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Education in Malaysia may be obtained from government-sponsored schools, private schools, or through homeschooling.
Contents 1 Characteristics 2 Pre-School 3 Primary 4 Secondary 5 Matriculation 6 Tertiary 7 Postgraduate Programs 8 Vocational Programs 9 Religious schools 10 History 11 Language issues 12 Education and politics 13 Gender issues and education
Education in Malaysia broadly consists of a set of stages which are: Pre-school Primary Education Secondary Education Tertiary Education Postgraduate
Education in Malaysia is not universally mandated by law, hence it is not a criminal offence to neglect the educational needs of a child. Primary and secondary education in government schools is handled by the Ministry of Education, but policies regarding tertiary education are handled by the Ministry of Higher Education, created in 2004.
students who are ethnically Chinese or Tamil are not required to attend these schools or precluded from attending public schools. In 2004 the prime minister said "the national school. Students enter primary schools at the age of 7 and leave at the age of 12. Minister in the Prime Minister's Department. Students are promoted to the next Standard. has begun to lose its popularity as a school of choice. written Malay. students may have to apply for admission into these schools. These programs also occur in rural enclaves within the nation's cities. Science and Mathematics. the Penilaian Tengah Sekolah (PTS) or Middle School Evaluation test was given to students in Standard 3 who passed a qualification test. He also stated "The Education Department is looking at introducing National Integration as a subject in the school syllabus. The government has no formal pre-school program except "aid" based programs in more rural parts of the country. Opposition politician Lim Guan Eng has noted that the government refuses to fund Chinese primary schools despite the fact that 60. Primary Primary Education in Malaysia consists of 6 years of education. would be planned to allow for maximum interaction among the races. most students from Chinese schools excel in standardised tests. Although private schools tend to have an ethnic base such as a Chinese school or a Tamil School.  Recently. said the seating arrangements of students. Excellence in this test allowed students to skip Standard 4. He went on to say that only about two per cent of Chinese students attended national schools. Vision schools share facilities with one or more national schools. ostensibly to encourage closer interaction. Since most private schools are self funded.Many pre-school programs exist in Malaysia. Participation in the UPSR is not compulsory. The subjects tested are Malay comprehension. particularly among Chinese students." and that "The composition of teachers too .000 non-Chinese students attend these schools. English. attempts have been made to establish (Sekolah Wawasan) or vision schools. Attendance in a pre-school program is not universal and generally only affluent families can afford to send their children to private. Vernacular schools generally conduct classes in Mandarin for Chinese vernacular schools and Tamil for Tamil vernacular schools.Some private schools have pre-school sections. especially in primary schools. for profit pre-schools. Applications are rarely restricted based upon ethnic heritage. The primary education system is divided into the national schools (Sekolah Rendah Kebangsaan) and vernacular schools (Sekolah Rendah Jenis Kebangsaan) (literally national type school). Some have alleged that the demographics of those who scored well on the PTS are ethnically skewed. but many vernacular schools also administer the UPSR to their students as this allows for re-integration of their students into national schools for secondary education.  In response Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili . referred to as Standards 1 through 6. Despite lack of government financial assistance. Some students from other ethnic backgrounds study in Chinese schools for the supposed better education. However. the test was removed from 2001 onwards due to concerns that parents and teachers were unduly pressuring students. Other pre-school programs are run by religious groups. At the end of primary education. students in national schools are required to undergo a national standardised test known as the Ujian Penilaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) or Primary School Evaluation Test. the main catalyst for the integration process in the young generation. Additionally pre-schools are not subject to zoning regulations and many of them can be found in residential buildings which have been converted for this purpose. The official medium of instruction in national schools is Malay. Until 2000. regardless of their academic performance. No formal training or certification is required to start a pre-school.
