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Higher education in Malaysia

After the SPM, students from public secondary school would have a choice of either studying Form 6 or the matriculation (pre-university). If they are accepted to continue studying in Form 6, they will also take the Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (which is usually abbreviated as STPM) or Malaysian Higher School Certificate examination (its British equivalent is the General Certificate of Education A Level examination or internationally, the Higher School Certificate). STPM is regulated by the Malaysian Examinations Council. Although it is generally taken by those desiring to attend public universities in Malaysia, it is internationally recognised and may also be used, though rarely required, to enter private local universities for undergraduate courses.

Some students undertake their pre-university studies in private colleges. They may opt for programmes such as the British A Level programme, the Canadian matriculation programme or the equivalent of other national systems – namely the Australian NSW Board of Studies Higher School Certificate and the American High School Diploma with AP subjects. More recently, the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme is becoming more popular as a pre-university option.

Tertiary education

The classification of tertiary education in Malaysia is organised upon the Malaysian Qualifications Framework (MQF) which seeks to set up a unified system of post secondary qualifications offered on a national basis both in the vocational as well as higher educational sectors.

In period of 2004 till 2013, the government formed the Ministry of Higher Education to oversee tertiary education in Malaysia.

Students have the option of enrolling in private tertiary institutions after secondary studies. Private universities are also gaining a reputation for international quality education and students from all over the world attend these universities. Many of these institutions offer courses in co-operation with a foreign institute or university, especially in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, allowing students to spend a portion of their course duration abroad as well as getting overseas qualifications. One such example is Tunku Abdul Rahman University College which

partnered with Sheffield Hallam University and Coventry University. Many private colleges offer programmes whereby the student does part of his degree course here and part of it in the other institution, this method is named “twinning”. 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. In the latter case, acceptance of

transcripts and credits is at the discretion of the partner. Some of them are branch campuses of these foreign institutions. In addition, four reputable international universities have set up their branch campuses in Malaysia since 1998. A branch campus can be seen as an ‘offshore campus’ of the foreign university, which offers the same courses and awards as the main campus. Both local and international students can acquire these identical foreign qualifications in Malaysia at a lower fee. Some of the foreign university branch campuses in Malaysia are: