectors.
From 2004 to 2013, the government formed the Ministry of Higher Education to oversee tertiary education in Malaysia.
Although the government announced a reduction of reliance of racial quotas in 2002, instead leaning more towards meritocracy. Before 2004, all lecturers in public tertiary institutions were required to have some post-graduate award as a qualification. In October 2004, this requirement was removed and the Higher Education Ministry announced that industry professionals who added value to a course could apply for lecturing positions directly to universities even if they did not have postgraduate qualifications. To head off possible allegations that the universities faced a shortage of lecturers, Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Fu Ah Kiow said "This is not because we are facing a shortage of lecturers, but because this move will add value to our courses and enhance the name of our universities... Let's say Bill Gates and Steven Spielberg, both [undergraduates but] well known and outstanding in their fields, want to be teaching professors. Of course, we would be more than happy to take them in." He went on to offer as an example the field of architecture whereby well-known architects recognised for their talents do not have master's degrees.
There are a number of public universities established in Malaysia. The academic independence of public universities' faculty has been questioned. Critics like Bakri Musa cite examples such as a scientist who was reprimanded by Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak for "publishing studies on air pollution" and a professor of mathematics at the National University of Malaysia who was reproved for criticising the government policy of teaching mathematics and science in English at the primary and secondary levels.
Students have the option of enrolling in private tertiary institutions after secondary studies. Private universities are gaining a reputation for international quality education and students from all over the world attend them. Many of these institutions offer courses in co-operation with a foreign institute or university — especially in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia — allowing students to spend a portion of their course abroad as well as getting overseas qualifications. One such example is Tunku Abdul Rahman University College which partnered with Sheffield Hallam University and Coventry University.
Many private colleges offer programmes whereby the student does part of his degree course here and part of it in the other institution; this is called "twinning". The nature of these programs is diverse and ranges from the full "twinning" program where all credits and transcripts are transferable and admission is automatic to programs where the local institution offers an "associate degree" which is accepted at the discretion of the partnering university. In the latter case, acceptance of transcripts and credits is at the discretion of the partner. Some of them are branch campuses of these foreign institutions. In addition, four reputable international universities have set up their branch campuses in Malaysia since 1998. A branch can be seen as an 'offshore campus' of the foreign university, which offers the same courses and awards as the main campus. Local and international students can acquire these identical foreign qualifications in Malaysia at a lower fee. Some of the foreign university branch campuses in Malaysia are:
The net outflow of academics from Malaysia led to a "brain gain" scheme by then (1995) Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. The scheme set a target of attracting 5,000 talents annually. In 2004, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister, Datuk Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis in a parliamentary reply stated that the scheme attracted 94 scientists (24 Malaysians) in pharmacology, medicine, semi-conductor technology and engineering from abroad between 1995 and 2000. At the time of his reply, only one was remaining in Malaysia.
Postgraduate degrees such as the Master of Business Administration (MBA) and the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) are becoming popular and are offered by public and private universities.
All public and most private universities in Malaysia offer Master of Science degrees either through coursework or research and Doctor of Philosophy degrees through research.
Polytechnics in Malaysia provide courses for bachelor's degree, Advanced Diploma, Diploma and Special Skills Certificate.
The following is a list of the polytechnics in Malaysia in order of establishment:
|Official Name in Malay||Acronym||Foundation||Type||Location||Link|
|Politeknik Ungku Omar||PUO||1969||Premier Polytechnic (University Status)||Ipoh, Perak|||
|Politeknik Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah||POLISAS||1976||Conventional Polytechnic||Kuantan, Pahang|||
|Politeknik Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah||POLIMAS||1984||Conventional Polytechnic||Bandar Darul Aman, Kedah|||
|Politeknik Kota Bharu||PKB||1985||Conventional Polytechnic||Ketereh, Kelantan|||
|Politeknik Kuching Sarawak||PKS||1987||Conventional Polytechnic||Kuching, Sarawak|||
|Politeknik Port Dickson||PPD||1990||Conventional Polytechnic||Si Rusa, Negeri Sembilan|||
|Politeknik Kota Kinabalu||PKK||1996||Conventional Polytechnic||Kota Kinabalu, Sabah|||
|Politeknik Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah||PSA||1997||Premier Polytechnic (University Status)||Shah Alam, Selangor|||
|Politeknik Ibrahim Sultan||PIS||1998||Premier Polytechnic (University Status)||Pasir Gudang, Johor|||
|Politeknik Seberang Perai||PSP||1998||Conventional Polytechnic||Permatang Pauh, Pulau Pinang|||
|Politeknik Melaka||PMK||1999||Conventional Polytechnic||Malacca|||
|Politeknik Kuala Terengganu||PKKT||1999||Conventional Polytechnic||Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu|||
|Politeknik Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin||PSMZA||2001||Conventional Polytechnic||Dungun, Terengganu|||
|Politeknik Merlimau||PMM||2002||Conventional Polytechnic||Merlimau, Malacca|||
|Politeknik Sultan Azlan Shah||PSAS||2002||Conventional Polytechnic||Behrang, Perak|||
|Politeknik Tuanku Sultanah Bahiyah||PTSB||2002||Conventional Polytechnic||Kulim, Kedah|||
|Politeknik Sultan Idris Shah||PSIS||2003||Conventional Polytechnic||Sungai Air Tawar, Selangor|||
|Politeknik Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin||PTSS||2003||Conventional Polytechnic||Ulu Pauh, Perlis|||
|Politeknik Muadzam Shah||PMS||2003||Conventional Polytechnic||Bandar Muadzam Shah, Pahang|||
|Politeknik Mukah Sarawak||PMU||2004||Conventional Polytechnic||Mukah, Sarawak|||
|Politeknik Balik Pulau||PBU||2007||Conventional Polytechnic||Balik Pulau, Pulau Pinang|||
|Politeknik Jeli||PJK||2007||Conventional Polytechnic||Jeli, Kelantan|||
|Politeknik Nilai||PNS||2007||Conventional Polytechnic||Negeri Sembilan|||
|Politeknik Banting||PBS||2007||Conventional Polytechnic||Kuala Langat, Selangor|||
|Politeknik Mersing||PMJ||2008||Conventional Polytechnic||Mersing, Johor|||
|Politeknik Hulu Terengganu||PHT||2008||Conventional Polytechnic||Kuala Berang, Terengganu|||
|Politeknik Sandakan||PSS||2009||Conventional Polytechnic||Sandakan, Sabah|||
|Politeknik METrO Kuala Lumpur||PMKL||2011||METrO Polytechnic||Setiawangsa, Kuala Lumpur|||
|Politeknik METrO Kuantan||PMKU||2011||METrO Polytechnic||Kuantan, Pahang|||
|Politeknik METrO Johor Bahru||PMJB||2011||METrO Polytechnic||Johor Bahru, Johor|||
|Politeknik METrO Betong||PMBS||2012||METrO Polytechnic||Betong, Sarawak|||
|Politeknik METrO Tasek Gelugor||PMTG||2012||METrO Polytechnic||Butterworth, Pulau Pinang|||
|Politeknik Tun Syed Nasir Syed Ismail||PTSN||2013||Conventional Polytechnic||Muar, Johor|||
Other types of schools
See also: List of schools in Malaysia
Apart from national schools, there are other types of schools in Malaysia.
Islamic religious schools
A system of Islamic religious schools exists in Malaysia. Primary schools are called Sekolah Rendah Agama (SRA), while secondary schools are called Sekolah Menengah Agama (SMA).
Another type of schools available in Malaysia is the Islamic religious schools or sekolah agama rakyat (SAR). The schools teach Muslim students subjects related to Islam such as early Islamic history, Arabic language and Fiqh. It is not compulsory though some states such as Johor make it mandatory for all Muslim children aged six to twelve to attend the schools as a complement to the mandatory primary education. In the final year, students will sit an examination for graduation. Most SAR are funded by respective states and managed by states' religious authority.
Previously, former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohammad suggested to the government that the SARs should be closed down and integrated into the national schools. However, his proposal was met with resistance and later, the matter was left to die quietly.
Such schools still exist in Malaysia, but are generally no longer the only part of a child's education in urban areas. Students in rural parts of the country do still attend these schools. Some of the academic results published by these schools are accepted by mainline universities by taking Malaysia High Certificate of Religious Study (Sijil Tinggi Agama Malaysia, abbreviated as STAM), and many of these students continue their education in locations such as Pakistan or Egypt. Some of their alumni include Nik Adli (son of PAS spiritual leader Nik Aziz).