before graduating from secondary school. The examination has been run by the Dong Jiao Zhong (the association of Chinese school teachers and trustees) since 1975. Chinese primary schools (21% enrolment) received 2. After Merdeka. This caused a domino effect among the other Chinese High Schools. Between 1995 and 2000. In Form 3. chemistry and physics). Taiwan. but most private colleges recognise it. In May 2004 the National Accreditation Board (LAN) required students entering local private colleges using any qualification other than the SPM would be required to pass the SPM Malay paper. It is not recognised by the government of Malaysia for entry into public universities. UEC (Junior Middle Level-JML) and UEC (Senior Middle Level-SML). United States. book keeping. They make decision for the school but not in all matters. students are required to take the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) or Malaysian Certificate of Education examination.Vocational Unified Exam (UEC-V). The SPM is the equivalent of the British General Certificate of Education 'O' Levels examination.  Chinese primary schools are usually run by a Board of Governors. The syllabus and examinations for the UEC-V and UEC-JML are only available in the Chinese language.5% to national primary schools which had 75% of total enrolment. The National Type High Schools did not abandon the notion of Chinese education though. This caused an uproar among the Chinese and compromised was achieved with the government that the schools shall become National Type (N. Depending on their results. accounting and commerce are available in both Chinese and English. There are no government-run Chinese secondary schools in Malaysia — all Chinese secondary schools are private. Teaching and learning of Mandarin was often compulsory in these schools. A minority of Chinese Schools refused the proposal and became Private High Schools. with most schools dedicating at least 1/7 to 1/5 of the time in a week to Mandarin studies. Hong Kong. sciences (biology. It is recognised by the governments of the United Kingdom. In 2004 Education Minister Datuk Hishamuddin Tun Hussein Onn stated this function would be returned to the Board but it has yet to occur. Students in these schools take a standardised test known as the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC). In Form 5. the Penilaian Menengah Rendah or Lower Secondary Evaluation is taken by students. and students are allowed to elect to go to the Arts from the Science stream. the Seventh Malaysia Plan allocation for primary education development allocated 96. The UEC-SML has question for mathematics. Public secondary schools are regarded as extensions of the national schools. The UEC is available in three levels: UEC . which is restricted to the 60 or so private Chinese secondary schools in Malaysia. Shortly after the proposal was announced.) Schools where the government is in charge of the teaching personnel only. The schools that converted included Chung Ling High School.T. they will be streamed into either the Science stream or Arts stream. the most influential Chinese High school then.6% enrolment) received 1% of the allocation. Secondary Secondary schooling consists of 5 years of schooling and this is referred to as Form 1 to Form 5. Penang Chinese Girl High School in Penang Island and Jit Sin High School on the mainland. and most if not all have a Private High School branch. As of today. accepted this proposal. Some students in these schools take certain SPM examinations as private candidates if the SPM is not offered by their school. This drew protests and Higher Learning Minister Dr Shafie Salleh exempted UEC students from this requirement.4% of the allocation while Tamil primary schools (3.should also reflect the various races". and 60+ of them converted to National Type Schools. China and Singapore for entry into tertiary institutions. The National Type High Schools produce the most top scorers in any secondary high school examination. the government mandated that all schools surrender their property and be assimilated into the normal school system. Chinese educationalist Dr Kua Kia Soong mentions the introduction of the UEC in his book Protean Saga: The Chinese Schools of . supported by fees and donations. The Science stream is generally more desirable. One matter is the running of school canteens (cafeterias) where the operator is appointed by the Education department. while the land belongs to the school privately (other schools' land belongs to the government). led by Principal Wang Yoong Nien. Chung Ling High School . but not vice-versa. This still was viewed with scepticism among the Chinese.
. To quote the book "The latter (Mahathir) did not mince his words but told the Dong Jiao Zong leaders that UEC had better not be held or else . summoning the Chinese educationalist to parliament. . Applicants to public universities must have completed the matriculation program or have an STPM grade. Tertiary Tertiary education in the public universities is heavily subsidised by the government. the Canadian matriculation program or the Australian program. then the education minister and later the prime minister. He did not ask for any response and dismissed the Chinese educationalists with a curt . Not all applicants for matriculation are admitted and the selection criteria are not publicly declared.. Form 6 consists of two years of study which is known as lower 6 and upper 6.Malaysia..Bumiputra only. The selection criteria are largely opaque as no strictly enforced defined guidelines exists. They may opt for programs such as the British 'A' Levels program. The matriculation programme has undergone some criticism as it is a general consensus that this programme is much easier compared to STPM and serves to help Bumiputeras enter the public university easily. The following is a list of the public universities in Malaysia open to all Malaysians." Matriculation After SPM. listed according to the date of their formation: Universiti Malaya (UM) Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM) Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI) The following Universities are restricted: Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) .. which has led to speculation that any criteria existing may not be adhered to. Additionally all students may apply for admission to matriculation which is a one year program run by local public universities. students would have a choice of either studying Form 6 or the matriculation (pre-university). According to the book. In general. Some students have their matriculation in private colleges. they will also take the Sijil Pelajaran Tinggi Malaysia or Malaysian Certificate of Higher Education examination (its British equivalent is the General Certificate of Education 'A' Levels examination). Excellence in these examinations does not guarantee a place in a public university. the introduction of the UEC led to Dr Mahathir Mohamad. the STPM is only useful if one desires to attend a public university. Should they choose to continue studying in Form 6. 'that is all'. which are all offered.
