Malaysia’s Higher Education System Simplified

Malaysia’s Higher Education System Simplified

Malaysia’s Higher Education System Simplified

Education in Malaysia, in general, is held in high regard and this is reflected in the country’s government spending. 

Malaysia’s education sector enjoys huge support from the government and always gets a huge allocation from the country’s budget. In fact, in its 2021 budget, the country’s Education Ministry gets an allocation of RM 50.4B or around 15.6 percent of the government’s total expenditure. Meanwhile, RM 14.4B from the education sector’s overall budget is allocated to Malaysia’s higher education. 

Types of Higher Educational Institutions 

Malaysia’s Higher Educational system consists of more than three types of Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) providers and is governed by the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE). 

Public Institutions 

All government-funded HEIs consist of the following types of institutions: 

  • Public universities 
  • Polytechnics
  • Community colleges
  • Public colleges 

Public universities offer both undergraduate and postgraduate programs, with some also offering programs for diploma and pre-university foundations. Moreover, there are currently 20 public universities in Malaysia divided into three groups: Research Universities, Focused Universities, and Comprehensive Universities. 

Meanwhile, polytechnics, community colleges, and public colleges offer certificate and diploma programs. 

Private Universities

Malaysia has a lot of private universities local and international students can choose from. Currently, there are around 41 private universities across the country, and unlike most public universities, have a wider array of programs offered at every level of studies. Moreover, compared to other private institutions, private universities have bigger campuses and facilities and offer extensive postgraduate research programs. 

University Colleges

Like universities, university colleges also offer programs at all levels. However, they are smaller compared to universities, not only in terms of the campus’ physical size but also in terms of the number of students and faculties. Moreover, unlike other universities, university colleges have a stronger focus on their undergraduate programs. 

Foreign Branch Campuses

Many students have dreamt of studying in popular institutions in the UK, China, and Australia but got discouraged due to the high cost of living.

Now, imagine getting an international qualification from universities in those countries at the comforts of Malaysia where both the cost of living and tuition fees are much lower? This is possible through Malaysia’s Foreign Branch Campuses. These are institutions from other countries that have campus branches in Malaysia. Foreign branch campuses offer study programs identical to those at their home campuses, in terms of structure and content. 

Accredited Training Centres

Accredited by the Malaysian government, these centers focus on giving specialized technical and vocational skills training to students. Moreover, aside from the skills, courses from accredited training centers in Malaysia, also provide pathways to students who want to obtain qualifications recognized internationally, such as the UK’s City and Guilds, and Australia’s TAFE. 

Language Centre

Basically, language centers focus on offering language courses. However, aside from teaching language, some also offer skills training such as computer literacy, and so on. 

Academic Qualifications Offered

HEIs in Malaysia offers academic qualifications for the following levels and duration of study: 

  • Certificate (1 to 1.5 years)
  • Diploma (2 to 3 years)
  • Bachelor’s degree (3 to 5 years)
  • Master’s degree (1 to 3 years)
  • PhD (3 to 5 years)

Malaysia’s Higher Education is one of the best in the world due to the government’s continuous support. To learn more, check out MSM Unify’s articles about Malaysia.


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