The education in Malaysia is administered by the Ministry of Education. The system is divided into preschool, primary, secondary, post-secondary and tertiary educations.
Malaysia practices an academic freedom concept for its post-secondary and tertiary educations which is the essence of quality education. Students are given the liberty to choose from a wide range of universities to study at, be it in a Private University or a Public University. As of now, there are 20 Public Universities which are funded by the Government of Malaysia, 36 Private Universities and 485 Private Colleges. There are also currently 33 Polytechnics providing courses for bachelor’s degree,
Advanced Diploma, Diploma and Special Skills Certificate. According to the Ministry of Higher Education, there are 92 Community Colleges which offer a wide range of Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) courses in Malaysia.
Private Universities are either self-funded or a subsidiary of bigger corporations which lead to the margin of tuition fees. They are known to be more flexible when it comes to admission and enrolment of international students, as compared to Public Universities, which are local-students oriented with a certain quotas for international students.
As for undergraduate studies, bachelor degrees in Malaysia are normally between 3-4 years in length for full time students. Most programmes at Private Universities are conducted in English, whereas bachelor programmes at Public Universities are taught in both, Bahasa Malaysia and English.
Students are required to complete a course load equivalent to at least 120 credits in order to be awarded a Bachelor’s degree. On the other hand, postgraduate studies differs substantially based on the criteria and requirements of the university itself. Generally, most programmes will require a recognized undergraduate degree at the very least. There are programmes such as Masters which usually takes between 1 to 2 years to complete and Doctoral levels taking 4 years to graduate. These programmes are completed via coursework, a long-form dissertation or research project, and/or by completing a thesis. English is a medium of teaching for most postgraduate programmes across all universities.
Malaysian government’s determinations over the past 30 years in internationalisation Malaysian education and developing the private higher educational sector has made the country a significant and preferred destination for international students from all over the world to further their studies.
Universities in Malaysia are massive in size to accommodate both local and international students enrolling every year along with providing vast variety of courses to choose from. Malaysia has various international student population of more than 100,000 from countries such as China, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Iran, Maldives, Nigeria, Sudan, Yemen, India, Botswana, Thailand and Saudi Arabia. On top of that, there are 10 branch campuses of reputable Foreign Universities in Malaysia established by nations such as the United Kingdom, Ireland and Australia that each offer students unique degree and credit-transfer options.
Based on statistics, Malaysia’s higher education system was ranked 27th in the new QS Higher Education System Strength Rankings in 2016, reflecting the forte of its leading universities. The highest ranked and oldest of universities in Malaysia is University Malaya which is currently ranked 133rd in the QS World University Rankings® 2016-2017. It is located in the central of Kuala Lumpur with student population of over 17,000, including more than 3,000 international postgraduate students. It has been gradually rising its multidisciplinary reputation, appearing in the global top 400 for 26 out of a possible 42 subjects covered by the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2016, including positions among the world’s top 50 for development studies and electrical and electronic engineering.
On the other hand, University Putra Malaysia (UPM) made a good leap in the 2016-2017 rankings, from 331st to 270th. It is considered one of the country’s leading research universities and was originally founded in 1931 as a school of agriculture. This legacy is reflected in its performance in the subject rankings; of the 19 subjects in which UPM is internationally ranked, it appears within the top 100 for agriculture and forestry.
That being said, studying in a peaceful country with vast cultures and on top of that, wide range of courses and universities to choose from contributes immensely to broadening students perspective and this experience is invaluable in a rapid globalised economy.
Here are some of the public universities and government funded polytechnics and Community Colleges in Malaysia.