To head off possible allegations that the universities faced a shortage of lecturers.. stated at the United Malays National Organisation 2004 general assembly. The University of Nottingham The net outflow of academics from Malaysia led to a "brain gain" scheme by then (1995) Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamed. a highly politicised and controversial issue in Malaysia. Yet 2004. Many private colleges offer programmes whereby the student does part of his degree course here and part of it in the other institution. we would be more than happy to take them in.  Some.  He has also stated that "Education is looked at from a racial perspective and not on the basis of educational needs. Dr. in 2002 the government announced a reduction of reliance on racial quotas. All students managed to successfully gain offers to private institutions but some did not pursue a medical education due to lack of funds. want to be teaching professors. Some of them are branch campuses of these foreign institutions. 128 students who obtained 5As in the STPM (the best possible grade for university application) were denied their first choice of course which was medicine. In 2004. instead leaning more towards meritocracy. The nature of these programs is somewhat 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. stating that Shafie was instead guaranteeing that the number of Bumiputra students admitted to public universities would increase every year.Racial quotas. semi-conductor technology and engineering from abroad between 1995 and 2000. The new minister. exist for university admission. both well known and outstanding in their fields.000 talents annually. medicine. However. only one was remaining in Malaysia. In October of 2004. Shafie Salleh. the government created a new ministry called the Ministry of Higher Education to oversee tertiary education. but because this move will add value to our courses and enhance the name of our universities. Of course. all lecturers in public tertiary institutions were required to have some post-graduate award as a requisite qualification. Students also have the choice of attending private institutions of higher learning. At the time of his reply. Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Fu Ah Kiow said "This is not because we are facing a shortage of lecturers. such as prominent opposition figure Lim Guan Eng." Prior to 2004. Technology and Innovation Minister. "As the Higher Education Minister." He went on to offer architecture as an example whereby well-known architects recognized for their talents did not have a masters degree. Postgraduate Programs Postgraduate degrees such as the Master of Business Administration (MBA) and the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) are becoming popular and are offered by both the public universities and the private colleges. Datuk Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis in a parliamentary reply stated that the scheme attracted 94 scientists (24 Malaysians) in pharmacology. . 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. acceptance of transcripts and credits is at the discretion of the partner. In the latter case. The only thing they had in common was that they were non-Malay. The scheme set a target of attracting 5. have alleged that this quote may be taken out of context.Let’s say Bill Gates and Steven Spielberg. Some foreign universities have also set up branch campuses in Malaysia: Monash University. Many of these institutions offer courses in cooperation with a foreign institute or university. In 2004. Science. I will ensure the quota of Malay students' entry into universities is always higher"..