Some parents also opt to send their children for religious classes after secular classes. Sunday schools and after school classes at the mosque are various options available.
Chinese independent high schools
After receiving primary education in national-type primary schools, some students from SJK(C) may choose to study in a Chinese independent high school. Chinese independent high schools are funded mostly by the Malaysian Chinese public, with UCSCAM (United Chinese School Committees Association of Malaysia, also known as Dong Jiao Zong after its Chinese acronym) as the overall co-ordination body. Students in Chinese independent high schools study in three junior middle levels and three senior middle levels, similar to the secondary schools systems in mainland China and Taiwan; each level usually takes one year. Like the students in public secondary schools, students in Chinese independent high schools are put into several streams like Science or Art/Commerce in the senior middle levels. However, some schools recently provided unique streams like Electrical Engineering, Food and Beverage Studies or Arts Design. The medium of instruction in Chinese independent high schools is Mandarin and uses simplified Chinese characters in writing.
Students in Chinese independent high schools take standardised tests known as the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) at the end of Junior Middle 3 and Senior Middle 3. UEC has been run by UCSCAM since 1975. The UEC is available in three levels: Vocational Unified Exam (UEC-V), UEC Junior Middle Level (UEC-JML/JUEC) and Senior Middle Level (UEC-SML/SUEC). The syllabus and examinations for the UEC-V and UEC-JML are only available in the Chinese language. The UEC-SML has questions for mathematics, sciences (biology, chemistry and physics), bookkeeping, accounting and commerce in both Chinese and English.
UEC-SML is recognised as an entrance qualification in many tertiary educational institutions internationally, including those in Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Mainland China and some European countries, as well as most private colleges in Malaysia, but not by the government of Malaysia for entry into public universities. As the government of Malaysia does not recognise the UEC, some Chinese independent high schools provide instructions in the public secondary school syllabus in addition to the independent school syllabus, thus enabling the students to sit for PT3, SPM, or even STPM.
Dong Jiao Zong's policy
A "rooted" Chinese
According to the United Chinese School Committees' Association of Malaysia, also known as "Dong Zong" 董总), it was the British colonial policy (1786–1957) to allow vernacular language schools to exist and develop, along with Sekolah Pondok (Malays) and Sekolah Tamil (Indians). This was part of the British strategy of "dividing and rule". For those who are willing to attend English schools, they will gain better opportunities in employment than any other schools, sometimes at the expense of their own racial/ethnic and religious root(s). Nevertheless, the development of Chinese language education thrived due to the conformity to the divide and rule policy. Before Malaysia gained independence, the Chinese had 1300 primary schools, nearly 100 high schools, and even a tertiary institution, Nanyang University, built without the financial support of the government. The report of Dong Zong claimed that the main reason for many Chinese parents sending their children to Chinese schools was that they generally hoped their children would retain their Chinese identity, with love and awareness of the nation of Malaysia, love of their own culture and traditions, ethnic pride, and most importantly being aware of their ethnic roots.
Lim Lian Geok (simplified Chinese: 林连玉; traditional Chinese
Young people, news reports tell us, are turning their backs on drinking and recreational drugs. Cigarette-smoking is on the decline, and so too is teenage pregnancy. It looks like this generation is cleaning up its act.
But smart drugs? There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that they are rife at universities in the UK. And it’s hardly surprising.
The pressure to succeed has never been fiercer. With fees of £27,000 for a three-year degree, spiralling living costs, and a hostile job market waiting at the other end, no one can afford to mess things up.
So to keep focused and maximise their learning potential, students have turned to drugs originally intended to counter narcolepsy or ADHD.
Though experts warn that the long-term effects of these drugs are still largely unknown, a survey in the Tab student paper suggests that a fifth of students in UK universities have taken the study drug modafinil. Study drugs are not illegal provided they are prescribed by a doctor, but it is an offence to supply.
Narcolepsy medication modafinil is world's first safe 'smart drug'
I’ve been speaking to a range of students, to find out when they first turned to a smart drug, and what effect it’s had on them.
“A friend offered it to me when we started going through a tough period at university,” Gemma, 20, and studying at the University of Lincoln, tells me.
