All public and private education institutions in Malaysia are supervised by the Malaysia Ministry of Education (MOE) in order to ensure the education quality provided in the country meets international standards and requirements. International students who have completed their education (secondary or tertiary) in Malaysia will receive qualifications that are accepted by most countries including USA, UK, Canada, and Australia. The evolution of both the public and private sectors in Malaysia’s education system provides flexible options for international student to choose the education path that best suits their future, making the country a good option for students who are looking to study abroad.



Public schools in Malaysia are run by the local MOE and have a diverse student population consisting of different ethnicities mainly Malays, Indians, Chinese and other ethnic Malaysians. They follow the national curriculum with heavily subsidised school fees for citizens. Public schools at the pre-tertiary level are only open to Malaysian citizens and their main language of instruction is Bahasa even though English may also be used.



There are many private schools in Malaysia that play an important role in providing pre-tertiary education to students in the country. These schools are semi-controlled by the government, follow the national curriculum with English as the main language of instruction and have more expensive tuition fees as they do not receive funding from the government. Despite following the national curriculum, private schools tend to offer a wider variety of elective subjects, co-curricular activities as well as provide better learning facilities.

Apart from pre-tertiary institutes, there is a fast-growing number of private universities in Malaysia which also plays a significant role in the country’s education. These universities are supported by different organisations including government business agencies, political parties or individual owners. They award their own degrees at all levels, while foreign universities not only award identical degree programmes at the host university, but also often offer a twinning programme allowing for 2+1 or 3+0 options. The former allows students to study two years in Malaysia and complete their final year overseas at the partner university while the latter results in students obtaining a recognised foreign degree without having to leave the country for the entirety of the course!



There are numerous international schools to choose from in Malaysia and unlike private schools, the curricula offered are predominantly either UK based, such as Cambridge IGCSE and Cambridge International A Levels or a mix of UK based curricula and the International Baccalaureate (IB), with certain international schools offering country specific curriculum such as Advanced Placement (AP). International schools are not funded by the local government, have control over their syllabus and curriculum, tend to have better facilities compared to private schools, and have a smaller student to educator ratio which leads to tuition fees that are generally much higher than other types of schools.



Vernacular schools were created for specific ethnic and cultural communities in Malaysia such as the Indians and Chinese. This schooling system was introduced to promote the languages and cultural values of their respective communities.

Over the decades, vernacular schools, especially the Chinese schools, have further established themselves in Malaysia’s education and it is now common to see children from other ethnic communities attending such schools. Even though Vernacular schools use either Mandarin or Tamil as a medium of instruction, Bahasa Malaysia and English language are also taught as compulsory subjects.



A rather popular choice for many parents is the option to home school their kids at a learning centre. Learning centres are for those who do not wish to enrol their child into a public school, yet are unable to afford international or private schools. These learning centres use different curriculum and non-conventional teaching methods, and are taught by teachers qualified in a whole range of subjects to guide and facilitate students’ learning.

Learn more about studying in Malaysia with some commonly asked questions by our students

FAQ about studying in Malaysia

Learn more about how to apply to the various schools in Malaysia

How to apply to Malaysia schools