Dharma classes. Many of the earliest schools in Malaysia were started in the Straits Settlements of Penang.Vocational Programs Besides the university degrees. The oldest school in Malaysia is the Penang Free School. Mission schools are largely single gender institutions while most government schools are mixed gender schools. Language issues The issue of language and schools is a key issue for many political groups in Malaysia. The existence of vernacular schools is used by non-Malays components of the ruling Barisan Nasional to indicate that their culture and identity have not been infringed upon by the Malay people. Early works of Malay literature such as Hikayat Abdullah mention these schools indicating they pre-date the current secular model of education. Roman Catholic missionaries of the Josephian order also started a series of "mission schools" and many of these schools still stand and carry the names of various Roman Catholic saints. UMNO championed the cause of Malay usage in schools but private schools using the Chinese and Tamil language are allowed. Some of their alumni include Nik Adli (Son of PAS leader Nik Aziz). Due to government intolerance of non-Muslim views in the public space. These schools are referred to as "vernacular schools" as opposed to the "government schools" where Malay is the medium of instruction. Sunday schools and after school classes at the mosque are various options available. followed by Malacca High School. the teaching of Science and Mathematics would be done in English. Hut school). Such schools still exist in Malaysia. Many of these schools still carry with them an air of prestige although there is no formal difference between these schools and other schools. founded in 1816. none of these schools have brothers any more. and Singapore. History Secular schools in Malaysia were largely an innovation of the British colonial government. This is often a key issue as it is considered important by many. the government announced that from 2003 onwards. Religious schools Sekolah Pondok (literally. which is a key electoral constituency. There are also a series of convents which originally housed nuns but had a school attached to provide education to young girls. many of these students have to continue their education in locations such as Pakistan or Egypt. students also have the option of continuing their education in professional courses such as the courses offered by the ICSA (Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators) etc. many of these convents no longer house nuns and so are convents in name only. Dong Jiao Zhong (the association of Chinese vernacular school boards and teachers) and other such organizations still shape much of the views of the Chinese educated community. Similar to the brother schools. Students in rural parts of the country do still attend these schools. Since the academic results published by these schools are not accepted by mainline universities. The Methodist Church in Malaysia also established a set of mission schools and these schools carry the name ACS (Anglo-Chinese School) and MGS (Methodist Girls School). in . Madrasah and other Islamic schools were the original schools in Malaysia. The earlier Hindu culture pre-dating the Islamic period of Malay history did not appear to spawn any formalised educational structure. but are generally no longer the only part of a child's education in urban areas. The education of young ladies at that time was considered very revolutionary. Melaka. The Methodist schools still maintain a single private school called Methodist College. In 2002. Some parents also opt to send their children for religious classes after secular classes.
Shafie said of the 45. The subsequent upgrade of the Chinese TAR College (now known as Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman. His exact quote was "I don't know Malaysia's present ranking (in the UNDP's gender index) offhand but I know it is not as high as it should be because of this unusual problem. Higher Education Minister Datuk Dr Shafie Salleh replied that "It happens in other countries too. with females outnumbering the males with a high margin" Leete seemed to indicate this was a uniquely Malaysian situation. has at one time or another been the education minister.856 places offered at the public higher learning institutes 15. He then quoted statistics that for the 2004 session. Boys are dropping out of secondary and tertiary education. Malaysian Polytechnics and community colleges are not degree producing institutions and none have post-graduate programmes. or UTAR.041 were boys and 3. It's a global phenomena". we defend the sovereignty of the country and all these have nothing to do with what school we came from" Education and politics Education is largely politicised in Malaysia to the extent that every Prime Minister.010 were girls. Gender issues and education In 2004 the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) representative Dr.324 as against 24. In a paper entitled  "Phantom Women Graduates: Where are They?" Nik Kamariah Nik Mat and Puan Filzah Md Isa (Associate Professors in Universiti Utara Malaysia) stated that "Only about five percent of women are working in management and professional positions in this country" . Most are vocational or technical institutions.601 for girls. His specific statement was "various measures have to be taken to tackle this issue including a review of the education system which allows for different streams to be implemented in this country". except the first Prime Minister (Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra al-Haj). a private university) bestowing upon it the title of University is largely seen as a reward for the Chinese party helping the government win a closely contested election is 1999. He was speaking on the issue of racial polarisation in schools. Lim Guan Eng also came out in saying that 60. Opposition figure. The next day the prime minister made a statement in a written reply to a parliamentary question by Dr Tan Kee Kwong (another representative from the same coalition) that the policy of allowing vernacular schools may have to be re-examined.060 to girls. This imbalance is corrected once the respective genders leave the educational system. the prime minister announced that only two percent of Chinese students attended government schools. Richard Leete stated that Malaysia's ranking in the UNDP gender index is not "as high as it should be". For the enrolments in the 34 community colleges 5. we don't betray the country. because the premier said that the government will review the system" Chong Eng deputy secretary-general of the DAP (opposition party) stated "We unite as citizens. The ruling political alliance is composed of ethnically based parties and one of the concessions allowed by the controlling Malay party is to allow the Chinese and Indian parties to start colleges.order to ensure that Malaysia will not be left behind in a world that was rapidly becoming globalised. However. In 2004. Dr Wee Ka Siong MCA (the main Chinese component party of the prime ministers Barisan Nasional) responded that it was shocking and "We can't draw a conclusion to say that the government is going to abolish the vernacular schools although (the statement) was hinting at that.796 places were given to boys and 30. enrolments of boys in all Malaysian polytechnics stood at 34.000 non-Chinese students attended Chinese vernacular schools.
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