Malaysian Higher Education System

NATIONAL HIGHER EDUCATION SYSTEM

National Higher Education System of Malaysia

The Education Act of 1996 stipulates that the National Education System shall comprise five levels: pre-school education; primary education; secondary education; post-secondary education; and higher education. The six years of primary education are compulsory education. There are three main streams in the upper secondary education: academic (science/arts); technical and vocational; and religious. Students going on to a university or university college are required to complete a 1–2 year pre-university programme (Form 6 or Matriculation). A student will therefore typically receive 12-13 years of education in order to be accepted into a university (Table 1).

Table 1: Types of education courses and standard learning years

Institutions of higher education in Malaysia provide courses for awarding certificate, diploma, bachelor, masters, and doctoral qualifications within the Malaysian Qualifications Framework (MQF) (see Table 2 below).

Public-Funded Higher Education Institution

– funded by the Government and are governed as self-managed institutions. These include public universities, polytechnics, community colleges and public colleges

Private-funded higher educational institutions

– established under Private Higher Educational Institutions Act 1996 and include private universities, private colleges and foreign university branch campuses.

Public universities, which are government-funded, are categorised into three groups: research universities, comprehensive universities, and focused universities.

  1. Research universities are public universities recognised by the national government in 2006 to become leading research and educational institutions. They receive a higher subsidy for research. As of November 2013, there are five research universities: University of Malaya, University of Science, Malaysia, National University of Malaysia, Putra University, Malaysia, and University of Technology, Malaysia.
  2. Comprehensive universities are public universities that offer a wide range of education in pre-undergraduate, undergraduate, and postgraduate programmes.
  3. Focused universities are public universities that offer education focused on specific fields such as engineering/technical, education, management, and defence.

Private universities and university colleges are degree granting institutions. Private universities and university colleges are able to confer degrees at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels as well as diploma programmes only.

MALAYSIAN QUALIFICATION FRAMEWORK

MALAYSIAN QUALIFICATION FRAMEWORK

The Malaysian Qualifications Framework (MQF) is a national framework that classifies all qualifications and academic levels in post-secondary education hierarchically based on a set of criteria that are approved nationally and benchmarked against international best practices. MQF includes not only qualifications of academic education but also qualifications of skills education and vocational education and supports diverse pathways for learners. All qualifications conferred in post-secondary education must conform to the MQF.

The MQF divides qualifications in Malaysia into eight levels (Table 2) and specifies the levels of learning outcomes and minimum credit required (Table 3) as well as the number of notional learning hours per credit. All qualifications conform to the MQF with the intention of enabling comparison to other qualifications, facilitating recognition, and promoting student mobility. Regarding learning outcomes in particular, the MQF clearly specifies the levels required for each qualification in the eight domains listed below.

Eight domains of learning outcomes:

1
KNOWLEDGE
2
PRACTICAL SKILLS
3
SOCIAL SKILLS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
4
VALUES, ATTITUDES AND PROFESSIONALISM
5
COMMUNICATION, LEADERSHIP AND TEAM SKILLS
6
PROBLEM SOLVING AND SCIENTIFIC SKILLS
7
INFORMATION MANAGEMENT AND LIFELONG LEARNING SKILLS
8
MANAGERIAL AND ENTREPRENEURIAL SKILLS

Learning outcomes in each qualification are referenced whenever looking at educational quality and level and are used in curriculum design, establishment of credit hours, and the evaluation of student achievement. Additionally, learning outcomes can be achieved through various channels besides formal learning, and a feature of the Malaysian system is that learning outcomes achieved through experiential learning, including non-formal learning and learning outside of school, can be assessed and recognised in the system of Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

Table 2: Malaysian Qualifications Framework (MQF): Sectors and levels of qualifications

LevelSectorsLifelong Learning
SkillsVocational and TechnicalAcademic
8Doctorate

Accreditation of prior experiential learning

(APEL)

7

Masters

Postgraduate Diploma

Postgraduate Certificate

6

Bachelor

Graduate Diploma

Graduate Certificate

5Advanced DiplomaAdvanced DiplomaAdvanced Diploma
4DiplomaDiplomaDiploma
3Certificate 3CertificateCertificate
2Certificate 2 
1Certificate 1

Table 3: Malaysian Qualifications Framework (MQF): Minimum credit
(Adapted from Malaysian Qualifications Framework, p. 14)

MQF LevelQualificationMinimum Credit
8DoctoralNo given credit value
7

Research Masters

Fully or Partly Taught Masters

Postgraduate Diploma

Postgraduate Certificate

No given credit value

40

30

20

6

Bachelor’s Degree

Graduate Diploma*

Graduate Certificate*

120

60

30

5Advanced Diploma40
4Diploma90
1-3

Certificate

Skills Certificate

60

According to skills & levels

*Additional of 6 credits must be added to fulfil the General Module (Mata Pelajaran Umum, MPU) requirement.

 

MALAYSIAN QUALIFICATION AGENCY

QUALITY ASSURANCE SYSTEM IN MALAYSIA

The quality assurance system and MQF are equally applied to all public and private higher education providers. It is a shared responsibility between the MQA as a quality assurance body and the higher education providers in order to effectively enhance quality of higher education through good quality assurance practices.

External evaluations in Malaysia consist of Provisional Accreditation and Full Accreditation.

Provisional Accreditation indicates that the programme has fulfilled the minimum requirement for it to be offered for consumption by learners. It is also a condition for a programme to be approved by the Ministry of Education.

Full Accreditation following a programme audit by an external MQA panel of auditors, stating that the programme has met the relevant programme’s standards, in compliance with the requirements of the MQF observing all aspects of Good Practice as advocated through MQA’s Code of Practice for Programme Accreditation (COPPA).

Another type of external evaluation is the Institutional Audit. The Institutional Audit could be comprehensive or thematic. It could take the form of periodic academic performance audit on the higher education provider or to establish the continuation or maintenance of programme accreditation status. These evaluations are on voluntary basis. Nevertheless, obtaining accreditation can be mandatory by the government policy, eligibility for student loan and to get recognition by the government. Table 4 illustrates the summary of the external evaluation carried out by MQA.

Table 4: Types of external evaluations by MQA

MALAYSIA QUALIFICATION STATEMENT

RU PROGRAMMES

POSTGRADUATES

Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration
Master of Business Administration

 

FACULTY OF AI & ROBOTICS

Bachelor of Information Systems (Honours) in Artificial Intelligence

 

FACULTY OF ARTS & DESIGN

Bachelor of Fashion Design (Honours)
Bachelor of Graphic Design (Honours)
Bachelor of Multimedia Design (Honours)
Diploma in Fashion Design
Diploma in Digital Game Art
Diploma in Visual Communication

 

FACULTY OF BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND REGENERATIVE DESIGN

Bachelor of Interior Design (Honours)
Diploma in Interior Design

FACULTY OF BUSINESS

Bachelor of Business Administration (Honours)
Bachelor of Business (Honours)(Accountancy)
Bachelor of Supply Chain Management (Honours)
Bachelor of Accountancy (Honours)
Diploma in Human Resource Management
Diploma in Business Studies

 

FACULTY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES

Bachelor of Psychology (Honours)
Diploma in Psychology

 

FOUNDATION

Foundation in Business
Foundation in Liberal Arts