“We are in our third and final year which is an important time. Me and my friends just wanted to do as well as possible, so when I was offered one to try, I took it.”
Gemma says they opted for smart drugs when coffee simply wasn’t keeping them awake long enough. In the UK, modafinil seems to be the most widely used drug, though the ADHD medication ritalin is also used. Students get their hands on the drugs by ordering from unregulated pharmacy sites, often based in Malaysia or India, or buying from a dealer on campus.
When it comes to improving dedication to a task, they do seem to work.
“I heard about study drugs in my second year of university, but didn’t take any until my third year, when I was doing my dissertation,” says Matt, 22, who studied at the University of Newcastle.
“I used to head to the library late at night, when I work best. Coffee wasn’t clinching it for me, so one night I took a modafinil and was there until six in the morning, writing 6,000 words of my main argument. I did the same again the following evening, and ended up getting a first.”
Not everyone waits until their final year at uni before succumbing to the temptation of a solve-all pill.
I actually used modafinil when I was in sixth form
Becky, 19, now at Sheffield Hallam University, first took modafinil when she was 17. “My experience with study drugs is a bit of an odd one, because I actually used modafinil when I was in sixth form,” she admits.
“I had too much work, and deadlines were drawing closer. I just wanted to get into university. I had a job in the evening at the same time as all this college work and found myself unable to focus on anything during the day.
“A couple of my friends had some modafinil. I wasn’t nervous about taking it – I just wanted to see if anything happened. I tried it for revising and it did make me more focused,” she says.
But the side-effects of taking smart drugs can be nasty. Becky tells me: “In the week after I used modafinil to revise with, I was very drained, meaning I actually got less work and revision done.
She recalls: “It also gave me a splitting headache. I think at the time I was so desperate to do well, get the grades, fit everything in… But I was pretty exhausted and ill in the weeks after I used it.”
Headaches, rashes and fatigue are widely reported by other students. Anna tried modafinil in her third year at the University of Newcastle. Although she found it helpful at first, she built up a reliance over a couple of weeks that left her exhausted.
Is modafinil safe in the long term?
“When I took it, I felt amazing for the first couple of days, really buzzing and ready to work. I felt like I could study for 10 hours and then go to the gym. I was superhuman,” she says. “I ended up taking more of it and I crashed and got crazy and moody. I lost weight, couldn’t sleep, but couldn’t concentrate without it.
Barbara Sahakian, professor in the University of Cambridge’s department of psychiatry, warns that using study drugs to cram for exams can make it hard to remember things, as our brains need sleep to process new knowledge. “We consolidate our memories during sleep, so it is counterproductive if study drug users are not able to have a good quality sleep,” she says.
“In addition, we now know that our brains are in development into late adolescence and early young adulthood – and we do not know the effects of a smart drug on a healthy developing brain.”
A third concern for Professor Sahakian is the risk entailed in buying study drugs via the internet, which most users do. It’s a “very dangerous way to obtain to prescription-only medication”, she says.
I was worried I might develop a taste for dealing
Ben, 22, began ordering modafinil for himself and his friends during the second year of his degree. “It’s cheaper to bulk buy, so I usually order around 200 off the site, which costs 77p per pill. I have a couple of friends who take study drugs and they usually pay me around a £1 per dose,” he says.
“The people who buy them from me typically take the same doses I do, and with the same regularity. One pill is enough for one day of studying, usually.”
He says he doesn’t actively seek out custom but tends to get it anyway when the pills come up in conversation. “People are often interested to try it,” he says. “I decided not to deal more widely for profit, as keeping track of customers and purchases is a workload I don’t need, and I was worried I might develop a taste for dealing.”
It’s tough to resist the temptation of smart drugs, but many students aren’t prepared to take the risk of serious damage that may only become apparent in the future.
Kevin, 24, who attended the University of Leeds, says: “A lot of people around me seemed to be taking them. I still always wonder if I would have found it easier if I’d tried smart pills.”
But he adds: “I think what people need to remember is that you can get reliant on things like this. At some point, study pills won’t solve everything. And they won’t do your job for you.”
• All names have been changed in this article.
Keep up with the latest on Guardian Students: follow us on Twitter at @GdnStudents – and become a member to receive exclusive benefits and our weekly newsletter